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Top 12 Online Resources for Total Coding Beginners

Top 12 Online Resources for Total Coding Beginners

Learning a new skill can be overwhelming, to say the least. And with a complex and constantly evolving skill like coding, it can seem impossible to figure out where to begin. Thankfully, there are many high quality – and free! – online resources that are ideal for even the most novice programmer. Follow along for my list of top 10 online resources for beginners learning to code, tried and tested by our very own team of star developers.

Turtle Academy. This web-based tutorial teaches programming in a fun and very simple way by helping you write code through moving a turtle around the screen. Turtle Academy is a great way to introduce yourself to programming and get familiar with the basic paradigms.
Price: Free

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    Lego Mindstorms

    . Through “Learn to Program” on Lego’s website, you complete 25 “missions” with their free software. It’s a great introduction to some programming principles, and really quite fun. As they say on the website, “make your robot do exactly what you want it to do!” – whether that’s move, drive or respond to touch.
    Price: Free

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      Udacity. 

      Udacity gives you a huge online library of courses for all levels and all kinds of subjects. Click on “Intro to Computer Science” or “Developing Android Apps” – or any one in a big roster of classes to help you hone your skills and develop your training.
      Price: Free access to course materials, pricing structure for more

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        Hakitzu Elite: Robot Hackers.  This video game-style game is educational and fun, and works for all levels. Go from beginner to coder extraordinaire while also having fun. You’ll learn the ins and outs of JavaScript while also engaging in head-to-head robot wars on the battlefield. Only drawback? The app has been known to be a bit buggy, but recent updates seem to have resolved many of the lingering issues.
        Price: Free on iTunes, Free on Android

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          My Robot Friend. While this app for iPhone & iPad is much more geared towards kids, it’s still very informative and gets the basics across. Anyone can benefit from a number of games and puzzles that introduce you to programming and gradually build on those skills.
          Price: $3.99

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            Project Euler. While this website is geared towards those with a grasp of the basics, it’s a great place to keep learning and push yourself. Solve a series of mathematical and computer programming problems and grow your skills in the process.
            Price: Free

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              CodeCombat. Leading with the idea that the best way to learn is to do, CodeCombat gives you a fun and interactive way to learn how to program. It also introduces a multiplayer element, so there’s a built-in community as well as an edge of competition for head-to-head programming wars.
              Price: Free

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                L2Code CSS. A very beginner-friendly crash course in CSS that you can easily access and use on your mobile on the go, or sitting at a desk. This app is available on both iOS and Android and gives very clear lessons, examples and step-by-step instructions.
                Price: $4.99 on iOS and Android

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                  Codea .While Codea is only available on iPad and is on the more expensive end of things, it’s an excellent resource for those who are really willing to roll their sleeves up and dig in. The guidance is a bit limited – so be prepared to really pay attention and teach yourself at parts – but if you’re willing to push through, you’ll learn a lot. Bonus? You can export what you build and sell it on the App Store!
                  Price: $9.99 on iPad

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                    Cato’s Hike. This is a great app for those who learn visually. Program Cato’s movements around the map to make sure he can move and get out of different situations. While it’s definitely a bit more for the kids, this is a very thorough tutorial and you can learn a lot of fundamentals. Light and fun.
                    Price: $4.99 on iOS

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                      iPad and iPhone Application Development. This free course through iTunes gives you a series of audio podcasts that take you through what you need to know to develop on the iOS platform. Very thorough explanations, and a great course – used by some of our own iOS devs.
                      Price: Free

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                        W3Schools. W3Schools is a practical introduction to web development that anyone can follow. Full of examples, it covers how different things work together. While other programming tutorials can be abstract and vague on how to apply the things you learn, that is simply not the case with W3Schools.
                        Price: Free

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                          Beginning iPhone Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK. Bonus resource! While this is clearly not an online resource, sometimes there’s something to be said for being able to hold the resource in your hands and really make it your own. This is an easy to follow read that’s written in very friendly, beginner language. A fantastic resource for beginners to iPhone development!
                          Price: $8.33 on Amazon

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                            What resources have you been using as you learn to code? Let me know and keep me posted on how it goes with these resources in the comments!

                            Featured photo credit: Cindy J Grady via freerangestock.com

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                            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                            Joe’s Goals

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                              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                              Daytum

                                Daytum

                                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                                Excel or Numbers

                                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                                  Evernote

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                                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                                    Access or Bento

                                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                      Conclusion

                                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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