How to Learn Coding in 2023: 18 Great Ways to Do It

Rosie Allabarton, contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

Your friends are whispering about Node.js, and for weeks you’ve been wondering who Ruby is and how you can meet her.

The only thing you’re sure of is that you’re missing out on something huge. There are so many ways how to learn coding—which is best for you?

Right now it seems everybody is getting in on programmingand you’re the only one who thinks CSS is a new American cop show. Luckily for you, there’s a growing list of schools, books, and online tutorials out there to help you get in with the tech kids.

We’ll explore why you should get into coding in the first place, as well as how do you find out which way of learning to code is right for you.

Then we’ve collected 18 different classes, videos, and programs for you start learning.

If you’d like to skip to a particular section, just use the clickable menu:

  1. Why learning to code is a great idea
  2. How to learn coding: 4 questions to ask yourself first
  3. How to learn coding: 18 ways to do it
  4. Final thoughts

1. Why learning to code is a great idea

We’ve talked many times before about why learning to code is such a good idea right now; the huge tech skills gap facing every single industry worldwide and the opportunity that presents to those with the right knowledge and tech skills.

Don’t just take our word for it—the facts speak for themselves. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecast jobs growth for web developers to be 2e% between 2021-31—much faster than average. A quick search for “developer jobs” in the US on job site Indeed.com throws up over 170,000 vacancies at present.

If you choose to become a freelance web developer, you could pick and choose your own clients, handle exciting, creative projects, and work as and when you want to. Sounds pretty great, right?

So, now that we’ve shown you why it’s a great idea, there are just a few things to go through first.

Working as a freelance web developer

2. How to learn coding: 4 questions to ask yourself first

So you’ve decided that the life of a programmer is the one for you—nice one!

Before you dive into our list of top options, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions:

1. Are you someone that would rather study with a mentor, or alone?

Are you able to motivate yourself? Despite being a prized quality by companies at the moment, being a self-motivated person is a lot rarer than we would like to admit, and that’s okay.

We’ve talked about why having a mentor in the field of UX design is massively important, and the same goes if you’re trying to break into web development. Mentors aren’t just there to hold you accountable—they can share a wealth of insights about the field with you.

If you’re thinking that you won’t be able to study by yourself, then look for coding classes that come with a tutor and/or mentor. They’ll cost slightly more, but it’ll be worth it.

2. Would you be able to pay to study, or are you looking for free resources?

Speaking of cost, if you’re willing to pay, what’s your budget? And how long do you want to be studying for? Can you only study part-time, or is full-time an option for you?

How to learn coding when you’re raising a family, or working full-time is one of the hot topics at the moment. The Covid-19 pandemic threw a light on a huge segment of people for whom going to an office every day, five days a week was just not possible.

As a result, a whole bunch of online coding bootcamps offering flexible study schedules appeared on the market. Instead of the classic intense 8-week schedule, these allowed budding coders to spread their studying over a wide number of months, suiting their own routines and commitments.

3. Are you comfortable studying solely online?

Or are you someone who would rather be in a classroom environment? Would you enjoy a mixture of the two, otherwise known as hybrid or blended learning? How important is having a student network to you, to bond with as well as practice?

For those looking to work as remote developer, then learning online would make a lot of sense.

4. And when you’ve finished studying, what do you hope to get out of it?

Connections to a job or network? Have you set your eyes on a web developer salary, or are you simply learning for fun?

This can color everything, and allows you to start planning your skillset, and you’ll be able to decide which is the best programming language for you to start learning first.

For example, if you have dreams of becoming a full-stack developer, then you’ll be able to map out which full-stack development skills you’ll be looking to add to your repertoire.

If frontend development and web design is more your goal, then you’ll start imagining what you’ll want your developer portfolio to look like.

A woman sits learning how to code with fellow students in a video call on her computer.

3. How to learn coding: 18 ways to do it

In this list we’ve put together the 18 best places you can learn to code and what each one of them can offer you, including price, availability, style of learning, and skill level.

Soon you’ll be joining in those conversations about what Python is for without even mentioning Uncle Terry’s reptile collection.

If you’d like to jump to one of the resources, simply select it from the list below. Happy reading, and happy learning!

  1. Web Development for Beginners Short Course
  2. FreeCodeCamp
  3. Codecademy
  4. PluralSight
  5. Coursera
  6. General Assembly
  7. Bento
  8. Treehouse
  9. CareerFoundry Full-Stack Development Program
  10. Udacity
  11. Thinkful
  12. Web Fundamentals
  13. The Code Player
  14. Eloquent JavaScript
  15. Girls Who Code
  16. Khan Academy
  17. Code Avengers
  18. Fullstack Academy Of Code

1. Web Development for Beginners Short Course

This course was developed by one of CareerFoundry’s in-house developers, and is designed for beginners who not only want to know how to learn coding, but who are keen to see the results of their coding quickly.

In just five days (or sooner if you apply yourself), you’ll build your very first webpage in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

It’s completely free, and on successful completion, you get awarded credit towards the full web development program. To get an idea of what the course entails, check out this video:

Web Development for Beginners at a Glance

  • Format: Online, free, no mentor
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Positives: The course is outcome-oriented and teaches you the basics necessary to get your very first website online. By the end of the course, you’ll know whether you really want to be a web developer, or whether it was just a passing phase. And did we mention it was free?
  • Negatives: You’re not going to become a web developer in just five days, unfortunately. Like any serious profession, it takes a lot of learning and a lot of work to reach the standard required to really be able to deliver value to a company. However, this is as good a first step as any, and at zero cost!

2. FreeCodeCamp

Free Code Camp is a web development bootcamp that has helped tens of thousands of their graduates find a job at tech companies.

They have comprehensive tracks for learning web design, web development including frontend and backend, data visualisation and more. They also have an entire program teaching algorithms and data structures with JavaScript, something graduates will need if they’re applying to software engineering jobs.

They have an extensive alumni network and a very active forum where students can seek help and collaborate.

FreeCodeCamp at a Glance

  • Format: Online, free, community support
  • Skill level: Beginner to intermediate
  • Positives: Free course, highly recognised name in the industry, high quality content
  • Negatives: Community support might not be everyone’s thing, no one-to-one mentorship

3. Codecademy

Codecademy offers free coding classes in six different programming languages, Python, jQuery, PHP, Ruby, HTML, and CSS.

With its students including the mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg, Codecademy made a name for itself with its Code Year that drew in a large portion of its one million users.

If you’re seeking out top ways how to learn coding, then this is a consistently popular option for those starting out.

Codecademy at a Glance

  • Format: Online, free, no mentor
  • Skill level: Beginner/intermediate
  • Positives: Throws you in at the deep-end doing code with their “console” approach from the start. Great for beginners who can see straight away what coding would be like as a professional.
  • Negatives: Lessons can be a little bit on the fast side for an actual beginner. And, while being able to “do code” from the start is a great motivation for newbies, for those hoping to make a career in programming some extra theory and background in coding would definitely be advantageous. There is a support network of students and the CA team, but hands on guidance is tough to come by.

4. PluralSight

PluralSight teaches both existing and aspiring developers by pairing instructors with high-quality content.

Coding classes are accessible through the use of screencasts and video tutorials, and cover Ruby, JavaScript, iOS, HTML/CSS. User-friendly interfaces and interesting storylines abound.

Although a lot of the content is aimed at more experienced coders, the plus for beginners is that a lot of the less-advanced materials are available for free.

PluralSight at a Glance

  • Format: Online, free and paid options, no mentor
  • Skill level: Beginner/ intermediate
  • Positives: Great for web developers hoping to expand their skillsets, attractive design.
  • Negatives: It might be off-putting for beginners as many of the courses are aimed at more accomplished coders.

5. Coursera

Coursera provides users with a totally free database of MOOCS (massive open online courses) often from accredited universities.

A classic way how to learn coding these days, MOOCs are available to students, or interested parties, as video lectures on a variety of topics included all facets of programming.

The benefits of these online courses are the availability and the variety: you can find a lecture on practically anything you want to learn and start your course whenever you want.

The disadvantage is the lack of one-to-one learning, and studies have shown that when the student is solely responsible for his or her own learning completion rates are significantly lower and students quickly become demotivated.

However, MOOCs can be a great way to “look around” a subject before investing in another more personalized form of learning.

Coursera at a Glance

  • Format: Online, free, no mentor
  • Skill level: Varies from MOOC to MOOC, but many are designed for beginners.*
  • Positives: No cost, lectures from the best in the field, variety and availability of courses, get a feel for your interests
  • Negatives: Very low completion rates, no personalized learning, helpful interaction or community is rare

6. General Assembly

With both full- and part-time courses on offer, General Assembly, now famous for its bootcamp-style courses, gives students the chance to learn all facets of web development.

GA has 6 locations scattered over the world, from NYC to Bahrain to London, as well as remote options.

Feedback from students is generally very positive, although the price tag of $15,950 for its Software Engineering course might put many potential students off. Some online video tutorials are available, but also at a price.

General Assembly at a glance

  • Format: Offline, paid, mentored
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Positives: Full-time, hands-on learning with experts
  • Negatives: Price

7. Bento

Created by a developer at StackOverflow, Bento is a guided tour through the best free web development tutorials on the web.

Bento has many ways how to learn coding including videos, interactive classes, and reading material. Using Bento is free, and it will only link you to free resources in a logical manner for beginners.

Bento at a Glance

  • Format: Online, free, not mentored
  • Skill level: Beginner through to advanced
  • Positives: A great system for figuring out what you need to learn next based on what you already know
  • Negatives: Tutorials are from a variety of sources so the quality and style of teaching varies greatly

8. Treehouse

Treehouse is an online interactive education platform that teaches students how to make websites or mobile applications using a variety of programming languages.

You’ll discover HTML, CSS, Java, PHP (WordPress), Objective-C, Javascript, Ruby and more through video tutorials. Treehouse’s style tends to work in the following formula: show, explain, do it yourself, which can be very effective.

Pop quizzes are also used to keep students engaged.

Treehouse at glance

  • Format: Online, paid, not mentored
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Positives: Best practice is always taught, online tutorials available as and when you need them
  • Negatives: A paid-for platform but no personalized learning, content of forums often scattered

Learn to code quickly with the help of a mentor

9. CareerFoundry Full-Stack Development Program

Welcome to our main coding program—fully online, fully mentored, for between five and eight months.

Our students learn front- and backend web development from an expert in the field, helping them kick-start a tech career upon completion.

As a student you can have your daily assignments reviewed, ask as many questions as you want, and meet with mentors remotely for a fully immersive experience.

If you’re studying part-time, it’s only 10-15 hours a week. On top of that learning with CareerFoundry is very personalized, flexible and can fit around your other commitments. If you want to know how to learn coding from scratch, it’s a great combination of the offline taught programs and the online content tutorials.

CareerFoundry at a glance

  • Format:  Online, paid, mentored
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Positives: Regular conversations and a career-focused curriculum are unique aspects of the learning platform. What sets CareerFoundry apart is the 1:1 help and assistance from your tutor, mentor, and career specialist.
  • Negatives: We currently offer a JavaScript-focused (one of the most in-demand languages for 2023 and beyond) Full-Stack Web Development Program, but we’re going to cover many more areas in the future, including a specialization in Python for web development. You should also be aware that the five career-change programs we offer all require a high level of commitment—it’s not easy to change careers, so you’ll need time, focus and ambition.

10. Udacity

Udacity started initially as an outgrowth of a computer science course run by Stanford University.

Classes are taught with video lectures and integrated quizzes for the students, there is also regular homework that reinforces the “learning-by-doing” model of education.

Although the classes are free, the success rate for students is particularly low: Back in 2013 a partnership with San Jose State University was suspended when over half of the students failed their final exams.

Udacity at a glance

  • Format: Online, paid, not mentored
  • Skill level: Varied
  • Positives: Connection to a top-name university and high profile lecturers
  • Negatives: Low success rate

Learning web development in a coding environment

11. Thinkful

Formerly Bloc, this offering has been absorbed by Thinkful. They offer a mixture of online courses with combined mentoring, combining the flexibility of online learning with a personalized tutoring process.

Much more intensive (and expensive, at $16,000 full-time) than the CareerFoundry program, Thinkful do a great job for those looking to step it up a notch.

Support from mentors and students is 24/7, but students really do have to put in the hours (50 hours a week total) if they want to get as much as possible out of the program.

Bloc at a glance

  • Format: Online, paid, mentored
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Positives: Supportive student environment, committed mentors, full- and part-time options
  • Negatives: An intensive study program, high price, potential students need to be prepared to work

12. Web Fundamentals

Web Fundamentals are a Google-founded collection of free online tutorials to help solve coding problems.

It’s fair to say that Web Fundamentals is not how to learn coding from the very beginning. These videos are a great way for those with a bit of experience to build upon what they already know, but with titles like “Debugging Asynchronous JavaScript with Chrome DevTools”, beginners might be put off.

Videos are accompanied by written instructions and diagrams as well as comments from other users which can prove to be as helpful as the videos themselves.

Web Fundamentals at a glance

  • Format: Online, free, not mentored
  • Skill level: Intermediate
  • Positives: A great free resource for developers looking to level-up their skillset
  • Negatives: Perhaps a tad confusing for beginners

13. The Code Player

A collection of free online videos that teach students how to perform specific tasks.

The unique thing about The Code Player is that students can actually watch code being written live during the tutorials (hence the name, The Code Player).

The people behind The Code Player utilize live working demos to teach ways to learn to code, with the speed of each tutorial adjustable to suit the skill level of the person learning.

  • Format: Online, free, not mentored
  • Skill level: Skill level: Beginner / intermediate
  • Positives: You can literally learn at your own pace by altering the speed of the videos
  • Negatives: Some people might find the lack of instruction holds them back

14. Eloquent JavaScript

This is a book that gives readers a mixture of principles and pragmatics.

It’s available online for free and great if you want a deeper understanding of how coding works. Some reviewers have remarked that as the latest edition of this book is from 2018 some of it is now a little bit out of date.

However, for the fundamentals of ways to learn to code with JavaScript you can’t go too far wrong with this book.

Eloquent JavaScript at a glance

  • Format: Offline (and online), not mentored, free (online), paid (for the actual book)
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Positives: Good for the basics of JavaScript
  • Negatives: Less good for problem solving

15. Girls Who Code

Aimed specifically at girls aged between 13 and 17, Girls Who Code pairs students with a mentor who teaches them how to code, inspires and encourage them to get into tech.

They have over 450,000 girls coding, with their graduates going on to study Computer Science at 15 times the US average, which is incredibly impressive.

Girls Who Code at a glance

  • Format: Offline, free, mentored
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Positives: A great mission to try to get more women into tech
  • Negatives: You will only benefit if you are a girl aged between 13 and 17!

16. Khan Academy

A great place to start for people wondering how to learn coding for art or games—though less for those wanting to learn business-orientated frontend development.

A free learning platform, Khan Academy uses video tutorials taught by experts to cover a wide range of subjects.

Khan Academy at a glance

  • Format: Online, free, not mentored
  • Skill level: Beginner / intermediate
  • Positives: It’s free and the content is raved about. A fantastic way to get a feel of subject before diving in deeper
  • Negatives: You won’t find instructional “how to” tutorials which can be a good way for beginners to get started

17. Code Avengers

A highly stylized platform, Code Avengers certainly looks good but newbies will have to learn without the help of video tutorials.

The languages it offers are JavaScript, Python, as well as HTML/CSS. The site has gained positive reviews for instilling good habits in its developers-in-training, a crucial element of the learning process particularly if students are hoping to break into a programming career.

Code Avengers at a glance

  • Format: Online, part-paid, part-free, not mentored
  • Skill level: Skill level: Beginner / intermediate
  • Positives: A great-looking website and great for learning best practice as a junior developer
  • Negatives: No video tutorials, no mentors

Studying online to become an expert in coding

18. Fullstack Academy Of Code

New York-based school for learning how to code, at $17,910 this course doesn’t come cheap.

However, Fullstack Academy promises to have you ready to start work as a developer in 17 weeks. They work hard to get their students into roles on completion of the course with a Demo Day for prospective employers, Speed Interviewing with connected parties, and a Placement Coordinator to help you get connected with the right people in companies you want to work for.

Fullstack Academy Of Code at a glance

  • Format: Offline, mentored, paid
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Positives: There is a large emphasis on web development as a career and getting students prepared to go straight into jobs
  • Negatives: A lot of money for what is only a 17-week course

Final thoughts

So, now that you’ve seen all of the options for how to learn coding, it’s time to take action! We hope we’ve provided you with more than enough choice and motivation.

It’ll come as no surprise that here at CareerFoundry we can highly recommend our own Full-Stack Web Development Program, which comes with a job guarantee.

Students on our program learn front- and backend web development from an expert in the field, helping them kick-start a tech career upon completion. As a student you can have your daily assignments reviewed, ask as many questions as you want, and meet with mentors via video calls for a fully immersive experience.

Enrollment grants immediate access to our bespoke course materials, and you’ll be connected with your mentor from the start. At only 10-15 hours a week, learning with us is very personalized, flexible and can fit around your other commitments—essentially, it brings together the benefits of offline taught programs and the online tutorials.

If you’d like to read more about the world of web development, check out these articles:

What You Should Do Now

  1. Get a hands-on introduction to web development and build your first website from scratch with our free, self-paced Web Development Short Course.

  2. Take part in one of our FREE live online web development events with industry experts.

  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out what it takes to become a qualified web developer in just 4-7 months—complete with a job guarantee.

  4. This month, we’re offering the first 100 students reduced tuition—worth up to $1,385 off our Full-Stack Web Development Program. To secure your spot, book an advisor call today.

What is CareerFoundry?

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