On the other hand, if you’re a mid-career professional looking to transition into a tech career, a short-term coding bootcamp might make more sense than going into debt for a second degree. If all you want to do is build websites or push your Raspberry Pi to its limits, a combination of interactive tutorials and free online courses might be enough to get you going.
Khan Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy Kids was created by experienced early learning experts who have created 22 other top-selling titles and received 22 Parents’ Choice Awards, 19 Children’s Technology Review Awards, and a KAPi award for Best Children’s App at the International Consumer Electronics Show. The Khan Academy Kids team is a passionate group of engineers, artists, designers, and educators who joined Khan Academy from Duck Duck Moose, a maker of popular educational apps for kids. Khan Academy Kids is 100% free without ads or subscriptions.

This is our best piece of coding advice: If you can’t figure out why your code is broken, you can always look for solutions online. You’re probably not the first person to make your mistake, after all, and someone on the internet has surely already found a solution to your issue. Just “copy and paste” your error message into Google (or your preferred search engine), add a pair of quotation marks around the entire phrase so that you’re not just searching for keywords, then hit “Enter.” Hopefully, this little trick will lead you to the correct answer.
I can’t recommend Harvard’s CS50x Introduction to Computer Science enough. You can audit the course for free via edX and earn a certificate by completing all the assignments, or you can go at your own pace and watch all the lectures posted on Youtube. You can build your own DIY college-level computer science program with this selection of fifteen online courses (many of which are also listed in our Lifehacker U series).
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As a self-taught programmer, you might also benefit from books that offer broader advice on the profession. You’ll improve your thinking and habits, traits you can apply to any language you decide to learn. Steve McConnell’s 900-page Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction (2nd Edition) is considered the definitive guide for best practices, with data-backed advice on everything from project design to debugging code.
Whether you’re an adult looking to transition into the tech industry, a student looking to learn the latest language, or a hobbyist who just wants to understand how software and services work, all you need is a computer and internet access to start your programming journey. But before you take a flying leap into The Matrix, here are our best tips and resources to set you off on the right foot.
Coding is all in the details, which is why you need to “celebrate small victories,” as one of our programming professors put it. It takes practice to make each element work on its own, as well as constant testing to ensure each line of code will work with all the rest—without errors. If you don’t do seemingly minor things right like closing a HTML tag, you’d be stuck debugging a simple syntax error rather than writing more impressive and complex code.
Start small, but think big. Your project should involve skills you currently have in your toolbox, but you should also have a plan for future features and skills you’d need to turn that vision into reality. Without applying your coding skills in a few projects, you wouldn’t even be considered for professional coding gigs—so start planning and practicing. (Our advice? Use your coding chops to build an amazing setup for game night.)
Touch typing is the ability to use muscle memory to find keys fast, without using the sense of sight, and with all the available fingers, just like piano players do. It significantly improves typing speed and eliminates errors. Touch typing simply makes you more productive and it is a skill worth learning. However, many people engage in the bad habit of ‘hunt-and-peck’ typing, even those seasoned professionals with years and decades of computer experience. It  is easy to understand, though, as touch typing requires dedicated practice to  learn it well.

EdX is another leading online-learning platform that is open source instead of for-profit. It was founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, so you know that you’ll learn about cutting-edge technologies and theories. Today, edX includes 53 schools. You probably can’t go wrong with the free Introduction to Computer Science from Harvard University.
Whether you’re an adult looking to transition into the tech industry, a student looking to learn the latest language, or a hobbyist who just wants to understand how software and services work, all you need is a computer and internet access to start your programming journey. But before you take a flying leap into The Matrix, here are our best tips and resources to set you off on the right foot.
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