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).
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.
JUST RELEASED! "Makin' Rocks" covers everything I've leaned after 34 years of hard work and experience making a living building things with my hands. I teach people like you how to create the same amazing water features as a master sculptor like myself! With tons of pictures and hand drawn illustrations from decades of work you will see actual project examples of how things get done. And even how to set up your own faux rock contracting business selling $10,000, $15,000 and $20,000 or more projects! Get this book and get in the game!

Once you figure out why you want to code, you can more easily pinpoint which programming language you should tackle. While there is no single “best” programming language to learn, some languages are more user-friendly than others. HTML and CSS are considered the easiest entry points into the coding world, but they are only really useful for developing basic websites.


Want more one-on-one coaching and career prep without doing a full-time bootcamp? Try signing up for the subscription-model certification courses from Udacity or Treehouse, where you have the opportunity to ask a tutor for help instead of suffering your coding mistakes or questions alone. You can’t do much better than the $19 coding classes from Udemy (even less, when there’s a sale)—even full-time bootcamp and computer science students sign up for these classes to supplement their learning.
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.

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.
×