I recommend checking out CS Dojo, TheNetNinja, and Harvard’s CS50 YouTube channel. If you don’t have time to search for a perfect coding video or channel, you can also check out LinkedIn Learning’s vast video library for vetted and professional-looking tutorials. While the service’s $30/month subscription fee is nothing to sneeze at, you can binge-watch an unlimited amount of content and topics—making LinkedIn Learning a better deal than other on-demand online classes that come with annoying restrictions.
If you want to go pro and become a full-time developer, an intensive and in-person coding bootcamp might help you out, particularly if you learn best in a structured environment with real people to motivate you. However, these types of bootcamps are often the most expensive and time-intensive to attend: You’re looking at upwards of $15,000 for just the tuition, plus living expenses for a few months until you graduate.
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).
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.
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.
It does not matter how fast you type if you have to go back and fix all your mistakes. Fixing mistakes takes more time than it does to just slow down and take the time you need to type accurately. Fast typing depends on developing precision muscle memory. Allowing yourself to type incorrectly will actually reinforce your bad habits and common mistakes! Slow your typing pace until you can attain 100% accuracy. If you come across a difficult word, slow down further to type it properly. Develop good habits and speed will be your reward.
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.