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).
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.
If you don’t know how to touch type, this is where you need to start. Having the ability to type without looking at the keyboard is the most important factor in achieving a fast typing speed. Even if you have memorized many of the keys, unfamiliar keys will slow you down just like speed bumps on the freeway. Taking your eyes off the screen to peek at the keyboard disrupts your focus and costs you time. You want to be able to keep your eyes on the screen and your fingers moving to the correct keys without thinking. Achieving this kind of flow takes practice. The better you can do it, the faster you will be. Read on to learn how.
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.
Take a few minutes (or a day) to think about the reasons—the real reasons—why you want to learn a programming language. Be honest with yourself. Are you trying to learn the barest minimum to score a promotion? Are you looking to make a big career change? Do you want to create the next greatest app? Thrill your roommates by programming your various smart devices to do something awesome?
Third, Keybr.com lets you introduce as few keys as possible to the lesson, adding more keys automatically when it decides that you are proficient at the current level. When you only start learning it generates lessons with words from a very small alphabet of the most frequent letters. When your typing speed for every key in that alphabet reaches certain threshold, the algorithm adds the next most frequent letter to the alphabet. And so on, until the next letter. This way you will learn the most frequent letters first, and the least frequent ones later.
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.