There was a time when knowing how to program was for the geekiest of geeks. That’s not exactly the case today. As most entrepreneurs, freelancers and marketers will tell you, learning how to program can help you succeed. Over the past year, I've been learning to code. It's helped me to become a much better entrepreneur: I can dive in, for instance, when my team needs to fix a few bugs on the site.
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Udemy bills itself as an online learning marketplace, hosting 130,000+ user-created courses on all kinds of topics (including over 2,000 coding-related classes). While some of Udemy’s offerings are paid (costing $20-$200 per course), there are plenty of free coding classes as well, including some shorter Tech 101-type courses that teach code for beginners.
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.
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.
With your index fingers you can feel a bump on the keys 'F' and 'J'. When you type you must get back to these two keys as soon as a key has been pressed on the keyboard so that you know all the time where you are on the keyboard. If you don't find the keys 'F' and 'J' again you will get lost and make a lot of mistakes. For the same reasons the first lessons are done without ever moving your fingers from these two keys.
You may have enough experience typing to know most of the common keys - the letters, the space bar, enter, and I’ll bet you know that backspace! But you might be uncomfortable with some of the keys you don’t use as frequently. Do you have to slow down and look at the keyboard to type a number or symbol? If you program or work with spreadsheets you will use the symbol keys frequently. If you are a gamer there are probably CTRL, ALT and function keys that you fumble for in the heat of the battle. In fact, most all programs can be used more productively when you know the key combo shortcuts for doing common tasks. Hitting these awkward keys and combos accurately allows you to maintain focus on what you are doing, so make sure you include them in your typing practice.
Luckily, institutions like the Flatiron School and The Grace Hopper Program offer scholarships or deferred tuition to make these bootcamps more affordable for under-represented groups like minorities and women in tech. Check out Course Report for a comprehensive breakdown of the many online and in-person bootcamps—including detailed reviews from their alums, which can help you decide whether a bootcamp is going to help you achieve your programming dreams.
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.