If you’re thinking of learning a new skill, learning to code is a great place to start. Blogger Danielle Corcione walks you through where to get started learning code for free.

Last year, I started listening to reddit’s official podcast, Upvoted. In each episode, the site’s founder interviews different redditors’ viral threads. In episode 5, three women from MIT discussed their previous AMA about computer programming and academia that had gone viral. Ultimately, the women wanted to convey their experiences in a male-dominated field.

This episode struck me for an obvious reason: The computer industry, particularly computer science and programming, is known for its exclusion of women. I never considered a career in the computer industry, despite learning HTML early on. I started coding my own webpages when I was 10. I created my own elaborate Myspace and Xanga layouts throughout my adolescence. I conquered Photoshop by the end of high school. However, I never recognized any of these skills as professionally competent—until now.

That’s why I’m planning to learn to code. This can be a costly endeavor. You can drop everything and enroll in an intensive web development code school. You can even pay for classes through sites like General Assembly. Or you can do it for free, like me.

What’s better than buying skills? Learning them for free!

Predominately, I’m using Codecademy to learn how to code. It’s an interactive platform with free language courses in HTML and CSS, Javascript, jQuery, PHP, Python, and Ruby. Additionally, there are other web development courses dedicated to specific skills, such as Ruby on Rails, AngularJS, and SQL data analysis. Each lesson walks you through different exercises, step-by-step. Plus, these courses don’t have deadlines—you can freely complete material at your own individual pace.

According to TechCrunch, Codecademy now serves more than 25 million users, but the founder still firmly believes in offering the service free of charge.

A preview of Codecademy’s interactive JavaScript language course.

In each lesson, the left bar provides detailed instructions. The middle textbox allows you to input and edit codes. The top right box provides a preview of your code. The “Save & Submit Code” button allows you to either proceed successfully to the next lesson or alert you of an error within the submitted code.

While you can pay $19.99 a month for live support from Codecademy advisors, there are other ways to problem solve and get un-stuck. I often turn to friends who have studied computer science or the Codecademy subreddit. Often, you will find your question already addressed by searching the reddit forum. If it hasn’t been addressed yet, there’s an awesome community of experts willing to help you in a timely fashion.

However, Codecademy isn’t the only place to learn to code online for free. Check out other resources below:

  • A Pen By Captain Anonymous offers an interactive interface to experiment with codes and scripts. (Think Codecademy without structured tutorials.)
  • FreeCodeCamp adds a new twist to learning to code: volunteering for nonprofits. This program also helps you build a portfolio of your projects.
  • Khan Academy transforms complicated subjects into informative YouTube videos. Interestingly enough, their computer programming section includes an introduction to JavaScript through drawing and animation.
  • Coursera compiles Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from top universities, including Ivy League schools. They offer free online courses in computer science for novices and experts alike.
  • Lynda.com presents a free 30-day trial to its thousands of educational videos, including those dedicated to computer science. However, your public library may offer a complimentary Lynda membership. (Mine does.)
  • W3Schools approaches detailed tutorials through try-it-yourself examples, interdisciplinary references, and even quizzes.

So far, I’ve completed Codecademy’s HTML/CSS language course. I learned how to:

  • Build a webpage
  • Create a basic social network profile
  • Curate a clickable photo page
  • Design a webpage button.

I’ve since moved on to the site’s Javascript language course, and I intend to complete languages courses in jQuery, PHP, Python, and Ruby.

Ultimately, I hope to incorporate coding literacy into my skill set. As an online writer, I want to understand code to benefit my creative work and inspire new ideas. I’d love to eventually establish my own online news publication one day—and I certainly cannot do that without learning to code.

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Danielle Corcione is a freelance writer located in Omaha, Nebraska. Their work has recently appeared on the Billfold, Femsplainand the Establishment.

Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.

While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.

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