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Sarah Bartley
Sarah Bartley

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5 Favorite Coding Resources

Originally published July 6, 2016 on The Original BritishPandaChick blog. I made minor changes to the original post to work here on Code Newbie.

Developers are constantly learning so blogs and platforms such as The Practical Dev or Code Newbie are great resources to help them solve problems, learn new skills, and build their online presence. Many experts suggest developers keep a blog as they learn how to code. This way they can see how they progress with every skill they learn.

I started learning how to code in August 2015. My coding journey begins with the book What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. This book transformed my life since the flower exercise gave me some much-needed clarity about myself. Once I finished with my flower, I started using the information from my flower to research careers that would be the best fit for me.

This is when I discovered Skillcrush. Skillcrush is a company focused on teaching women digital skills. After reading about the company and the program features, I enrolled in Skillcrush's free ten-day boot camp to see what coding is like.

At the time, I had no experience coding.

When I was in school, computer class concentrated on teaching kids how to type and use Microsoft Office. The only time I heard anything about programming was through action movies such as James Bond and other spy thrillers which had characters acting as programmers. These characters were on the computer hacking through software so James Bond could save the world.

I was not sure if I would even like coding, but I fell in love with it the minute I wrote my first line of code. My first line of code wasn't very glamorous. For most developers, the first line of code they ever write is "Hello World" or a variation of that line. While this might be a universal first line of code for many developers, every developer can remember exactly what they were thinking and even feeling the minute that line appears on the computer.

When I was able to make "Hello World" appear on my browser, I realized I finally found everything I was looking for. At the end of the boot camp, I enrolled in the web designer career blueprint and started my coding journey. After finishing the blueprint, I began exploring other coding resources to build on the skills I was learning as well as I was building my portfolio site.

Today I can use digital skills such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery to build colorful interactive websites.

Most importantly, I found a career path that is right for me and love what I do. Although I don't have a tech job yet, I am looking for tech jobs and am starting to look for freelancing jobs as I continue to grow as a developer.

I am sharing a list of resources I use to understand programming languages, get career advice, and learn about all the latest news in tech. You can find out more information on each item by clicking the name.

1. Skillcrush

Out of all the items on the list, Skillcrush is my favorite and the very first resource I used to learn how to code. Skillcrush is a company focused on teaching women digital skills and how to code. Skillcrush offers career blueprints that teach different skills over the course of three months. Some of the skills covered in the career blueprints are:

  • HTML & CSS
  • UX Web Design
  • JavaScript & jQuery
  • Git and Github
  • Responsive Web Design
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Skillcrush blueprints are $399 or 3 monthly payments of $149 a month. However, Skillcrush does offer promo codes for those making a career change or are unemployed. You can sign up for a career blueprint or just one course. Skillcrush also offers a free ten boot camp for newbies where you learn some HTML and get a sense of the format of a Skillcrush lesson.
  • Besides the career blueprints, Skillcrush also has a career section for their students which guides them through the process of finding a freelancing tech job as well as a great blog that has job advice, design tips, and even job listings. Skillcrush enrollment opens at the end of every month.
  • ==> Click here to learn more about Skillcrush!

    2. Learn to Code With Me

    The Learn to Code With Me blog and podcast are some of the newest resources I have been using. If you are a newbie, you will want to check the Learn to Code With Me Blog first. Laurence Bradford (the founder of the Learn to Code With Me blog) has tons of information from job advice, free guides, and even reviews of coding resources.

    I downloaded Laurence's freelancing guide and it is full of great tips on how to get started freelancing from finding your first client to how to set your rate. I am thinking about signing up for more coding courses, and her list of resources has been very helpful in figuring out which courses are the best. Besides the Learn to Code With Me blog, Laurence also started the Facebook group Learn to Code with Me Community. The group allows other developers to talk about coding, answer questions, and get feedback.

    If you are a fan of podcasts, you should check out the Learn to Code With Me podcast. Laurence recently started the podcast and the first season of the show features lots of great interviews with people in tech. Each guest shares their stories of how they got started and offers lots of great advice newbies can use to get a tech job. You can listen to the podcast on the Learn to Code With Me site or subscribe via your favorite place to listen to podcasts.

    ==> Click here to learn more about Learn to Code with Me!

    3. Codecademy

    A perfect free option for coding newbies is Codecademy. Codecademy is where some developers start their coding journey. There is a decent selection of courses from HTML & CSS to PHP. Each course teaches the concepts by having users type code to see the result as they learn different skills.

    After a certain number of lessons, Codecademy walks users through a project that uses everything that they learn. As you finish courses and projects, you earn badges for certain milestones. While the focus is on the main course offerings, Codecademy does offer tutorials to build other projects such as your galaxy or an animated version of your name.

    I am using Codecademy right now to supplement what I am learning in FreeCodeCamp and Skillcrush. I just finished the JavaScript and jQuery sections. Codecademy is free. However, you can sign up for the pro account. The pro account has more features from quizzes to extra project tutorials.

    ==> Click here to learn more about Codecademy!

    4. Free Code Camp

    Another popular free alternative to Codecademy is Free Code Camp. This resource often pops up among many developers and is always on recommendation lists. Free Code Camp is similar to Codecademy, but its curriculum goes much deeper both in the front end and back end areas.

    Free Code Camp doesn't just cover HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Some of the areas covered in the Free Code Camp curriculum are:

    • Responsive design with Bootstrap
    • JSON APIs and Ajax
    • Node.js and Express.js
    • Algorithm scripting

    The big difference between Codecademy and Free Code Camp is with the projects. While Codecademy walks users through a project, Free Code Camp takes off the training wheels and has you figure out how to build each project. Throughout certain points of the curriculum, you will have to build a set of projects using the concepts covered in previous lessons. This approach encourages users to think like a developer and teaches them how to approach projects the way a developer would.

    Once you are finished with each section, you earn a certificate. While the curriculum gets the most attention, Free Code Camp has one of the best online communities available to help users find answers to their questions to getting advice on finding tech jobs. Users can also join Facebook groups within their area to get feedback on projects or schedule meetups to work with other users on their projects. Free Code Camp also offers forums where users can interact with each other and articles about what is happening in tech.

    ==> Click here to learn more about Free Code Camp!

    5. SoloLearn

    Although there are great coding websites online, people can't sit at a computer 99% learning how to code. Even though you are not close to your computer, you can still learn how to code. When I want to fit in a quick coding lesson, I use some of the many apps from SoloLearn.

    SoloLearn has a bunch of mobile apps that teach different programming languages. These apps are free on Google Play Store and iTunes. I have these apps on my iPad, and I use these apps when I want to take a break from my computer or when I am waiting in line at the grocery store. For every lesson, there are diagrams, text, and even videos to help users learn different concepts. If you want to try a loop in JavaScript, SoloLearn includes a link to a text editor so users can write and run code.

    After each lesson, there is a quiz that helps users see how well they are doing and what areas they need to review again. I am using the JavaScript app right now, and the quizzes are extremely helpful in figuring out what areas I don't understand in JavaScript. When I don't know an answer on a quiz, I can revisit the lesson and re-watch videos demonstrating how each concept works in code.

    Once you are finished with the course, you earn a certificate. If you don't have time to sit at a computer learning how to code, this app is a great way to start learning the coding basics.

    ==> Click here to learn more about SoloLearn!

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