Want to learn how to code?
2021 is the perfect time to start.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us are looking forward to a better year than 2020.
I know I am!
But whether it’s an impulsive New Year’s resolution or a dream you’ve had for years, it’s never been a better time to learn how to code.
It wasn’t always like this.
It’s crazy to think that only a few years ago, aspiring developers were extremely limited in their online learning options.
If you wanted to learn how to code, you had a few random YouTube videos, blog posts that made too many assumptions and cryptic documentation.
Today, there are seemingly endless options – a dizzying buffet of learning resources.
This is great news for aspiring developers, who now have so many excellent choices from which to choose.
But how do you know which learning platforms are worth your time and money?
Fear not, for today I have 4 worthwhile platforms to share.
I picked and organized these platforms based on the following traits:
- quality of curriculum
- quality of learning environment
- my personal experience (I’m a web developer by trade and have literally tried over 100 platforms over the years.)
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.
OK, seriously. Why is nobody talking about this platform?
Founded by two brothers who served in software engineer roles at Facebook and Microsoft, Educative’s secret sauce starts with the built-in interactive coding environments.
One of the most frustrating things with coding courses is getting your environment set up.
Invariably, something isn’t working or the instructions are outdated and it’s incredibly tempting to skip it and go into video-consumer mode rather than active participant mode.
Check out my video review of Educative.io:
But with Educative, you can get right into the learning and doing with ZERO configuration time, because the environment is built right in the browser.
Each course usually also comes with coding challenges, quizzes, code snippets and beautiful illustrations to reinforce the well-organized written content.
The other thing I like about this platform is the mix of course options.
Remember, Educative is based on interactive code environments, coding challenges, quizzes and readings rather than video instruction.
While you will be immersed in many fun and valuable coding scenarios using Educative, if you prefer videos you should probably keep reading on for a more suitable platform.
Right now they’re doing an extended discount for their subscription plan, so be sure to check that out before they jack the price up again.
2. Learn how to code on: App Academy Open.
A long-time subscriber asked me to review this platform over a year ago, and I just recently got to it. Why? Because to be totally honest, most of the stuff I come across online is a solid “meh.”
I just was not looking forward to it at all, but recently I decided to take the plunge and have a look. And WOAH, was I surprised.
App Academy Open is a free, self-paced version of App Academy’s in-person bootcamp curriculum. With their in-person bootcamp, they’re super choosy; according to some sources their acceptance rate hovers around 5%.
Graduates have gone on to work at Google, Amazon, and lots of other respected tech companies.
But with the App Academy Open experience, you don’t have to get stressed out about whether you’re accepted or not. Just sign up and start learning for free.
This is a full-stack curriculum where you’ll be expected to dedicate around 1500 hours in order to finish it all (that’ll take 8-9 months if you can dedicate around 40/hrs a week).
You’ll start with software engineering foundations, then go on to learn Ruby –– this is a great beginner’s language.
There are a couple of things I love about App Academy Open.
Firstly, the content is high-quality. Much of it is video-based, and the instructors are knowledgable.
While used for web development, Rails isn’t nearly as in-demand as it was a few years ago. Keep that in mind if your goal is to learn “hot” web technologies ASAP.
3. Learn how to code on: Amazon.
OK, I know what some of you are thinking: “AMAZON?? That’s an ecommerce platform…not a place to learn how to code.”
On the contrary! Amazon has some of the best resources ever published for learning how to code.
That book was a game changer for not only myself, but thousands of other aspiring developers. It’s one of the few JS resources that is truly geared towards “level 0” learners.
Aside from Myers’ book, here are a few others that are outstanding for beginners:
- A Smarter Way to Learn HTML & CSS by Mark Myers
- HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett
- Head First Learn to Code: A Learner’s Guide to Coding and Computational Thinking by Eric Freeman
- Think Like a Programmer: An Introduction to Creative Problem Solving by V. Anton Spraul
Granted, you don’t get the fancy in-browser coding environments or slick videos with books.
But taking this approach forces you to be more active in your learning while prepping you for a very important skill you’ll use at a real-world dev job: reading documentation.
Books are still an excellent, efficient way to absorb information when learning how to code.
4. Learn how to code on: Udemy
How could I forget the one and only Udemy?
This platform is home for web development courses you can score for the price of lunch. If you learn best with video instruction, Udemy is going to be your paradise.
Some of the most comprehensive beginner-level courses can be found on here.
The most popular of them is by far Colt Steele’s Web Developer Bootcamp, which completely changed the landscape for those wanting to learn web development on a budget when it was released a few years back.
Since then, a few other competitors have come along, and one of my favorite newcomers is Andrei Neagoie. He also has a bootcamp course that largely mirrors what Steele teaches, but has some notable variations.
Check out the table here, but my recommendation is the Neagoie course:
🚀 Andrei Neagoie founded his own platform off of Udemy, ZeroToMastery.io.
💾 ZtM includes a very nicely priced monthly subscription that gets you access to all his courses plus exclusive content. Be sure to check it out and tell him RTC sent you!
|Metric/Feature||Andrei Neagoie – Zero to Mastery||Colt Steele – The Web Developer Bootcamp|
|Frontend Framework||React + Redux||None|
|Backend||Node + Express||Node + Express|
|Capstone Project||SmartBrain, a face-recognition app that implements ML (machine learning)||Yelp Camp, a full-stack Node app featuring CRUD operations on campground info.|
|Student Support||TA on Udemy + highly active Discord community, instructor often present||TA on Udemy + Discord|
|Number of Students||150,000+||600,000+|
In addition, Neagoie’s Discord activity is a huge bonus and the fact that he himself visits regularly is testament to his investment in his students’ success.
Educative, App Academy Open, Amazon and Udemy are all amazing resources if you want to learn how to code.
If you like interactive courses, Educative is your best bet. If you want to learn Ruby while getting a bootcamp-style curriculum, App Academy Open is a good choice.
Finally, if you like videos, check out Udemy. In addition, a popular web developer instructor on Udemy, Andrei Neagoie, has started his own platform for a great monthly price.