How to Code for Beginners: A Kickstart Guide to the 9 Best Courses

By: Kit Warchol

Category: Blog, Free Resources

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It’s 2019 and almost everything in our lives involves the internet, so it’s not all that surprising that some of the most lucrative jobs out there require at least a beginner’s understanding of how to code.

If you’ve considered learning to code for ages but felt intimidated by what that means (maybe you’ve even wondered if you’re too old to learn something new!), we’ve got you.

Considering that we teach coding and tech-adjacent skills to people all over the globe, we’ve reviewed more than a few coding resources for newbs (sorry not sorry.). Here are 9 of our favorite “how to code” classes for total beginners.

The 9 Best Free Online Coding Classes for Beginners

1. Skillcrush’s Free Coding Camp

Yep, that’s us. We worked very hard on this interactive beginners coding course, which is totally free, fully online, and interactive. You’ll watch video lessons, try your hand at writing your own code, and even read about how Skillcrush alums went from total beginners learning to code to earning an income as web developers, web designers, and beyond. You can complete it in about three days.

2. Skillshare’s Intro to Programming Course

It’s not exactly a secret that Skillshare has amazing classes for beginners, and this free online programming class is no exception. The 9 lessons add up to just 35 minutes (yep), and by the end you’ll understand some coding basics including a general understanding of the difference between the various programming languages—C++, JavaScript ,Python and Java.

The result is a very top-level class that never dives too deep, but if you’re a beginner who wants to learn how to code, you could do worse than starting here.

3. SuperHi’s First Steps Guide

If you’re a creative (designer, illustrator, writer) who’s considering learning to code because you think it will benefit your career, it’s worth giving SuperHi a try. The platform offers paid classes specifically for the non-technical among us. This online guide, which comes for free to your inbox as an email series, is a great place to start learning to code—and why it’s essential.

4. Codecademy’s Free Make a Website Course

Codecademy is a fantastic free resource that teaches beginners how to code. This class, in particular, is a great starting point. It takes about 7 hours to complete during which time, says Codecademy, you’ll:

…build four simple websites using web development fundamentals, including HTML5, CSS3 and Bootstrap. You’ll learn to understand and modify the structure of a basic website, as well as how to change the way a page looks and is laid out.

The platform also offers a Pro upgrade to dive even deeper into learning to code, when you’re ready. (Or you can come join us in one of our coding courses)

5. General Assembly’s Dash

The free stepchild of the online and in-person tech course giant General Assembly, Dash is one of the prettier free coding course options available. According to the team behind it, GA’s Dash “is a fun and free online course that teaches you the basics of web development through projects you can do in your browser.” That includes HTML, CSS3, and JavaScript.

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6. Codecademy’s Learn Responsive Design Class

Remember earlier how I said that when it comes to learning how to code for beginners, responsive design is totally a must in 2019? Here’s a free class for that, again from our friends at Codecademy. Start-to-finish: 2 hours. Can’t argue with that.

7. Free Code Camp

We frequently include Free Code Camp in our roundups because it’s one of those: How is this coding class free?! options where you feel like you should tell everybody. This is a more in-depth option for coding beginners who are fairly certain they want to see this whole “learn to code” thing through. It will teach you the basics but also introduce you to other elements including Git and GitHub, Node.js and React.js

5. Udemy’s Web Development by Doing: HTML & CSS Class

One of Udemy’s numerous free coding classes, this particular option is short and sweet—about 1 hour of video—and comes with a relatively high user rating (4.2 / 5). It promises you’ll:

  • Create your very first website from scratch
  • Learn what a website actually is, and what its made of
  • Learn the basics of HTML / HTML5
  • Learn the basics of CSS/ CSS3

According to one review, this is a great course for “absolute beginners”—which is great news for you if you’ve never encountered code before. One caveat, though: this class was last updated in 2013. While coding for beginners hasn’t changed much since then, it’s important to note that web development trends happen rapidly so some of these lessons might feel a bit dated.

8. Udemy’s Learn HTML & CSS: How To Start Your Web Development Career

Another great free coding class from Udemy, this is a slightly newer one than #5 on our list (last updated in 2015) and also has a slightly higher user review (4.5 / 5 stars). It’s also more in-depth if you’re ready to commit some extra time to learn how to code—specifically 4.5 hours worth. Some other perks:

You’ll learn how to make websites responsive/mobile friendly—a must for anyone learning to code in 2019.
Like the other classes on our list, you’ll create your own website using the HTML & CSS you learn.
This class also teaches you how to make a BBC website clone? I mean, sure why not.

9. The Coding Blonde’s How to Code for Beginner’s YouTube Playlist

I think we all know you can learn pretty much anything on YouTube these days, and there are plenty of videos that will teach you coding basics. Most of those videos are men, which is fine and all, but since Skillcrush exists in large part because we want to get more women in tech, we figured we should give some kudos to a woman producing great tutorials. The Coding Blonde’s videos are straightforward and insightful (try watching the ones about how to pick the right programming language to learn and how to pick the right coding course for you). One downside: no interactive online lessons. But hey, some of us are visual learners!

Want more? Take a look at our all-time best list of 64+ ways to learn to code for free online or our latest guide to the 80 best ways to learn to code in 2019.

Kit Warchol

Kit Warchol is the Head of Content for Skillcrush and writes for magazines and sites including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Girlboss, and others in her spare time. After teaching herself to code at the height of the recession (heyo, 2009), she worked as a web designer at various tech startups, then took a Senior Project Development role at the University of Southern California before diving back into writing full-time. Before joining us, she served as the Editorial Director of Career Contessa, a career advice site for women.

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