Free Sites to Learn Coding

Here are some of the best free sites to learn coding.  Some are both free and not free; there are many other sites out there as well.

For beginners - This is a fantastic site that sponsors the Hour of Code.  Everything here is free, and there is a great 20 hour course on Computer Science Fundamentals for all ages, with specific modules for kids ages 4-6 who are early readers.  There are several other classes, including Flappy Code which helps you create a Flappy Bird like game.  Coder Kids used an earlier version of their Intro class in some of our workshops at the start of Coder Kids and everyone loved it.  For kids most kids in Coder Kids who aren't brand new to coding, the best bet would be the Accelerated Intro to CS Course.  But there are many offerings, we suggest you spend some time and look around on the site.

Codecademy - Note that this is CodeCademy, not CodeAcademy.  It's a great site where most classes are free.  Over 25 million people have used it.  Classes are grouped into tracks including Python, JavaScript, and HTML and CSS.  One interesting class is Make a Website, which teaches you to build a recent version of Airbnb's home page.

Udacity - This site has some free classes and some not so free.  They naturally want you to sign up for the $200 per month option which does have a lot of value, but despite how it looks, you don't have to.  For beginners, click on New to Tech on the left side menu under Skill Level.  Then look at the classes; one excellent starting point is Intro to Computer Science, which is a Python class. This online class would go into much more detail than our intermediate class.  On the right menu you will see a Start Free Trial (which then becomes $200/mo) button, but further down you will see an Access Course Materials button.  Click on the Access Course Materials button and sign up; this is the free option.  They also have other classes like Make Your Own 2048 game.

Udemy - This site is not free, but most of the classes are nearly always on sale for $10.  They have many outstanding class offerings (and some not so great); the site was started in 2010 and now has over 32,000 classes and 8 million students.  We have used many classes from Udemy and found most of them are quite good.  The ratings will tell you the story usually; do a search on Python to see many classes in Python. Here's two examples:  Introduction to Python Programming and The Ultimate Python Programming Tutorial.

Treehouse - This is a great site but is not free.  It offers very well done video based training with interactivity, so you really learn the details.  They have languages plus tracks like Design a Game.  The basic plan is $25 a month, but you can cancel at any time.

CodeSchool - This is a similar site to Treehouse, and offers classes in JavaScript, Python, HTML/CSS, and others.  Some classes are free and some are not.

Kahn Academy - This is a great site that many people are familiar with for help with school subjects, but they have more and more content in computer programming and computer science.  One of their first classes in the computer programming track is using JavaScript to make animations and drawings. Khan Academy also has material on the Hour of Code.


For More Advanced Coders - This is a great place to take the next step, and has tutorials on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and a lot more.  Highly recommended.   

Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) - This is as much of a reference site as a learning site.  For example, under JavaScript, there are both tutorials at the beginner through advanced level, and extensive reference information.

aGupieWare - This is from an independent app developer who surveyed computer science programs across the US and then came up with their own "Bachelor's level" curriculum consisting of 15 courses.

GitHub - There are some great resources here, including free programming books.

edX - This is an open-source online learning platform founded by MIT and Harvard way back in 2012.  It features many classes including the well known Introduction to Computer Science (CS50) from Harvard.  Note that these tend to be high quality video recordings of actual college classes; they are a bit challenging for younger kids to keep up with.

MIT Open Courseware - This is similar to edX, and of course is from MIT.  It has many college level classes including Introduction to Programming in Java and others.  Again, this is bit advanced for younger children.

freeCodeCamp - This is an interesting site that helps solve real-world problems of non-profit organizations through free coding help.  You can just learn to code, or learn while helping non-profits.  Topics include HTML5 and CSS, Responsive Design with Bootstrap, jQuery, JavaScript, Object Oriented Programming, and Algorithm Scripting

Google's Python Class - This is a free class from Google on the Python language. - There are many resources here, including how to code in Swift, the new language for iOS app development. - There are many resources here, including tutorials in Web Fundamentals and making Games with Google.


For Help and Reference

When you start to play around with coding your own projects, you will find that you run into issues and bugs.  

Here are some great sources for getting help.

Google - That's right, just Google it.  Whatever your problem is, Google it and you will probably find a solution.

Stackoverflow - This site is the probably the #1 site on the web for programmers helping programmers.  In fact, if you Google your problem, you will likely see lots of hits for Stackoverflow pages. - This is a great place for tutorials but is also an excellent reference for web developers.    

Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) - This is another great reference site.  Most languages include both tutorials and extensive reference information.