There comes a point in everyone's life when it's time to take more control of your destiny. If you've built your own site using free WordPress themes or Drupal themes, you might be craving more control. It's time to take an online coding course, learn to code yourself and built your site, your way.
Many accessible educational tools have popped up that make learning new skills more straightforward. The daunting task is finding one that's right for you and your learning style.
I've tested and reviewed some of the most popular schools being talked about on the web today, to give you a better understanding of the pros and cons of each.
Here's my list of the web's best online coding courses.
01. Code School
Of all the tools I dug into, Code School – owned by Pluralsight – was one of my favourites. Not only does the site look great, but it offers quality content and a great student experience. You can follow a 'path', which will guide you through a succession of different courses, or you can opt for a single course on its own. There are also 'electives' on offer – additional courses you can take to supplement your path.
The videos are quirky and fun in an after-school special kind of way, which is a refreshing break from typically dry video tutorials. It's like watching Bill Nye explain it, which is to say, comforting. After viewing a video, you work on your own tasks – relating back to the video if required. If you get really stuck (like I did) you can 'buy' answers with points you've earned from other classes.
Code School offers some courses for free, so you can try it out for size, or you can buy a monthly subscription for $29/month. If you sign up for a year, this is reduced to $19/month. If you're looking to splash a few bucks on a learning tool, I would recommend spending your money here.
Skillcrush is a unique online coding course, and the option here that most closely resembles an actual curriculum in a classroom setting. Users can enrol in either a one-off three-week course, or a three-month 'blueprint' (a design or development-focused path that takes students through three courses that build on each other).
Once enrolled, students have access to not only a classroom setting chat forum with their fellow students, but also to office hours and one-on-one time with their instructor. Skillcrush is currently also offering a free 10-day coding bootcamp.
Udacity offers robust guides to many different topics, with seriously advanced courses on everything from robotics to design theories in everyday life.
All courses are summarised before you even begin, outlining the difficulty level, why the course is important, any prerequisites for taking it, and the project you will complete at the end. This meant I could easily scan through and choose what suited me best.
04. Code Avengers
Code Avengers walks you through each process with very simple, step-by-step instructions, starting with minor tasks, while you watch what happens in a mini phone simulator next to your editor. Tasks weren't so difficult that I felt the need to 'cheat', but they weren't so simple that I was just copying and pasting.
05. Khan Academy
What's interesting with Khan Academy is that you hear someone talking while they write the code, which feels natural, like you're sitting down with someone. The courses were straightforward, easy to follow and I could then transfer the concepts to the simple exercises.
Sometimes, there are mini-quizzes following a demo, which made me think about things conceptually and helped me understand what the code was doing a little better.
06. Hack Design
The 'courses' here are just collections of aggregated content, whether that's articles or videos, from around the web. There isn't anything to ‘complete' by way of tasks, but if you're after some resource recommendations to help you learn more about a specific part of design, I would turn here.
There are also tool lists with recommendations from people who use them. This is an excellent catalogue of design resources for all levels. It offers great introductory content for beginners and more advanced techniques for those of us who do this full-time.
Udemy is an expansive catalogue, filled with thousands of other topics besides web and technology, with prices ranging from free to hundreds of dollars. I would venture to say you could find just about anything you wanted to learn about on here.
Tuts+ offers tiered subscription plans, which include access to downloads of a multitude of ebooks in addition to your courses. It offers a large catalogue filled with different specifics of code like SVG, Jekyll and Sass.
I take this to mean it has ongoing education courses that even professionals can take to further their skills, not just bare-bones stuff to help beginners to dip their toes into code. Tutorials come in the form of write-ups about different topics, in addition to actual courses.
Next page: eight more top online coding courses