If you’re entering the tech industry, get ready to learn to code — but can you do it for free?
Looking to become a front-end developer who designs engaging web pages and user-friendly interfaces? HTML and CSS will be your main code — and probably others too.
With coding being such a foundational tech skill, you may be wondering where you can go to master your language of choice or how you can even get started. Learning a programming language used to entail sitting in a classroom and reading a pile of textbooks — and the cost would add up. That’s not the case anymore, as there are plenty of online resources where beginners can learn to code for free.
Some websites offer free coding tutorials and exercises in the language of your choice. A few expert developers and consultants have created their own YouTube channels and blogs to give followers helpful insights. All of these resources are designed to make coding accessible to the masses — and all of them are free.
So, where are the best places you can go to learn to code for free? Here are some of our favorites.
General free coding websites and course platforms
The most common free coding resources are websites devoted to helping those of all abilities hone their programming skills. Some are tailored to novices with no experience, but many offer tutorials and challenges that can help intermediate and even advanced programmers level up their coding knowledge.
Some websites function as coding libraries or communities to help you map out all of the skills you need, while others are designed to give you hands-on experience writing the actual language. We’ll take a look at both.
1. Code Conquest
A community of coders dedicated to helping you understand how to approach your coding journey, Code Conquest helps those with little or no programming knowledge learn which skills they need. Introductory topics include a basic overview of what coding is, which professions use coding, what their duties are, and which programming languages they use.
Not all of their material is so basic, though. Code Conquest offers training recommendations on everything from languages like PHP and Java to operating systems like Android and Linux, as well as cheat sheets to help you keep track of easily-forgotten commands. With so much guidance, this site is sure to help you conquer your coding fears.
2. The Odin Project
Learn. Build. Connect. That’s the motto at The Odin Project, and it delivers on its promise. With a curated library of thousands of coding resources from all across the web, this site aims to take the confusion out of web development and give new coders a clear path to success. Challenging programming exercises give you a chance to showcase your skills and build a portfolio for future interviews. Additionally, the community of like-minded developers will further your social network, which can help you land a job.
3. W3 Schools
With over 3 billion pages displayed each year and 60 million visitors every month, W3 Schools claims to be the world’s largest web-developer site. They offer tutorials, resources, and exercises on a number of programming languages, including:
- Ruby on Rails
- And many more
With so much content, web developers are sure to find the resources they need to boost their coding experience as they progress in their career.
Learning to code can be a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Several coding sites are designed to combine education with entertainment, but few do it better than Codewars. This coding website is built with a martial arts theme, as users can strengthen their coding discipline with increasingly complex challenges called katas. Coding pupils can move up and master the ranks as they gain wisdom and train others within their programming style.
It isn’t all fun and games at Codewars, though. Users have more than sixteen language disciplines to gain mastery over, and their tutorials and katas are sure to hone your programming wisdom.
The founders of Bento.io firmly believe that a programming education doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and they’ve designed their website to prove it. Tutorials are offered on multiple languages like Shell, Flask, Heroku, and more, and a wealth of related content has been curated into simple yet substantial form. True to its name, Bento.io has something for everyone.
It’s meant primarily for intermediate or even advanced-level coders, but HackerRank is an excellent free programming website — and there’s plenty of competition on here. Online challenges and leaderboards reveal how you rank relative to other coders, giving you an opportunity to see how you can further your skills. Tutorials and explanations from a collaborative community can help you develop your understanding of multiple programming languages. Since its purpose is to connect coders with premiere tech companies, ranking high enough could help you get noticed for a job.
7. Flatiron School
YouTube channels to learn to code online
If you’d like some coding instruction before jumping into a coding challenge but would prefer something more laid back than a course, a YouTube channel may be a great learning outlet for you. The world’s largest video library has many resources to help you learn to code for free, many of which are offered by experts in their field.
Hosted by Yogesh Patel, ProgrammingKnowledge provides a staggering number of educational videos that cover a range of coding topics. The content is designed for programming novices, and tutorials are offered for Java, Python, C++, and more. More than 150,000 viewers have given their seal of approval to the 1,000+ videos on this channel, and Patel also hosts a blog by the same name.
The YouTube home of Team Treehouse, this channel is part of a broader tech initiative. Dedicated to making technology education affordable and accessible, Treehouse presents casual coding lessons on Python, C#, and much more. Presenters vary by topic, and the channel also broadcasts Treehouse Show, a series of coding and development updates complete with helpful tips and interviews. It may be smaller than ProgrammingKnowledge, but Treehouse is an excellent haven for learning to code for free.
With over 4,000 videos and 1 million viewers, TheNewBoston is said to be the best YouTube resource for any prospective developer. Bucky Roberts’ simple yet witty teaching style keeps viewers engaged while still being informative enough to further your coding skills.
Free online courses
When you are looking for a good website to learn to code for free, some websites might be too complicated for true beginners. Couple that with some learners’ need for more structure and feedback, and taking an online coding course may be the best way to learn to code for free.
Flatiron School offers multiple free coding lessons to expand your programming skills. These lessons are an intro to programming languages that you will learn in bootcamps, so they’re designed to get your feet wet and give you a foundation to build on. Here’s what we offer:
- Programming as a conversation
- Boolean expressions
- Working with strings
- Logical operators
2. Intro to Ruby lesson
In our free Intro to Ruby workshop, you’ll learn the following:
- Introduction to variables
- Common data types
- Looping in Ruby
- Printing to the console
- Conditional statements
- Methods in Ruby
Our survey of the most in-demand programming languages shows that Ruby is one of the more lucrative programming languages out there, as the average Ruby programmer salary in 2021 was estimated to be $98,798, according to ZipRecruiter.
3. Intro to HTML and CSS lesson
In our free Intro to HTML and CSS lesson, we’ll cover:
- HTML Syntax
- Semantic HTML
- Styling HTML Using CSS selectors
- Styling Text with CSS
- Boilerplate HTML
- Common HTML Elements
- Creating and Linking stylesheets
- CSS Box Models
4. Intro to Python lesson
Web development isn’t the only industry that depends on coding. Python is one of the most versatile and user-friendly programming languages. It can be found in applications as diverse as data analytics, data science, software engineering, and web development. This language is one of the most powerful languages coders will find. It is often used in machine learning, algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), and computational software.
As we go through our free Intro to Python workshop, you’ll learn about:
- Python Data Types
- List Data Types
- Assigning a List to a Variable
- Using the Index of Items in a List
- Adding and Removing Items on a List
- Changing and Comparing Items in a List
We’ll introduce you to Python through a real-life scenario of organizing travel destinations for a trip around the globe — something airlines do every day. Since Python is such a prevalent language, we’ve also developed two more tutorials showing you how to analyze word clouds and maximize hotel profits with the binomial distribution and Bernoulli trials.
5. Intro to API Integration lesson
It may not be a coding language, but understanding API Integration is a vital part of web development. Short for application programming integration, APIs enable websites and apps to communicate more efficiently.
Our free Intro to API Integration workshop will cover the following:
- What an API is
- Using Data with HTML
- What is HTTP?
Transform data, convert visual to audio files, and identify images with API functionality — and we’ll show you where to start.
Best Twitter accounts to follow
Social media is becoming an increasingly popular place for tech experts to post coding resources, and Twitter is no exception. Known for its conciseness, Twitter is an especially interactive forum where industry leaders can post their thoughts and resources, and followers may keep track of their content. Follow these tech gurus, and they can help you learn to code for free.
1. Brendan Eich
Code Newbies is a community of people learning how to code. You can go here to ask questions and also learn from the questions others ask.
100 Days of Code is a coding challenge that happens via hashtag. It’s a great way to test your skills and also to learn from the code that others are developing.
Learn to code at Flatiron School
With so many concepts and commands, learning to code is like learning a foreign language. It takes time, effort, and consistency, but once you do it, you open yourself up to a world of opportunity. As with learning any other language, there are plenty of tools that can help you become fluent in code.
Websites, YouTube channels, and a Twitter feed can give you access to some of the world’s best programming minds — but even with all that, you still may need some coursework.
Flatiron School’s intensive coding bootcamps are designed to launch you into your new tech career, but if you’d like to get your feet wet first, we have an abundance of lessons and workshops to help you learn to code for free. Learn more about our bootcamps, try a free lesson, or schedule a 10-minute chat with admissions if you’re interested in starting a coding bootcamp.