Welcome to the inaugural edition of Best of the Best. This series will examine our favorite things on the web. Look to us for the top picks for assets, resources, and other must-see items online. The lists will be a culmination of surveys, editor’s picks, online reviews and our personal favorites.
Looking to learn to code? You won’t have to look far.
Code refers to the complex binary instructions written in 1s and 0s. It helps to power computers, smartphones, and even automobiles, with software capable of communicating and receiving data. The onslaught of programs and websites to teach code appeal to an array of users. Children, computer scientists and multitudes in between them use these sites to learn code.
With a considerable breadth of code-reliant devices, demand for coders – those who write these binary instructions – has been on the rise for years. Yet, 17 states don’t recognize computer science for high school graduation requirements.
The site code.org says 42,969 computer science grads ventured into the job market last year. As of Q1 2017, 512,340 open computer jobs have gone unfilled.
Coding isn’t a one-size-fits-all language. Far from it. Code education caters to a variety of needs. We’ve found helpful sites, for those who know the difference between Ruby and Ruby on Rails, and for those who don’t. (They’re different programming languages, by the way.)
Some designers up their game with these sites. Others go there for the basics. There’s learning space for bloggers, game developers, website administrators, and more. We’ve chosen the best of the best when it comes to popular categories of code education.
FOR THE BEGINNER
Code Avengers offers free and for-pay courses. Users pay per course, not a monthly fee, as with some schools. At about $21 per course, Code Avengers’ curriculum is geared for the true beginner. Bigger outfits such as Treehouse and Code School have more offerings. Code Avengers’ laid-back feel and a la carte course selection give it the edge for beginners, though.
UDEMY | Lots of free, self-paced online courses. It’s also a marketplace for users to sell or offer free teachings through courses.
LEARN CODE THE HARD WAY | It’s less a code school and more of a library for code beginners. Following a “learn, then implement” style, it offers online, print and video options.
FOR THE INTERMEDIATE CODER
Designed for kids 18 and under, Scratch caters to users of all ages who have a grasp of coding principles. Scratch is by no means an easy platform. Its superpower is that it breaks code into logical sections such as motion and sound. Like Code Avengers, Scratch takes a simple approach to education. Users can download projects from this platform for use in other places.
LEARNPYTHON.ORG |Python is a code language that uses a simpler syntax than other high-level programming languages, with similar results.
UDACITY | This site includes training for several jobs, including computer science and programming. Users can access coaching and standardized feedback tools, and receive verified certificates.
FOR THE EXPERT CODER
Coursera has online courses from dozens of top computer science universities. The courses are free, and come in five languages. Video lectures run about 20-30 minutes, a fraction of time a user would spend in class at the schools. Quizzes and tests from college professors and varied final-exam formats set Coursera apart.
CODEPROJECT | Subscribers can take part in forums and access a Quick Answers section. They can also register for weekly updates. Developers worldwide contribute to the site’s article library.
FOR PERSONAL BLOGS
More robust than the free .com version, WordPress.org offers capacity to customize. Popular with bloggers and business site developers, WordPress.org offers custom plug-ins. These create a multitude of functions on a website, such as flash players and PDF readers. The .com entity, WordPress’ free site, works well with beginning bloggers. It includes plenty of contemporary templates for basic blogging.
GHOST | Site developers created Ghost to make life in code easier for bloggers. Its Kickstarter campaign raised$320,000 in 48 hours to ensure its launch.
DRUPAL | While not one of the easiest platforms to navigate, Drupal offers a ton of functionality. This includes advanced menu management and a graphics modifications tool. Bloggers can create advanced sites, boards, social networking pages and more.
FOR VIDEO GAMES
Game Development @ Tuts+
This platform can carry the user from beginner to advanced. Experienced game developers offer e-books, free tutorials and online courses. The concept goes for building and designing games. The courses and community discourse cover game development and theory. That includes understanding steering behaviors, creating a 3D city and more.
INFINITE SKILLS | Go here for user-friendly classes and a vast video library. Some videos are free, and users choose from downloads, DVDs, and on-demand viewing. The site even has an iOS app.
GAME CODE SCHOOL | It’s tough to find a more comprehensive course offering. Industry pros offer screencasts on this site, just be aware the material is not for beginners.