The Learn to Code movement, with the backing of the likes of Obama and Bill Gates, is picking up momentum worldwide and that is actually a very good thing as even basic programming skills can have a major impact. If you can teach yourself how to write code, you will gain a competitive edge over your peers, you can think more algorithmically and thus can tackle problems more efficiently.
Don’t just download the latest app, help redesign it. Don’t just play on your phone, program it. — Obama.
There’s no reason why shouldn’t know the basics of coding. You can automate tasks, you can program your Excel sheets, improve workflows, you can extract data from websites and accomplish so much more with code. You may not be in the business of writing software programs but knowing the basics of coding will help you communicate more effectively with developers.
Gone are the days when you had to enroll in expensive computer training classes as now exist a plethora of web-based courses that will help you learn programming at your own pace in the comfort of your web browser.
The Best Sites to Learn Programming
If you are ready to take the plunge, here are some of the best websites that offer courses in a variety of programming languages for free. I have also added a list of companion ebooks that will give you a more in-depth understanding of the language and they don’t cost anything either.
If there are kids in the family, you should download either Tynker (Android/iOS) or the Hopscotch app for iPad and they can learn the basics of programming through games and puzzles.
There’s also Scratch, an MIT project that allows kids to program their own stories and games visually. Scratch is available as a web app or you can download it on your Mac/Windows/Linux computer for offline use. Blockly and Alice are some other desktop apps that will introduce the concepts of computer progamming to your children.
Amit Agarwal is a web geek and founder of Digital Inspiration, a popular tech & how-to website. He has been blogging for over a decade and has also contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker and The Financial Express. Sign-up for the email newsletter for your daily dose of tips & tutorials.