May 20, 2015
The Learn to Code movement has picked up momentum worldwide and that is actually a good thing as even basic programming skills can have a major impact. If you can teach yourself how to write code, you 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. Microsoft TouchDevelop, Blockly and Alice are some other web apps that will introduce the concepts of computer progamming to your children.
Amit Agarwal is a web geek, ex-columnist for The Wall Street Journal and founder of Digital Inspiration, a hugely popular tech how-to website since 2004. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science from IIT and happens to be the first professional blogger in India. He's been profiled on Lifehacker. With 19 years' experience in software development, Amit has authored several popular Google Add-ons that are deployed in some of the biggest companies and universities worldwide with over 250,000 installations. Download the PDF brochure to know more.