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6 Free Online Resources for Learning to Code

Learning to code can be overwhelming. There are many different paths to explore (whether from the perspective of future career focus, programming language, or core resource set).

Here are 6 free online resources for learning to code, in relative order of "no coding background needed" to "advanced."

1. Made with Code

Made with Code is a Google initiative to encourage students to learn computer science - particularly young women.

"Girls start out with a love of science and technology, but lose it somewhere along the way. Let’s help encourage that passion in teen girls."

On the Made with Code website, you can drag-and-drop code blocks to create shareable creations to champion causes that are important to you (including the environment, ending poverty, peace, and equality).

While creating on Made with Code, you will learn and apply core computer science concepts like variables, encapsulation, sequences, and objects.

2. Hour of Code /®

Hour of Code is a®-facilitated movement with the goal of giving every child the opportunity to learn computer science.

"Launched in 2013,® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. We believe computer science should be part of core curriculum, alongside other courses such as biology, chemistry or algebra."® lets you explore computer programming in a game-like atmosphere with fun themes like Minecraft, Star Wars, and Frozen.

You can use drag-and-drop code blocks, or type your own pseudo-javascript and solve puzzles in order to do things like adventure through the Minecraft world, create your own Star Wars game, or draw an icy snowflake with Frozen's Anna and Elsa. You can choose to follow text tutorialsvideo tutorials, or a combination of both.

As you become more advanced, you can go through a® Computer Science Fundamentals course, and explore next steps in javascript.

3. Scratch

The MIT Media Lab created Scratch.

"With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community."

With Scratch you can use drag-and-drop code blocks to build your games, stories, and animations. Your projects can include not only animations, but also sound. Written tutorials, sometimes including animations, are available to get you started on coding your own creations.

4. Codecademy

Codecademy is focused on education. It is an online learning hub that allows you to explore classes on a wide variety of programming languages and fields including making a website (including javascript, HTML, and CSS), Python, Ruby, Java, and many others, even including utilizing IBM's Watson API.

You can write code in your browser, following along with the class tutorials and challenges.

The Codecademy content courses are free, but there are also some premium (for-pay) features that are available such as a specialized learning plan, quizzes, projects, and advisors.

5. Code School

Code School is a learning tool that is similar to Codecademy.

It covers similar areas of expertise, including HTML/CSS, javascript, Python, Ruby, PHP, .NET, iOS, and SQL.

Like with Codecademy, you can write code in your browser, following along with the class tutorials and challenges. Code School also includes video instruction with themed songs to further engage you in the learning process.

Unfortunately, while there are many free courses (or free chapters to courses), Code School does require a paid account for full access to its content.

6. Thimble by Mozilla

Thimble is an online code editor and learning tool by the creators of Firefox.

Thimble is powerful (and therefore more challenging than the tools we've discussed thus far). On the one hand, it is a learning tool that will help you use HTML, CSS, and javascript to remix a variety of projects from a Keep Calm Poster, to a Current Events Comic, to an interactive Back-to-School Postcard, to a 3 Things I <3 Website. On the other hand, you can use Thimble to create, edit, and publish your own projects and web pages in HTML, CSS, and javascript "from scratch."

You can edit or "remix" code from a project template inside your browser, or you can write your own code in-browser without guidance.

Did we miss any of your favorite coding resources? Comment below to let us know!