There was a time when knowing how to program was for the geekiest of geeks. That’s not exactly the case today. As most entrepreneurs, freelancers and marketers will tell you, learning how to program can help you succeed. Over the past year, I've been learning to code. It's helped me to become a much better entrepreneur -- I can dive in when my team needs to fix a few bugs on the site.
You don’t even need to shell out a ton of money or put yourself in debt to learn how to code, either. These 12 places offer coding courses for free:
Founded in 2012, Coursera has grown into a major for-profit educational-technology company that has offered more than 1,000 courses from 119 institutions. While you can pay for certain programs to receive a certificate, there are a number of free introductory programming courses in various specializations from universities such as the University of Washington, Stanford, the University of Toronto and Vanderbilt.
EdX is another leading online-learning platform that is open source instead of for-profit. It was founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, so you know that you’ll learn about cutting-edge technologies and theories. Today, edX includes 60 schools. You probably can’t go wrong with the free Introduction to Computer Science from Harvard University.
Founded in 2010, Udemy is an online learning platform that can be used as a way to improve or learn job skills. While there are courses you have to pay for, there are plenty of free programming courses, which are taught via video lessons, such as Programming for Entrepreneurs - HTML & CSS or Introduction to Python Programming.
AGupieWare is an independent app developer that surveyed computer-science programs from some of the leading institutions in the U.S. It then created a similar curriculum based on the free courses offered by Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley and Columbia. The program was then broken into 15 courses: three introductory classes, seven core classes and five electives.
While you won’t actually receive credit, it’s a perfect introductory program for prospective computer programmers.
Sometimes, you need to recall a reference book when you’re stuck on a problem. That's GitHub. You can find more than 500 free programming books that cover more than 80 different programming languages on the popular web-based Git repository hosting service, which means that it’s frequently updated by collaborators.
7. MIT Open Courseware
If you’ve already learned the basics, and went to get into something a bit heavier -- such as exploring the theory behind coding -- take advantage of MIT’s free courseware site that includes classes such as Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, Introduction to Programming in Java and Practical Programming in C.
This is a community of developers, which include some high-profile developers such as Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent. There, you can perfect your programming skills by learning from some of the leading developers in the world.
9. Code Avengers
10. Khan Academy
11. Free Food Camp
12. HTML5 Rocks
This Google project launched in 2010 to counter Apple’s HTML5. The site is full of tutorials, resources and the latest HTML5 updates. It’s open source, so developers can play around with HTML5 code. Because this is more advanced than most introductory courses, you may want to gain some knowledge and experience before jumping in.
Learning code used to require access to expensive books and classes, but no longer. I highly recommend that every entrepreneur learns to code. Still wondering if you need to code? Here is a programmer guide I put together to show you every step I took to become an entrepreneur that codes!