10 Great Websites For Learning Programming - InformationWeek
Cloud // Software as a Service
07:06 AM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Connect Directly

10 Great Websites For Learning Programming

Whether you're preparing for a new career or experimenting with magic powers, it's worth knowing how to program.
1 of 11

(Image: kuszapro via Pixabay)

(Image: kuszapro via Pixabay)

The best way to learn to program is through trial and error by working on projects that interest you. There's no substitute for solving problems mostly on your own, and for seeking out help only when necessary. The DIY approach makes concepts real and memorable because you've implemented them, rather than reading material that may be forgotten.

To do so, you need a foundation, some level of familiarity with the syntax and patterns in whatever programming language or framework you've chosen. Before you can begin making progress on your own, you need some sense of basic programing concepts and the scope of possibilities.

The Web, a labyrinth of code, is full of educational resources that can help you lay that foundation. In many cases, no money is necessary -- free tutorials and help forums abound -- but a bit of cash can accelerate the process and help you achieve the technical competency to exercise your programming abilities on your own terms.

In building up a modest knowledge of Python, Lua, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, I've experimented with a handful of online programming courses. I can't tell you which is right for you. People learn in different ways and have different needs. But if you look some of the options that follow, perhaps you'll find a few that fit. And if not, new coding resources appear daily, or so it seems.

It's worth making a distinction here between beginner-to-intermediate programming, a level useful to individuals and businesses and attainable through personal inquiry, and advanced programming that requires a solid foundation in mathematics, computer science, or other specialized fields. If you want to create your own browser, programming language, or machine learning system, you'll probably be better off enrolling in a reputable computer science program than trying to cobble the necessary skillset together through online tutorials.

I taught myself BASIC in the 1980s but decided in college that I liked writing for people better than writing for machines. Following the advent of the iPhone, I decided to get back into programming in 2009 using Corona SDK, a Lua-based game development framework. I chose it because it allowed me to write apps that could be built for both iOS and Android devices.

A few years later, I tried a Python course at Marakana, a San Francisco-based training company subsequently bought by Twitter. But it wasn't until I started practicing on a more regular basis with Codecademy and Learn Python the Hard Way that I felt I was making progress.

Since then, I've tried Thinkful, Code School, Coursera, General Assembly's Dash, and Udacity. Treehouse is next on my list. And I have high hopes for CheckiO's Empire of Code, a real-time strategy game based on coding.

What follows are a few of what, in my opinion, are the best educational options out there to reach a moderate level of skill as a programmer. Feel free to tell us about others you'd recommend in the comments section below.

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

1 of 11
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
12/11/2015 | 2:31:17 PM
First Windows program
I have enough experience with Fortran and C.  But now I'd like to write some Windows apps.  I started working on C# for that purpose but the MS tutorial / programs didn't seem to work and it became a bit too much trouble to figure out what was going on.  Was that a good choice?  Is there a best place to learn?  Is there a better language choice?  etc. 

User Rank: Ninja
7/14/2015 | 9:14:31 PM
I'm gonna give a try to GA Dash. Looks neat. Thanks for the article. Never is too late to learn something.
User Rank: Apprentice
7/7/2015 | 3:46:49 AM
Can you please review codeavengers.com
I have read a lot of reviews saying that codeavengers.com is a great place to learn how to code, have you or anyone personally had a go at this site? would love to know what you think and whether its worth paying for.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll