Becoming The Self Taught Coder

Self Taught Coder

Have you ever wanted to know how to code, but don’t know where to start? Maybe for a career change, or just a side hobby? Maybe you would like your own website, or app? Even if you have the slightest bit of curiosity, there are plenty of resources around the web to help you get started, you just need to know where to look.

Learning to code can seem daunting and figuring out where to start can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with this field. I am completely self taught and can understand the nervousness about getting started. However, I started with a non-technical background and can tell you it is much less daunting than it seems, especially if you use the right resources.

Where to get started:

There are many great resources on the web to help you learn to code and I have listed my personal favorites here. Keep in mind, that by no means are these the only ones out there, these are what have worked best for me and I think they are a great place to get started.

Codecademy is where I started and if you have no experience I would recommend this site as a place to jump off from. It is completely free , so there is no monetary commitment, and is a great place to get your hands dirty and play around with some code. Their courses are offered in coding challenges that walk you through each step as you progress through the content.




Currently they have course tracks for HTML, CSS,  JavaScript, jQuery, Python, Ruby, and PHP. More than enough to keep you busy, while you get started.

CodeSchool is another great resource for learning web development, which I used briefly with no complaints. It is a paid subscription based site, for $29 a month. This site breaks their courses down into “paths” focused on the following specific topics HTML, CSS, JavaScript, iOS, Git, Ruby, and Electives.




The course content on this site is built around videos, coding challenges, and screencasts in their paths, covering everything from fundamentals of web development and design to tools like GitHub, and Google Maps for iOS.

Treehouse is by far my favorite site and it is where I spend most of my time. They have enough courses and tracks available to keep  both the beginner and more experienced coder busy. This site is subscription based, and is priced around $25 a month for their basic subscription.




This site offers “tracks” and will walk you through the courses you need to know for specific fields so you aren’t left wondering what to learn next. Examples of these tracks include front end development, web design, iOS and Android development, WordPress development, etc. I have spent countless hours on this site and never run out of things to learn. They are great about staying updated and are constantly adding new content. This includes numerous videos and code challenges spanning a multitude of topics, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, iOS, Android, Python, Ruby, Java, WordPress, Business, Design, Development Tools, and the newly added Digital Literacy. They also offer a pro subscription for $49 a month with additional features such as workshops and conference videos.

Level up while learning to code. I will admit that I do not have much experience with CodeCombat, but I really enjoy their unique approach. This site turns learning into a level based game, with each code command your character progresses through the level.




This site offers a free basic subscription with around 60+ levels, focusing mainly on Python, JavaScript, and CoffeeScript. From there they offer a more advanced subscription for $9.99 a month with additional levels, skills, and video tutorials.

W3Schools is a great site to use as a reference point, however I certainly imagine that it would be possible to learn from this site alone. It covers basic tutorials for web development language and tools. I use it frequently for refreshers on specific language elements and how they behave.




This site is free and is not subscription based. It offers tutorials and references on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, and jQuery.

Get Coding

Finally you will need one last thing, motivation. Becoming a self taught coder is not something that will happen overnight. It will take patience, trial and error, and then some more patience to slowly chip away and chisel out your new skill.

More and more people are teaching themselves with tools and resources like these. It is possible to find successful careers in technical fields, such as web development, without formal a education in these fields. Don’t get me wrong here, it is excellent to have a Computer Science degree in your back pocket, I wish I did. However that is not an option for everyone, and these resources offer you an alternative route.

If you are willing to put in the time and effort into learning these skills, you wont be disappointed. Once you have put some time into it, show off your skills with projects you build, network, and collaborate with others. Remember, stay motivated, keep at it, and everything else will follow.


I would love any feedback, suggestions, or constructive criticism. So feel free to let me know what you think!

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  1. I have personally used a few of these resources and I would totally agree that these are great resources for someone to get into. Same as you Danielle, my top choice here is Treehouse.

    For someone who just wants to test the waters, I’d suggest using Codecademy first since it’s free. Once you’ve decided that you’d like to really get into web dev, mobile dev or general programming, then I’d suggest moving up to Treehouse.

  2. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who has
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    me dinner simply because I found it for him… lol.

    So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
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