Web Dev 101: Learning Resources for Coding Languages

Spring is inching ever closer here on Purdue’s campus. Though temperatures are on a downswing this week, students are gearing up to head off to warmer climes: spring break starts this Friday for Purdue. Therefore, I will not be posting next week and will return the week following when classes resume on March 20.

If you happen to have my luck, the week-long hiatus from school does not equate to a trip to the beach. And, unfortunately, next week’s forecast doesn’t promise much spring-like weather. That means there will likely be a lot of “inside time” in the near future. What better way is there to spend that time than learning some new web development skills?

In my first two posts in the Web Dev 101 series I covered some software basics and front-end coding languages. Now, with an impending week of relative freedom, I’ll offer some resources to guide you through learning those front-end languages.

There are countless ways to learn to code online—many of which are free—all from the comfort of your living room sofa. In my absence next week, take the opportunity to choose one or two of the resources below and get started as a web developer.

YouTube

If you remember the anecdote in my first post about how I got started as a web developer, you know that YouTube was the key to my success. YouTube is a invaluable wealth of knowledge on a plethora of topics, and web development certainly is not excluded from that list. A quick search of “learn web development” yields over 3,000,000 results.

Admittedly, not every video is going to be the Holy Grail of learning tools, but I’d venture to say that you can learn a great deal even by just choosing several videos at random. To get started, though, I would recommend finding a series of videos produced by one or a team of individuals. These are likely to be more structured and informative than a long list of single videos. Try filtering your search results by “playlist.”

Here’s one good series to try out. It has a list of 46 relatively short videos that give an overview of various languages and techniques.

Online Coding Platforms

There are several options under this category available for developers on a budget. I myself have utilized two different platforms to learn various coding languages: Codecademy and Free Code Camp. Both are free and offer short courses on several languages. Learners type their code directly into a text editor in the browser. The platform then checks your code and gives feedback on any errors.

Codecademy offers more languages to learn, and its courses are a bit more in-depth. Free Code Camp, however, has predesigned projects to complete and an online community for help. Give both a try to get all the benefits.

Virtual “Academies”

Udemy is one online learning platform that I have used before. They offer a number of free and paid video courses developed by individuals on a variety of different topics from programming and design to marketing and foreign languages. Try searching for a coding language of your choice and then filtering the results by “free.”

Practice Projects

For intermediate programmers who already know some code but are looking for a way to grow your skills, try re-developing an existing webpage. Challenge yourself by choosing from a high-quality website with complex animations like Apple or Nike. Use pictures downloaded from their site to save time, and only look at the source code if you’re stuck.

If you’re really looking to push your creative abilities and build your development skills, instead of just duplicating the code, try redesigning the site’s homepage and then coding your new design. You’ll impress yourself with how much you can learn through hands-on projects like these.


Best of luck while exploring your next front-end language, and don’t forget to take advantage of the communities on Stack Overflow if you’re having trouble finding a solution to a problem.

Be sure to look for my next post during the week of March 20.

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