Self-Made Society: Learn To Code Websites With These 3 Resources


Since mentioning that I developed Made Vibrant with my own HTML/CSS knowledge (spoiler for anyone tuning in – I’m NOT a professional developer), I’ve had a few people ask about good resources for learning how to code so I thought I’d share how I learned here on the blog.

First let me just say – there’s no right or wrong way to learn something. If you have the will, I truly believe you’ll make it happen. Plus, everyone learns differently. So you may find that the following resources aren’t for you. Maybe it’s better for you to get a “Coding For Dummies” book or to pay a developer friend to sit down with you and teach you in person. Please keep in mind as you read, this is just person’s opinion and one way to learn. That said, here are the three resources that helped me learn what I know now:

1. Codecademy - “Learn to code interactively for free.”

Why it’s awesome: Umm… hi, IT’S FREE. So if you’re not sure you’ll even like learning to code, this is a great place to start. It’s also highly interactive and fun! My favorite part is how they have the interface setup – lesson on the left and code editor on the right. So for every little section that you learn, you can test it out right in the unit and then see what it would look like in a browser.

Limitations: While they have a variety of programming languages to learn (HTML & CSS, JavaScript, PHP etc.) there’s something about the depth of information that doesn’t feel complete. I also find it difficult to navigate through sometimes to get to the various units I want to go through.

How I use it: This was the very first place I went to start trying to code and I think it’s a great option if you’re the type that just likes to dive in. Also, if I want to learn the basics of a new language pretty quickly, this is where I’ll head. (For instance, I’ll probably head there to learn basic JavaScript next.)

2. Treehouse - “Learn how to build websites & apps, write code or start a business.”

Why it’s awesome: It’s super user-friendly, extremely in-depth and well-designed. I like how they have beginning courses for all the programming languages and then a “Deep Dive” course where they describe different parts of the language in-depth. I also like how they try to make it kind of geeky and fun at the same time by theming each unit as a different “adventure” and showing you these progressive cheesy videos once you complete a unit. (As the girl whose service offerings are named after dogs, I appreciate any subtle touches that bring an element of fun.) I can say without a doubt that I would not have been able to create Made Vibrant as I wanted to without my subscription to Treehouse.

Limitations: It’s paid. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial though to decide if it’s something you might want to do, then it’s about $25/month after that. Also, it’s time intensive. Every section within every unit has multiple video tutorials + code challenges and quizzes throughout so it’s definitely a commitment.

How I use it: This might just be because I came upon Treehouse after I had already been using Codecademy, but I really like that sequence for learning. Codecademy made me feel comfortable and gave me some context with HTML + CSS, and then Treehouse was helpful in getting into the nitty gritty.

3. W3Schools - “The world’s largest web development site.”

Why it’s awesome: It’s basically like an encyclopedia of coding terms and code examples with a ton of resources.

Limitations: It’s kind of ugly. (Just being honest here.) There’s lots of crummy ad links and sponsored BS and it’s very text-heavy so it feels a little bit like shopping at Marshalls – ya gotta wade through a lot of crap to find a few gems, but when you do, it’s totally worth it.

How I use it: I use it solely as a reference guide. Sometimes I get confused on my selectors or can’t remember the specific way to write a line of code (as you find out, if you mess up one character the whole line won’t be recognized!) so I’ll use this site to look up a ton of stuff.

4. Honorable mention: Skillshare

I’ve never taken a web development course on Skillshare, but I do love Skillshare in general for learning things because the human element of an “instructor” plus the practical application of starting a project helps you apply what you learn.

** Sign-up for Skillshare using this personal referral link and get $10 off your first class! (Full disclosure: I also get $10 off a class – we both win!) **

There you have it! I hope some of you out there who have thought about trying it out will feel a little less intimidated now.  I’m actually thinking of starting an email list so that someone could get these tips, tricks and resources sent straight to their inbox. Any interest? Eh? Eh? Either way, I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments and would love to hear if you have any ideas for the next installment of “Self-Made Society.”

Happy Learning!


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