Learning Programming for Free in 2024: 6 Websites to Check Out

In the modern world, people can switch careers several times during a lifetime. And going for an IT-related profession, for example, becoming a software developer, makes a lot of sense. Among the upsides of this job, there’s no need to get a university diploma, you can study online and practice coding for free.

Where can you do it? And how can you make the most of your learning?

Is It Really So Rewarding

A developer’s job can bring a sense of accomplishment and a pleasant feeling of doing something important. Also, programmers were, are, and will be in high demand despite temporary fluctuations in the job market we could see in 2024. If we turn to statistical data, the trend is obviously growing.

For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to increase by 25% between 2022 and 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. With this rate, only in the U.S., we can expect about 153,900 new job openings annually.

Software Developers Graph

Number of software developers worldwide in 2018 to 2024. Source: Statista.

Also, according to Robert Half Technology’s 2024 IT salary report, 61% of hiring managers plan to expand their teams in 2024. It means that companies will fight for valuable candidates.

But is this trend local or global? According to Statista, the number of developers worldwide will reach 28.7 million in 2024. It’s 3.2 million more than in 2020. China is among this race’s leaders, with a 6-8% growth rate. So, the trend is global, after all.

A developer’s job is rewarding in terms of money as well. For instance, in 2023, the average annual salary of a back-end developer was $165,000 in the USA, and an average front-end developer earned $140,000.

Therefore, becoming a programmer makes sense for many reasons. But no matter your reasons, you can benefit from the tips on where and how to learn.

How to Start

Usually, the first step for beginners is choosing a programming language they want to pursue and learn some theory (watching videos, reading books and articles). But here comes a common trap: if you spend too much time at this stage, you may lose initial motivation and quit studying.

To prevent it, you should start coding as soon as possible.

Writing code isn’t just about reading or watching theoretical lessons, it’s about constant training, solving many tasks, and, ideally, repeating it daily. But where to practice so it isn’t dull and doesn’t cost you a fortune? Here are some places to go:

CodeGym

CodeGym is a platform designed for anyone learning programming, from beginners to experienced users. It offers a diverse set of tasks to apply your programming knowledge. The best part? You can have as much coding practice as you want, absolutely free! The tasks cover fundamental concepts like commands, conditions, “if” statements, data types, loops, arrays, methods, strings, and more. In essence, it’s an opportunity to improve your coding skills and receive instant feedback with automatic solutions verification for each exercise. Additionally, there are handy links to related theory that can help you bridge any gaps in your programming knowledge that may surface during your task-solving journey.

CodeHS

This website contains hundreds of exercises categorized by language, topic, and difficulty levels. Users earn points for solving problems. For instance, if you write code that calculates the area of a circle, you’ll get three points. You can choose the difficulty level that suits you the most and then move to higher levels of complexity. Also, coding directly in a browser is an advantage of this platform.

Edabit

This coding platform presents various coding challenges tailored to different programming languages and levels of complexity. For example, convert age to days or calculate the perimeter of a rectangle. Each task comes with a detailed explanation so that even beginners won’t feel overwhelmed. That’s the core idea of this website: offer users bite-sized challenges and help them study regularly without losing motivation. It’s all about learning in manageable chunks!

CodeChef

On this website, you can practice topics like input, output and arithmetic, conditionals, and debugging. Some tasks are simple, like writing a program that takes a number N as the input and prints it to the output. Also, there’s a more creative task called Chef and Instant Noodles. You have to count how many customers the chef can serve in Y minutes if the restaurant has X stoves, instant noodles take 1 minute to cook, and every customer orders one portion of them. If you experience trouble finding solutions, you can always turn to hints or solutions written by other users.

Codingame

It’s a place to have fun while learning to code. There are tasks in different programming languages, and once you’ve chosen the one you want to learn, you start playing/studying. There are solo and multiplayer games, and you can immediately see how the code you’ve just written works. If you like video games, you can find this way of learning exciting.

LeetCode

This website offers tasks ranging from easy to hard, covering a spectrum of topics like algorithms, databases, and more. You’re not confined to a single language; feel free to showcase your solutions in various programming languages. Working on your coding skills on this platform can elevate your problem-solving proficiency to new heights.

What Are the Keys to Productive Learning?

Becoming a developer is an ambitious goal. But to make this goal achievable, you must divide it into more specific steps and follow them. Here are some common mistakes people make when learning to code and tips on preventing them:

  1. Lack of plan. Learning programming takes at least several months, and for finding a job, add some more. If you don’t have a study plan, it’s easy to get lost in all the topics you need to learn. So, start with a plan. What topics do you need to learn before looking for a job? How much time can you dedicate to studying every week? Having a plan and goal for every month, every week, and even every study session is beneficial. In this case, you’ll feel more in control over the learning process.

  2. Lack of discipline. Unfortunately, even if you have a good plan, there’s no guarantee you’ll stick to it. Sometimes, life events get in the way, and sometimes, you just procrastinate instead of studying. How do we overcome this issue? For some people, having a reward is enough to keep going, and some need the help of others (for example, a mentor or a study buddy). Find out what works for you!

  3. Lack of motivation. If you’re experiencing a sudden drop in motivation, ask yourself, what’s the problem? Is your goal clear enough? Does it really drive you? If necessary, revisit your goal. And if the problem isn’t the goal, the lack of motivation may be caused by sporadic studying sessions. In this case, try to study as often as you can. Then your memory will stay fresh, and it will be easier to start the next lesson.

  4. Lack of understanding. Sometimes, we try to memorize instead of comprehending ideas or concepts. But programming is often about thinking out of the box and solving tasks creatively rather than just remembering things. So, don’t look for shortcuts; try to dig deeper.

  5. Lack of reflection. How’s your progress? Are you satisfied with it? What have you done well, and what actions need improvement? From time to time, hit a pause and ask yourself these questions. It will make your studying more productive.

Conclusion

Starting a new career isn’t a piece of cake; it is like a huge cake that sometimes seems impossible to eat. But if you cut it into pieces, take your time, and keep your motivation up, anything is possible.

So if you’re up for the challenge, take a look at the websites listed above, read our articles, as well as others. Try to consume as much information as possible. However, if you start feeling overwhelmed, take a break and come back.

Happy coding!

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