Get Schooled: Online Education for Web Developers (and Noobs!)

Anyone who works in technology knows their world is ever evolving. Not only do existing languages, frameworks, and platforms constantly evolve, brand new ones are born daily. No one can be an expert in everything, but it’s important to follow the trends, figure out what you need to know, and learn it. Gotta keep those skills fresh. To this end, there are a lot of resources in online education for web developers (and noobs!) popping up. Here are a few standouts:

Codecademy

codecademy's tutorial interface

codecademy’s tutorial interface.

Codecademy is a website that teaches the basics of JavaScript, HTML/CSS, PHP, Python, Ruby; as well as how to create and use APIs. It takes a hands-on learning approach, guiding you through writing code yourself, using a cloud-based online editor that they provide. For those that learn by doing, this site is highly recommended. Their service is free, and you can sign up for an account if you would like to track your progress or save your work. In their own words:

Codecademy is an education company. But not one in the way you might think. We’re committed to building the best learning experience inside and out, making Codecademy the best place for our team to learn, teach, and create the online learning experience of the future.

Treehouse

Treehouse's tutorial interface.

Treehouse’s tutorial interface.

Treehouse offers an extensive series of video-based classes, emphasizing tracks in web design and development, iOS and Android development, and WordPress development. Their online classes cover multiple technologies, and they integrate marketing and business strategies into the lessons. Basic monthly subscriptions are $25. In their own words:

Our mission is to bring affordable Technology education to people everywhere, in order to help them achieve their dreams and change the world.

Code School

Code School's tutorial interface.

Code School’s tutorial interface.

Code School offers a library of courses with a ‘learn by doing’ platform; as well as screencasts, with specialized paths that cover JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Ruby on Rails, iOS, Git, Backbone.js, Sass, Jquery, and more. Some courses and screencasts are free, but full-access subscriptions are $29 per month. In their own words:

Most people don’t learn to program and design for the web by reading a book. Real learning takes place when you start experimenting with code in the browser and using design concepts in a website. In our opinion, the best way to learn is by doing. Code School opens the door to a new way of learning by combining video, coding in the browser, and gamification to make learning a new technology fun!

Honorable Mention:

  • Coursera: An online education platform that partners with universities and organizations worldwide to offer free courses in a wide variety of subjects, including computer science.
  • Code Avengers: A free introduction to programming and coding websites by learning to create games, apps, and websites.
  • Khan Academy: Free video tutorials designed originally for grade school students, but now offers materials and resources for all ages.
  • Udacity: Rigorous coursework covering projects like how to build a search engine. Coaching guidance and certifications offered. Enrollment is not free, but some coursework is available for free.
  • Tutsplus: In depth and quality tutorials on a range of technical and creative topics. Some free content and subscription fee access to all content.

Which is right for you? Are you a visual learner or do you prefer hands-on work? Your background knowledge, desired skills, learning style, budget, and available time are all factors to consider. We recommend trying them all to see what suits you best. Each subscription service even offers a free trial; so, you can take them for a spin before committing.

Happy learning!

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