We are in the midst of a digital era of design. From websites to apps to wearables, understanding how digital design is written and comes together is increasingly important. That’s where learning and understanding code comes in. Your don’t have to be a star programmer, but every designer should have some basic knowledge of HTML and more to understand how the design will be implemented in a digital project.
And code is something you can learn yourself. While some may prefer the traditional classroom route, there are a great number of resources online to help you learn the basics (and even some advanced techniques) starting today. What’s even better is that many of these resources are free. Some even come in the form of games to expedite learning in a fun way.
Understanding code really is a logical and practical skill for today’s designer. It might even be one that future designers can’t be successful without. Here is a collection of great places you can learn code right now:
Online Courses to Learn Code
Code Avengers is designed for people who want to learn code and put it in action. Courses last 12 hours each – you can start and stop – with a goal of having the tools to create mobile applications, games or websites. As you work through the lessons, you are actually creating working, usable products.
One of the neat features about this program is that it includes tutoring help; so if you get stuck, there’s help.
Treehouse, which once featured the popular Code Racer coding game, helps users learn to build websites and apps while writing their own code. The resources include more than 1,000 videos created experts on web design, coding and business. The library is updated regularly.
Made w/ Code
Made w/ Code is about as much fun as you can have learning to code. The Google-sponsored project includes a film and plenty of small lessons to build specific elements using code. Each of the projects is a lesson in creativity, starting with animating a yeti on-screen. The Made w/ Code program also hosts live events and workshops in communities all over the world that participants are invited to attend.
Mother Coders is a program designed specifically for moms to learn basic computer programming, expand their understanding of the technology landscape and network with peers and industry professionals. The curriculum takes participants through lessons in code – HTML, CSS, UX and web design – while helping them create a network of other emerging coders.
Skillcrush is designed to help you boost code skills to become more employable. The program is divided into “blueprints” – web designer, web developer, freelance WordPress developer — for specific skillsets. (Or you can start with a 10-day bootcamp to see if the program is for you.) These are live courses so you will have to keep watch for openings as they become available.
Stanford University’s Udacity
Stanford University’s Udacity program makes some of its introductory computer course available for free online, including Introduction to Computer Science. This structured program takes about three months to finish and will help you learn key computer science concepts by building your own versions of popular web applications.
One of the key takeaways from this course is a mastery of Python.
For some of us, the best start to learning code might be by playing a game. That’s where CodeCombat comes in. The animated coding game is a good place for beginners to start without felling intimidated by a course or structured program. This game will help you understand the basics of how coding works before you jump in to a bigger coding education program.
5 More Resources
There are a variety of other internationally recognized programs that pop up at various times. While many of these programs are aimed at specific demographics, they are a great way to learn to code (or get involved in teaching code if you already have the skills).
- CoderDojo is a global network of free programming classes for kids.
- Girl Develop It empowers women to learn how to develop software.
- Intel Computer Clubhouse Network includes locations in 20 countries that help youth learn to code.
- Ladies Learning Code is a Canadian-based group that helps teach beginner coding in a friendly environment.
- Pyladies is an international mentorship group with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community.