How do I learn to code?
Learning how to code is a 21st-century skill that enables humans to communicate with computers. Through code, programmers can tell a computer what actions to take, and in what order and circumstances. It is similar to giving a chef a recipe or a teacher a lesson plan.Footnote 1
Clear, robust code can be used as an industry-changing tool and a creative outlet. Computer science is prevalent across all fields and is one of the building blocks for designing solutions to pressing societal issues. Some of the possibilities with programming include:
Building and styling web pages and mobile apps.
Designing and implementing video games.
Creating algorithms to predict financial, health, and retail trends or needs.
Developing software that integrates programmable devices into everyday life, such as automatic vacuums and self-checkout lines.
To learn coding, you will need similar skills to those needed for learning a new language. It requires memorization, practice, and fluency. You can start your journey for free with edX, and build that fluency into real-world innovations.
Browse online coding courses and programs
Stand out in your fieldUse the knowledge and skills you have gained to drive impact at work and grow your career.
Learn at your own paceOn your computer, tablet or phone, online courses make learning flexible to fit your busy life.
Earn a valuable credentialShowcase your key skills and valuable knowledge.
Learn computer coding for beginners
Other popular programming languages to help build applications include Python, C programming, and Java. What is the best coding language to learn? Choosing a beginning coding language depends on what you want to build, the kind of data you have access to, and your intended end user. For example, C# and Java are popular languages for app development.Footnote 2 However, someone focusing on iOS app development may find Swift more suitable because it is specifically designed for Apple products.
Once you've made decisions about your path, you can build your skills in both coding and programming through edX courses. Learning HTML basics or Python can be a good starting place. Other skills and technical tools, such as SQL and React, can also open up potential career opportunities.
Learn to code online with coding classes
Online coding classes and courses are available from a variety of institutions. There are also coding boot camps online. Coding classes build skills that allow you to develop applications and projects, from programming with Scratch to building your first iOS app. Free online coding courses can be an excellent way to understand the basics before committing to a particular track.
Computer coding course curriculum
An introductory-level online coding course for students with no prior experience can cover basic coding syntax, algorithms, loops, and logic. These classes may also teach learners about how computer software works and the basics of computer hardware, including chips, the Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory, disks, and more.
More advanced coding courses can focus on complex applications of these languages to real-world problems and industries. For example, an advanced Python course may cover language-specific packages for completing data analysis and building machine learning algorithms.
Explore coding jobs
Learning to code can open the door for careers in fields such as software engineering and computer programming. The fourth industrial revolution will play out in cyberspace and building the know-how to navigate through the virtual space can give learners the building blocks for creating real-world solutions.Footnote 3 With a growing number of free online tutorials, open source materials and online coding courses available, there are numerous opportunities to learn to code.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology occupations, including coding jobs, are expected to grow.Footnote 4 But, like all jobs, a typical coding salary will vary depending on your specific job, employer, geographic location and experience.
How to become a coder
To become a coder, you will need a basic knowledge of a programming language and its syntax. Once you know how to code in one language, it can become easier to learn others. There are many online coding boot camps, courses and classes that can help you learn to code.
If your ultimate goal is to become a computer programmer or software developer, you'll not only need to understand how to work with programming languages, but also how to create and work with algorithms, design websites, debug and test your code, and manage projects. Developing complex systems and software programs requires problem solving, critical thinking and analytical skills.
Earning an online bachelor’s in computer and data science degree can help learners acquire these skills, as can a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in a related field. Before committing to a program, review the course curriculum to determine if it will meet your needs. edX also offers a range of professional certifications and boot camps that can complement existing education in the field and build new skills.