Best Free Programming Resources & Tutorials

Computer programming is a highly versatile skill that offers numerous job opportunities across various industries. Knowing how to code not only offers the ability to design interactive websites, create computer games, and build mobile apps, but also empowers the automation of repetitive tasks, advanced statistical analysis, and the maintenance of large databases.

Key Insights

  • Computer programming involves writing coded instructions that allow software programs and applications to perform specific tasks, using languages such as Python, C++, and JavaScript.
  • With programming skills, you can design websites, create computer games and mobile apps, automate tasks, perform advanced statistical analysis, and maintain large databases.
  • There are thousands of coding languages, and coding is expected to become as essential as reading in the future.
  • Free resources like GitHub, MIT Open Courseware, Codeacademy, edX, Coursera, and Udemy are available for beginners to learn programming.
  • Noble Desktop, located in Manhattan, offers a range of programming courses for beginners and advanced coders, providing hands-on training in small class settings.
  • Careers in programming include Full Stack Web Developer, JavaScript Developer, Data Scientist, and Python Engineer, with extensive opportunities across non-tech fields as well.

Plenty of professionals are eager to learn programming. Still, they hesitate because of the perceived up-front costs. The good news is that most popular programming languages are free to use. In addition, many free resources exist and are available to help beginners get the hang of computer programming.

Read on to learn more about several free resources and tutorials available to help you learn programming. 

What is Programming?

Computer programming is writing coded instructions that communicate to a computer, software program, or application you’d like for it to perform a specific task. Programmers write code to create these instructions to find solutions to different issues and ensure that different software programs and apps will operate successfully. This process often involves devising strategies to enhance code to implement organizational initiatives more effectively. Most programmers work with various coding languages, such as Python, C++, and JavaScript. Typically, Computer Programmers perform various daily tasks: writing code, updating software programs to address security vulnerabilities or fix bugs, writing and testing code for apps and programs, troubleshooting code to spot errors, and translating existing code from one programming language to another. It’s a job that is ever-changing. The field of computer programming continues to grow in popularity as Programmers find new ways to communicate more effectively with computers. Programming has changed drastically over the past century. Initially, programmers used punch cards containing rows of numbers read by a machine. Now, it incorporates drag-and-drop interfaces and other methods that allow for much faster programming speed. Although some individuals use the terms “programming” and “coding” interchangeably, the two are slightly different by definition. Programming is a mental process that requires creating the instructions given to a computer. In contrast, coding pertains to translating those instructions into a written language understandable to a computer. Read more about what programming is and why you should learn it.

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What Can You Do with Programming?

Computer programming is a versatile skill with various uses across industries and professions. Because we rely so much on computers for daily tasks, those who know how to program have many job opportunities. 

The following are a few items you can do with a background in programming:

  • Programmers who know languages such as JavaScript, CSS, or HTML can design interactive websites for clients.
  • Individuals with advanced programming skills are needed to create computer games, a popular form of entertainment for many. 
  • Mobile apps are more popular than ever as cell phones become more widely used for everyday tasks like banking and navigating. Those who know how to program can create mobile apps to simplify these tasks.
  • Repetitive work tasks can take many hours of tedious work to complete. However, with the help of automation, they can be instructed to work independently to complete said tasks. Programming skills make it possible to automate tasks like posting on social media, controlling the thermostat at home, or sending emails.
  • Programming with R or Python allows users to incorporate advanced statistical analysis into analytical or research tasks. 
  • With programming, it is possible to build or maintain large databases. Programmers use languages such as SQL or PHP to use and maintain extensive databases.
  • Those who work in the field of data science rely on programming to perform tasks such as developing models that can make predictions based on data insights.

Facts About Computer Programming

Nearly every technology we rely on for daily tasks is powered by code. While most people have a basic understanding of computer programming, much information about this important discipline isn’t common knowledge. The following are some programming facts that may surprise you:

  • There are thousands of coding languages. Although the exact number of coding languages in use is unknown, the Online Historical Encyclopedia of Programming Languages claims that people have created nearly 9,000 coding languages. Some reports place this number much lower (250-2,500). In America, there are only about 350 spoken languages. Thus, coding languages are much more common than spoken ones.
  • Coding is expected to become as essential as reading. When most people think of literacy, they imagine reading and writing with traditional letters or characters as the primary communication forms. However, this definition will likely broaden in the coming years. In the future, technical literacy with coding is expected to play a crucial role in daily life, perhaps even as important as literacy has been over the past several centuries. 
  • NASA has been working on some programming projects since the 1970s. While most Programmers are fluent in common languages like C++ or JavaScript, NASA Engineers continue to use a programming language from 1973, HAL/S, created exclusively for their needs. First created to program onboard computers, its use broadened since it is general enough to be used across other NASA projects. 
  • The first Computer Programmer was the daughter of a famous poet. Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, understood that machines could do much more than simply perform calculations. She created the first algorithm and helped design the automatic mechanical digital computer called the Analytical Engine.
  • Binary is 0s and 1s. Computers use binary code to operate, meaning software run on computers is written entirely in a series of 0s and 1s, which can be combined in infinite ways.
  • Coding isn’t only for tech fields. It’s a common misconception that coding is only used in IT jobs. However, in 2020, nearly three-quarters of coding jobs are in unrelated technology fields. Coding has a range of applications in other industries, such as academia and healthcare.
  • Women operated the first computer. The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) first fired-up in 1945. Employees used it to compute ballistics trajectories during the Second World War. This computer was the first electronic, programmable, general-purpose digital computer. Six women operated ENIAC by studying the machine’s structure, logic, circuitry, and operations. Operating ENIAC required manually manipulating cables and switches based on the machine’s blueprints since inventors had not created the earliest programming language yet.

Free Resources to Help You Learn Programming

Before you commit to a structured in-person or live online programming class, you may want to explore this topic to see if it’s a good match. Many free resources are available from reputable educational providers. The following are a few options you may consider exploring to help you learn computer programming:

  • GitHub is an excellent resource for Developers interested in collaborating to share their coding knowledge, as well as how they build software and manage projects. This site is used by more than 30 million Developers and includes many programming languages and a coding camp in which programming basics are covered.
  • MIT Open Courseware is geared toward those who want coding instruction beyond the basics. This free courseware site has a range of classes, such as Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python, as well as courses that focus entirely on one language, like C, C++, MatLab, or Java.
  • Codeacademy is a popular site that has helped nearly 50 million people learn to code. This educational company offers free content on various programming languages like Bash/Shell, Ruby, C++, SQL, HTML, and JavaScript.
  • edX is an open-source learning platform founded in 2012 by MIT and Harvard University. Over a decade later, this platform provides course options from 53 schools. For those seeking a beginner-friendly overview of computer science, edX’s Introduction to Computer Science is a popular option available from Harvard.
  • Coursera began in 2012 as a for-profit educational-technology company that provided over a thousand courses from more than 100 institutions. Today, those interested in learning computer programming through Coursera can choose whether to pay for a program and receive a certificate upon successful completion or take a free beginner-friendly programming course offered by universities like Stanford or the University of Washington.
  • Udemy is an online learning platform that helps Programmers acquire job skills. Similar to Coursera, Udemy provides both for-pay and free coding classes. 
  • AGupieWare, an independent app developer, models its free course offerings from some of the most reputable institutions in America, such as Columbia and Carnegie Mellon University. A total of 15 courses are available: three beginner-level, seven core classes, and five electives. 
  • Noble Desktop, an educational provider located in Manhattan, provides a range of free coding articles on its Blog & Learn Coding page. Content is available on topics such as the benefits of learning to code, the most common questions Programmers have about JavaScript, the best way to learn to code, and coding skills for IT. 

Key Insights

  • Computer programming is translating human language into a set of written instructions that a computing device or system can interpret. A computer program then translates these instructions into a language that computers understand.
  • If you’re not ready to enroll in a coding class that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars, you may wish to explore the excellent free programming resources available from Coursera, Udemy, MIT Open Courseware, and edX.
  • It’s estimated that nearly 9,000 programming languages have been created. Some believe learning to code will become as popular and common as learning to read.
  • If you’re interested in getting started with computer programming or improving your existing coding skills, Noble Desktop’s in-person and live online courses are an excellent resource. 

Learn Programming with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop, an educational provider, located in Manhattan, offers a range of programming courses for those new to this field and individuals with more advanced coding skills. Noble’s bootcamps and certificates provide hands-on programming training in the small class setting and are an excellent option for those who want to take their programming skills to the next level.

Those wishing to pursue a career as a Full Stack Web Developer, explore Noble’s in-person and live online Full-Stack Web Development Certificate since it presents a high-level learning opportunity. Instruction is provided on both front end web development and back end programming. Participants in this rigorous course learn CSS, JavaScript, and HTML. In addition, instruction is provided on using Git to track code changes. Those enrolled also create dynamic web apps using Node.js and React. For those who want to study the most widely used programming language, Noble’s JavaScript Development Certificate is for you. This intensive certificate program teaches students how to use JavaSript to design websites, build web applications, and create database-driven apps.

Noble also offers a Data Science Certificate for those interested in becoming Data Scientists. This hands-on program provides mentoring, as well as hands-on training, from industry experts. Instruction is provided on core data science skills, such as creating machine learning models, using SQL to query databases, and performing data analysis using Python. Tuition includes the option of a free class retake for up to one year, as well as one-on-one mentoring.

Noble also offers an in-person and live online Python Developer Certificate for those who want to work with Python. Those who enroll in this certificate receive hands-on instruction on fundamental Python programming skills, like using Django for Python software development and working with Django REST, SQL, and Git. This training is designed to prepare students to become Back End Developers, Software Engineers, or Python Engineers

How to Learn Programming

Master programming with hands-on training. Programming with Python, JavaScript, or another popular coding language is a crucial skill to have for many tech career fields, including data science, web development, and software engineering.

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