A Word of Encouragement
Learning computer programming languages can feel overwhelming, especially because there is no shortage of websites, courses and instructors that claim they can teach you how to code. Today, there are actually too many options, and when it’s time to learn something new, the amount of information and products can make you feel like you’re drowning.
If you can relate, don’t worry. You are in good company. Most people who have successfully learned programming languages during the digital age, including me, have experienced the level of overwhelm and frustration that you’re feeling, and this is where I feel I can help.
I have spent thousands of dollars on my programming education because I really wanted to learn. I have been fortunate to be able to participate in high-end nanodegree programs through Udacity where the mentors really took an interest in me and helped me achieve a high level of success with the projects I worked on. That said, I recognize that not everyone has a lot of money to spend on their education, and I have purchased plenty of lower-priced courses as well.
There is no one course that is perfect for everyone, and this is one of the reasons why my guest bloggers and I review a range of low-, mid- and high-end courses and services. Whether you have 12 USD or thousands of dollars to spend on your education, I am confident that I can help you find the right course.
As I have said many times, there are only two things you need to learn how to code: the right courses and the right mindset. I can direct you to the right courses for you, but you need to bring the right mindset. So, are you ready to work at it and upgrade your skills so that you can land a great job? If so, then that’s awesome, and you’re ready to read about the various options below.
If, at any time, you have any questions about how to determine if a course, specialization or membership is right for you, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to help you in any way I can.
Udemy courses are an amazing option if you’re not sure you want to go more deeply into a topic. While they have many courses that are priced above 200 USD, they run sales frequently, allowing you to purchase in-depth courses with 20+ hours of content for as little as 12 – 15 USD during certain times of the month. When I want to learn more about a technical topic and am not sure if I want to spend hundreds of dollars to learn about it, I like to try it out on Udemy.
I have also found that some of the instructors on Udemy are great. There are Udemy course creators who have 20+ courses available and earn their full-time incomes from this platform, so if you can study with such an instructor, you will likely find them very responsive. Some even higher TAs to help serve their students. Some of my favorite Udemy instructors include:
Coursera is a great option for a couple of different scenarios. First, since the courses are made available through higher education institutions, they have many topics on technical subjects that are taught in universities. Examples include learning Java, algorithms, machine learning, information technology and other topics related to computer science. Second, if there is a topic that you’re ready to explore in-depth and at a level that challenges you, such as data mining or data analytics in Python, then you could benefit by taking one of Coursera’s specializations.
Coursera and Udemy are also both good choices as well if English is not your native language. Both platforms have courses available in many different languages other than English.
One final note on Coursera: For those of you who have never learned a programming language before or who have had trouble learning how to program, they have a specialization Introduction to Programming in C through Duke University that is out of this world. I will soon have a review about this specialization, so stay tuned!
In the past, I have in the past purchased books on programming through Amazon, but I rarely do that anymore because the industry changes so quickly, and a book I purchase today could be outdated in six months to a year or even less. A Safari Books Online membership ensures that I have access to the most recent books that are being published on technical topics today, and there is no limit to the number of books I can read, videos I can watch or learning paths that I can explore.
SBO also publishes books, videos and learning paths on other topics as well, including design and business. You can even learn about trading options if you are so inclined as long as you don’t get too distracted and get back to coding!
My favorite way to learn how to code is through Udacity. Their nanodegrees are extensive, with instruction and required projects that help you learn and allow you to build a portfolio. You also get a dedicated mentor AND career placement help after you complete your program. That is a relatively new feature, and I am so glad they have added it to their service since finding a great-paying job is what compels many people to learn tech skills in the first place.
There are some entry-level and prerequisite programs that do not provide career help, but these nanodegrees are less expensive, and Udacity explains this pretty well under the frequently answered questions for each nanodegree program. Udacity structures their nanodegrees as 3-5 month programs, and you go through the program with a defined cohort so that you can ask questions and help each other out.
Another reason why I like Udacity is they have amazing customer service. My emails are always answered, and the mentors are typically responsive. Their staff is polite, courteous and genuinely interested in helping students succeed.
Thus far, I have taken the front-end web developer nanodegree, programming for data science nanodegree and I will soon enroll in the C++ nanodegree program. C++ is a great programming language to learn if you want to program self-driving cars, systems or anything that uses hardware and controls. Because it is a challenging language to learn, jobs that require C++ programming tend to pay pretty well.
A Brief Note on Other Options
In the past, I have also used Plurasight, Lynda.com and Treehouse. Ultimately, I found that I had the best results with Udemy, Coursera, Safari Books Online and Udacity, so I stick entirely to these four platforms now depending on what I need to learn. I have found that they deliver the most consistent results and the range of options these platforms provide will likely be enough to fit anyone’s needs.
If you’re ready to learn about a topic but aren’t sure where to begin, please feel free to write to me at email@example.com or leave a comment below, and I will do my best to help.