In Divya Manian’s controversial post on Smashing Magazine discussing HTML semantics, something that she said got somewhat overlooked in all the debates that ensued.
At the end of the article, she pointed out that rather than wasting time debating HTML tag use, developers should focus on learning how to program. I think this is great advice. So to that end, I’ve compiled a roundup of sources where beginners can expand their skills past HTML and CSS.
Codecademy dubs itself as “the easiest way to learn how to code.” This is testified to by the site’s more than 200,000 users.
Their “about” page explains: “Codecademy was created out of the frustrations Zach and Ryan felt with learning how to program. Tired with less effective text and video resources, Ryan and Zach teamed up to create Codecademy, a better, more interactive way to learn programming by actually coding.”
You’ve probably seen this one advertised on CSS-Tricks. The Treehouse mission is “to teach Web Design, Development and iOS to people everywhere, in order to help them achieve their dreams and change the world.” Sounds like an overly-optimistic mission to me, but from their testimonials, Chris Coyier’s endorsement, and the overall design of the site, this looks like a great way to learn a whole slew of different technologies.
With the Treehouse method, users watch videos, then takes tests to unlock badges. Seems like a simple and effective concept that’s worth looking into.
appendTo Developer Learning Center
Another text-based resource, but a much larger one, jQuery Fundamentals by Rebecca Murphey boasts “contributions by James Padolsey, Paul Irish, and others.”
The course is a set of audio recordings taken from lectures done by Tony Pittarese, an assistant professor of Computer and Information Sciences at East Tennessee State University. Addi endorses the course, however he does point out that there are some minor things in it that would not be considered best practice today.
Code School let’s you learn “by doing through interactive video + coding in the browser” and includes courses covering jQuery, CSS, CoffeScript, Rails, and more. This course is endorsed by a number of well-respected members of the design and development community and you can read more about it on this article on .net magazine.
This looks like a serious option for those who want high-quality learning and are willing to pay a fee. I’m a little miffed at myself for not including this in the original list, but better late than never, and I’m sure many will find this page via search and will be none the wiser.
I can’t personally vouch for all the material in these resources. But all of these have come, in one way or another, endorsed by well-known front-end developers in our industry. So if you’re a beginner whose been working with HTML and CSS for some time now, any one of these resources could be used to help you step up your game and start programming.
As always, if you know of another resource in the category of learning to program for beginners, post it in the comments.
what do you think about codeschool.com? They work really hard. Their trainings, and screencasts are very helpful to learn a language.
Huge oversight on my part. I had bookmarked that site for plans to include it in this list, but completely forgot to add it when I published the article.
Anyhow, thanks for the reminder. I’ve added it to the article because I think it’s a good option for those willing to pay for learning.
thanks for your kind answer. I’m a big fan of your articles :)
A great selection of resources. Learning to program is perhaps one of the most important things you can do as a web designer.
I need to learn more programming, it doesn’t come quite as easy as teaching yourself HTML or CSS. Thanks, these are great.
Thanks. I’ve been looking for more interesting and effective training type sites. I will check these out. Certainly, first impressions are that this is a nice, easy-paced, bite-sized way to learn and the interface is easy on the eye. I would be really interested to explore the ‘Developer’ learning. If only I could find some time to spend on here!
Awesome suggestions! I’ll definitely have to check some of these out.
My favorite paid resource has always been Lynda.com
How about PHP? I know there’s tons of places to learn PHP online, but I’ve been looking for a well-covered course (not just code snippets) specifically geared toward WordPress theme development. That’s what I’m really eager for. Would you know of such an online resource? Anyway, thanks for the article! I’ve found myself already getting familiar with jQuery. :-)
I want to learn ruby on rails
Great list, some time ago I started putting up my own and it includes all of yours except for the paid ones (haven’t tried them yet). Thanks!
Excellent list (I love lists).
I actually use a majority of those listed!
Just found another general programming resource:
How about w3schools.com, i think that is good for beginner like me