To be a geek just on a basic level requires a certain love of things. Technology, Video Games, gadgets, sneakers, certain TV shows, Movies (Star Wars, Hackers, Lord of the Rings, etc). Aside from those obvious and cliche things being a geek is also about knowing a thing or two. The things I mentioned before are part of the “Geek” culture but nowadays just being a part of the culture is not enough. There is an expectation as a geek that you learn something, either by teaching yourself something or collaborating to learn something. If you want to be more than just basic and step up your “Geek” there’s one way that is becoming increasingly more popular and necessary. Coding
Coding is the thing nowadays. Coding classes via online or at a school are popping up everywhere. Everyone should learn a little at least on some level. It’s a useful skill set to have if you have the discipline and patience. I’m not implying that you should drop everything and become a programmer or app builder or master coder. What I am implying is that you use it as a means to expand on your knowledge and try something that’s not so easy
From personal experience I can honestly say that I didn’t like coding very much, I still kinda don’t, mainly because there’s a lot more to learn. It’s a lot of data to absorb, it requires a lot of patience, the constant trial and error, and the list goes on. I won’t lie to you about that. Despite all that I mentioned however, I understand it’s importance and the need to know it on some level, I also know that this is the way of the future and the direction that technology is heading. Knowing this ultimately outweighed any dislike I had for it. A lot of common folk are becoming more and more involved in coding and doing great things. Things they would have otherwise thought only someone else could do. It doesn’t take up too much of your time. The best part about coding is that you can do it at your own pace and the best part it’s FREE, well, mostly free. I’ve tried a bunch of different free coding schools and online coding classes and I’ve narrowed it down to the best ones that I found. Each one has a different aim and teaches in a different fashion but all of it is designed to make a coder out of you. Here are my personal choices and in no particular order
Codecademy (Codecademy.com) (Free) Codecademy is the first website that I went to when I had an interest in learning how to code. It offers a step by step way to learn coding and it teaches you in stages. You can earn badges that indicate your progress, you can work on a coding project when you sharpen your skills enough and if you get good enough and if the good folks over there choose you, you can teach others. They have a variety of all the latest and up date coding languages and techniques that can help you get an edge and become a master coder. Did I mention it’s free?
Treehouse (Teamtreehouse.com) (Free and Paid) This is the instructional website that I used and still use the most. For me it’s the best of the group that I’m discussing. It has easy to follow video tutorials covering a wide range of coding languages with a follow up quiz based on practical experience afterwards to help cement what you just learned. If you’re on the go you can download the lessons in a podcast format and watch them on your laptop or iPad via iTunes.You can use it for free or you just pay $25 a month which is a nominal fee for a great learning tool. Treehouse is a MUST try for the budding coder.
Khan Academy (KhanAcademy.com) (Free) Although Khan Academy does not focus primarily on coding and programming it does however have a very nice system to which it intends to teach programming. It’s a very thorough system that shows you what the code looks like before you prep it and begin to make changes. You can make changes, start a project and as with all of the other website you get your complimentary badges for completing tasks. Overall it’s a full blown educational system spanning a variety of topics and subjects as well as offering learning according to skill and grade levels. Since we’re talking about coding and programming what Khan Academy does offer is great so check it out
Code School (Codeschool.com) (Free and Paid) Code School is very similar to Treehouse in terms of how it teaches you to code. It uses visual aids and a pathway program to help guide you through your coding experience. You get to watch instructional videos by some of their great tech and coding wizards, you have the ability as with all of the other sites mentioned to take on a project of your own for practice, or you can play with the template project provided for you as well. It has a free portion that you can use on a limited basis but as with Treehouse if you want to get the best experience and have all functions and teachings available to you then sign up for the monthly subscription which is $29/month. Not bad for a lot of learning.
W3 Schools (W3Schools.com) (Free) The W3Schools website is a full fledged DYI website. The term educate yourself is their moniker. By going to this website you can learn everything there is to know about whatever programming language you choose. It’s a repository of tech with so much information on hand. For instance, I first started to use this site and I begun using CSS I could never remember which colors to use and I was able to come here and find all of the hex codes for those colors. You find it all here. It doesn’t teach you in the traditional sense and there are no instructors so it’s not for the faint of heart or impatient.
Lastly, let me just say that coding is not for everyone. I’m not suggesting that you have to do it but it’s better that you try and learn it to some degree. The world is changing, corporate workforces are shrinking, more people are working from home and using the ability to code and program as a means to make money or make something whether it be an app or creating a website to start a home business. It’s important and for right now it’s inexpensive and in some cases free but as with all things when the popularity increases so will the need to capitalize and what was once free will be free no more. Take advantage