11 unique ways to learn to code through playing

The world after this virus will never ever be the same.The popularity of online shopping has spiked like never before; from groceries to gardening tools, make-up to mosaic kits, anything is just a click away. Watching TV shows on streaming-sites like Netflix, video calling loved ones on one of the multitude of platforms available, or downloading an app to learn a language, it is not an exaggeration to say that every element  of our lives is being infiltrated by tech.

This means that those who understand that tech – not only how to use it, but how to develop and improve it – will always have a job. The safety net this provides is immense, and it’s never too late to learn.

A recurring question I am asked over and over again, by people who dream of becoming software developers,  start-up founders who struggle with setting up their own website, even parents of children as young as two or three or want to give them a head start, is; how can I learn to code?

One of the ways I discovered, I am learning without really noticing is through playing, so, below are a couple of resources that can help everyone of us pick up those skills fast. Learning through playing is one of the best ways to start, as you can pick up skills without even noticing. Here are some resources that can help anyone pick up those skills fast. One of the ways I discovered, I am learning without really noticing is through playing, so, below are a couple of resources that can help everyone of us pick up those skills fast.

CodeCombat

Price: Free to play for all of its core levels, with a $9.99 USD/month subscription for access to extra level branches

Level: Absolute Beginner

Languages: JavaScript, Python, HTML and CoffeeScript

What do I learn? Fundamentals of computer science (loops, variables, arrays and so on)

Website: https://codecombat.com

CheckIO

Price: Free

Level: Beginner To Advanced

Languages: JavaScript, Python

What do I learn? It’s the perfect tool when basic tutorials aren’t doing it anymore but larger projects feel just out of reach. Checkio is like the bridge to help you cross that chasm.

Website: https://checkio.org/

CodinGame

Price: Free

Level: Upper Beginners to Advanced

Languages: JavaScript, Lua, PHP, Python, Ruby, Swift and many others (C#, C++, Java, Bash, C, Clojure, Dart, F#, Go, Groovy, Haskell, Lua, Objective C, OCaml, Pascal, Perl, Rust, Scala, Swift, VB.NET)

What do I learn? Deepen the fundamentals and start learning algorithms. You can learn through 2 main types of challenges: multiplayer ones (programming a bot to do something better than your opponent) and puzzles. The community seems to be really friendly and supportive. The algorithms are usually encountered during standard interview coding tests, so good for getting that next job.

Website: https://www.codingame.com

Swift Playgrounds

Price: Free

Level: Absolute beginners

Languages: Swift (iOS)

What do I learn? Fundamentals and more (commands, functions, parameters, loops, conditional statements, variables, operators, types, initialization). Great starter point if you want to learn how to code mobile apps.

Website: https://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

Code Monkey

Price: $4.95/month or 39$/year

Level: Absolute Beginner

Languages: CoffeeScript (compiles to JavaScript)

What do I learn? Fundamentals of computer science (objects, function calls, loops, arrays, variables, mouse events and so on).

Website: https://www.codemonkey.com/

code.game

Price: Free

Level: Absolute beginners

Languages: Python

What do I learn? Fundamentals using a graphical drag-and-drop programming interface and slowly migrates to python.

Website: https://code.game

Blockly Maze

Price: Free

Level: Absolute Beginner

Languages: pseudo code

What do I learn? Fundamentals like conditionals, loops

Website: https://blockly.games/maze

Screeps

Price: Free

Level: Medium / Advanced

Languages: JavaScript

What do I learn? Algorithms & Data Structures. Really great tool to practice interview questions.

Website: https://screeps.com/

Scratch

Price: Free

Level: Absolute Beginner

Languages: pseudo code

What do I learn? Familiarizes users with fundamental concepts (variables, loops, conditional statements and procedures)

Website: https://scratch.mit.edu/

CSS Dinner

Price: Free

Level: Beginner / Medium

Languages: CSS

What do I learn? The basics of how CSS selectors work. Really useful if you want to learn to customize your website template.

Website: https://flukeout.github.io/#

Ruby Warrior

Price: Free

Level: Upper Beginner

Languages: Ruby

What do I learn? Fundamentals but it does require a basic level of syntax in ruby.

Website: https://www.bloc.io/ruby-warrior#/

Tynker

Price: 20$/month or 96$/year however free during the school closures caused by the pandemic

Level: Absolute Beginner

Languages: Javascript & Python & Web Dev with HTML / CSS

What do I learn? Fundamentals. Data Structures, Web Development. It starts off with a graphical programming interface (like Blockly Maze) and then progresses to JavaScript and Python. Great for kids to get involved for the first time!

Website: https://www.tynker.com/

If you are wondering where to start, depending on your level I would try all of them for 15 min and stick to the one you literally lose track of time on. There is no right or wrong. I have started with web development (HTML / CSS / PHP / Javascript), decided I wanted to do mobile development and than had a change of heart and moved to backend development and nowadays thoroughly enjoy working as a DevOps engineer. Tech is developing at a fast speed but what is really important is the structural way of thinking you develop while coding so, take a pick and let me know how you find it 🙂

*Note: I am not affiliated to any of the above links.

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