Learn To Code

I put this together to help some friends that were impacted by everything being shut down and wondering how they could get into a different line of work.

I’ve been developing for the web well over 20 years now, and have never been unable to find work. I always considered computer programming a trade that allows anyone (that is willing to put in some time and effort) to lead a nice, comfortable life.

I’d never recommend anything to you that I wouldn’t recommend to my friend and family members.

Always use free resources before you spend any money.

Free Code Camp


I always recommend that people start with Free Code Camp to see if you are even interested in web development. Even if you don’t want to work through all of the modules, completing a few of them will get you prepped for taking classes on Coursera and EdX.

A big upside of Free Code Camp is that you don’t have to install anything on your computer to get started – and it’s free.

From the Free Code Camp site:

“Our mission: to help people learn to code for free. We accomplish this by creating thousands of videos, articles, and interactive coding lessons – all freely available to the public. We also have thousands of freeCodeCamp study groups around the world.”

I’ve used Free Code Camp over the years and it’s an incredible resource to learn coding and web development.

One really cool thing about Free Code Camp is that as you work through the lessons, you can eventually be partnered up with a non-profit to work on their site. This work is on a strictly volunteer basis (you aren’t paid), but you build up your skills in a real world setting, and get experience that is valuable to employers. You’re learning to code and building your portfolio and resume at the same time.

You only need a high speed internet connection to get started with Free Code Camp. Most everything is done in your browser.

Rails Tutorial


I’ve worked through the Rails Tutorial my Michael Hartl a few times over the years, I love it. It is kept up to date and teaches you so much more than just Ruby on Rails.

You can use the Cloud 9 IDE which is a cloud hosted dev environment. You will need a free AWS account for this, and signing up for AWS requires a credit card. Alternatively, you can install a Rails development environment on your local machine. There are references in the tutorial to get you up and running.

From the site:

“Welcome to Ruby on Rails Tutorial: Learn Web Development with Rails. The purpose of this book is to teach you how to develop custom web applications, and our tool of choice is the popular Ruby on Rails web framework. In addition to focusing on general principles of web development (rather than on Rails specifically), the Ruby on Rails Tutorial teaches the broader skill of technical sophistication (Box 1.1), which is a principal theme developed by the Learn Enough to Be Dangerous tutorials.1 In particular, the Learn Enough introductory sequence consists of a series of tutorials that are suitable as prerequisites to the Ruby on Rails Tutorial, starting with Learn Enough Command Line to Be Dangerous,2 which (unlike the present tutorial) is aimed at complete beginners.”

Google Developers

Web development info from Google.


MDN Web Docs

The new home of the Mozilla Developer Network, rebranding or whatever. Both this and the Google Developer site are awesome.


Stack Overflow

Any time you have a question about anything related to development, regardless of platform or language, head to Stack Overflow and start searching.



Introduction to Web Development – UC Davis


Free Development Tools

The tools listed below are free for individuals/small teams, or free forever. If you see a problem, just let me know and I’ll make a note of it here for others.


You can do it all in your browser, supported by AI, a built in community, bounties, you can learn everything you need without having to set up an environment on your local machine. It really is an amazing service. Highly recommended. You absolutely need to try replit out.



Visual Studio Code (VS Code)

Do yourself a favor and start using VS Code. I was a holdout for a long time, but love it now.


Sublime Text

A quick and dirty file editor, and so much more. I’ve been using this for years.



An in-browser editor, code playground. Great for trying things out.



A fantastic site to learn about HTML, JavaScript, and CSS in your browser without having to install anything on your computer. A lot of things created by others that you can just browse through and see some cool examples.

From the CodePen site:

“CodePen is a social development environment. At its heart, it allows you to write code in the browser, and see the results of it as you build. A useful and liberating tool for developers of any skill, and particularly empowering for people learning to code. We focus primarily on front-end languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and preprocessing syntaxes that turn into those things.”



GitHub is a source code repository/development platform that you use to host code, do code reviews, collaborate with your team, etc.

GitHub now offers private repositories with the free tier, so I’m back with them.



BitBucket is another Git source code repository that I love and has many (if not all) of the same features at GitHub. Great integration with other tools as well.



It’s just a handy tool that starts off looking like “Oh look, another stupid list app” that I end up using all the time.

I use Trello for a ton of things: requirements, product definition, lists, sharing info with teams on product development, capturing ideas, etc.


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