Sam Hamilton is the former Web Content Administrator at the Edmonton Public Library.
When the weather outside gets colder, we turn to indoor activities—like coding! There’s no better time to learn than during Computer Science Education Week, which takes place this year from Monday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 13.
Learning a new skill can be intimidating. That’s why Code.org started Hour of Code, “a one-hour introduction to computer science designed to demystify ‘code,’ to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science.”
If you have access to a computer, tablet or smartphone and an internet connection, you too can code! We’ve put together this list of free resources to help get you started.
Just for Kids and Teens
Did you know that kids as young as five can begin learning the basics of coding?
Ages: 5 to 7
“Coding is the new literacy! With ScratchJr, young children (ages 5-7) can program their own interactive stories and games. In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.” — scratchjr.org
Tynker’s philosophy is that kids learn best when they’re having fun. These interactive courses, games and tutorials let kids learn at their own pace.
Ages: 5 to 18
“Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.” — code.org/about
Ages: 8 to 16
“With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations—and share your creations with others in the online community.” — scratch.mit.edu/about
Ages: 10 to 16
“Programming is an art as much as a science. You can express your ideas in Hopscotch through games, apps, animations, and more.” — gethopscotch.com/about
Take a Course
Created by Harvard and MIT, edX is a nonprofit that has partnered with top universities and companies to offer online education. Explore their computer science courses to “[l]earn programming languages and concepts to prepare for a career in hardware or software development.”
freeCodeCamp is a nonprofit whose mission is to help people learn to code for free. In addition to videos, articles and interactive lessons, it offers verified certifications in web design, data visualization and more. Plus, there are hours of challenges to help you prepare for coding interviews!
Free with your Edmonton Public Library card, Gale offers instructor-led computer programming courses. Each course is six-weeks long; please read the syllabus and hardware/software requirements carefully before enrolling!
If you prefer to learn at your own pace, access the LinkedIn Learning library, free with your library card. Browse the EPL catalogue for coding videos from LinkedIn Learning.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) publishes its course content online, making it freely available to anyone with internet access. Check out their course finder for computer programming languages.
Read a(n) (e)Book
Online courses not for you? Our library collection includes hundreds of books and eBooks about coding!
Narrow your search by selecting one of these topics:
Visit a Website
Codewars gamifies learning by presenting each coding challenge as a kata, which you will need to solve to earn ranks (and honour).
In web development “Git” isn’t an unpleasant person, it’s a version-control system for tracking changes. GitHub is a commonly used platform for development teams to collaborate and organize their work.
Learn how to use GitHub with these resources:
The Odin Project
Now that you’ve got the tools, it’s time to get coding! From Monday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 13, join coders around the world for an Hour of Code.