How to get your kids writing code right now for free

Photo Credit: http://www.boomtownaccelerator.com/

Over the last year I’ve spent my time teaching dozens or hundreds (I don’t count) of beginners how to get started with what we call ‘coding’.
I’m not an expert but I can create a solid foundation for beginners.

One annoying thing I’ve seen though is that beginner questions are never answered properly. I’ve read a dozens of ‘How to get started’ posts and the answer always seems to be ‘It depends’, (It does, but still).

But I will say this, anyone that writes a blog post and leaves you with some information and no clear cut answer is not a programmer. We’re logical thinkers and we need a yes or a no.

So first let me break it down simply and I’ll answer some of the main questions with no fluff and then get to the ‘it depends’.

Whats the best language to learn? 
Any. 
If you want to learn to code and don’t really know what you want to do or what to build. Just pick any language, find a tutorial and go from there.
Where do I begin?
Depends what you want to build —
Websites ? 
HTML/CSS
What if I want me kids to build Apps?
Web app?
HTML/CSS and Javascript or Ruby (If your friend told you something else do that, in the end as long as you build something it doesn’t matter, though I do think these two are the best to use right now).
Android App?
Java
IOS App?
Swift
I just want my kids to get started and learn, maybe make a few games 
Try block coding.
Scratch, Stencyl or Gamefroot are all good. (I’ll link at the bottom of the page).

Honestly I feel like they are the most common questions I get. If that answers your questions then I’m glad to help. Happy coding :)

Now to the ‘it depends’ (I’ll keep it short I promise).

The I.T. world is huge. Whether your dream is to work in a large multi-national corporation and build enterprise software or you want to hack a bank, there are different skillsets and technologies that are used. 
The best thing to do isn’t to read a bunch of blogs and do a bunch of tutorials. This is wishy washy at best and you will have just dabbled.

Basically define what you want to do, build or be. Have a quick google search such as ‘What languages do web developers use?’ or ‘Do the Woolworths enterprise team use C# to code their software?’.
Get some basic information then get started writing code.

Last question:

Where the hell do I even start?
Don’t pay anyone any money yet.
After you’ve figured out what you want to do(or your kids to do), whether it be build an app, website or just get their feet wet. Here’s a bunch of free resources to get you going.

Here’s some links

Treehouse was the place I went to write my first ever line of code. I got started on the Android track and it was basically one of the places that inspired me to get my bachelor degree in I.T.

This is the usual first stop shop for anyone learning to code. They have courses running in Javascript, HTML/CSS, Ruby and a few others. Some coding bootcamps even tell you to go through a codecademy track before trying anything else.

As the name suggests, it’s absolutely free. The tracks are good and cover a lot of material. You’re can even start building real world projects for not-for-profit organisations which is really cool and helps you build up a portfolio.

  • Udacity.com (Just click a course exit and scroll through facebook, their retargeting adds will make it a lot cheaper).

I’ve bought upwards of 10 different Udemy courses at this point. From courses on Stencyl all the way to big boy stuff like Angular. Udemy alway’s comes up with the goods when I need to learn something.

  • Scratch(Follow the initial tutorials, you’ll have working games in minutes)

In my opinion Scratch is the first place any young boy or girl should go to write their first lines of block code. (Or any code for that matter). 
Using inbuilt functionality and the many tutorials given. Kid’s can build games and learn to think programmatically almost straight away.

Stencyl is known as ‘The harder Scratch’. Even though the concepts and logic are almost exactly the same, the organisation of the code is a little closer to real life. I’ve been teaching Stencyl to beginners for what seems like years now and always get good results.

  • Gamefroot (There’s a bunch of beginner tutorials)

Gamefroot is block coding in the browser. A bunch of tutorials will get you coding and designing your own interactive 2d worlds in no time.

Any of the resources in this list will get you coding straight away. There are plenty more resources not listed here so have a look around and find some more.

Thanks and happy coding:)