My journey through code learning platforms (FreeCodeCamp, Treehouse, Codecademy, Youtube)

Coding is one of the best skills to learn online since there are so many free or cheap services available to learn it. The community is in general extremely helpful and it’s rather easy to find help with the problems you might(will for sure) run into.

I’m gonna write a bit about my experience about the sites I’ve been using.

To choose a place to learn from you need to know yourself. Some people are better at learning from audio, some from video, some from reading and some from.. playing minecraft.. Take some time to think about which one you always preferred in school or life in general and go from there.

👩‍💻 FreeCodeCamp 👨‍💻

This is the first website I used to start my journey in web development. The UI is very intuitive and it’s a really clear path to follow. The starting challenges are just the right difficulty for a beginner to learn the basics and for staying interested, because u get to build some simple stuff which makes it feel like you are really making progress. I’d say that the best experience I had on this website was through the free chat rooms that are available. It’s just so incredibly nice to be able to discuss different solutions. I was stuck on a problem for hours and when I eventually couldn’t take the pain anymore I asked about it in the chat and in just a few minutes everything was working and I understood what was going on! This part is really the most important aspect of this site!

I had to think real hard about what I’m not really liking about the site and all I could say is that I think sometimes the instructions for some of the challenges or projects are a bit frustrating and unclear.

👩‍💻 Team Treehouse 👨‍💻

Treehouse is a paid service but it’s really cheap for the value you get! This one is great if you are the type of person that likes to learn through videos. And you are going to practice what you learn in the videos constantly. The paths are very well thought through and have a very optimal pace. They do go pretty deep in each topic and make you practice it quite a bit to make sure you are comfortable with it. For example the CSS flexbox course was great and I was able to use flexbox in my next project because I got enough practice with it on treehouse. They have their own online workspace which they do recommend. The good part about it is that it removes abstractions so you can get started quickly without thinking about setting things up. But sooner or later your gonna have to move away from this thing, and that can be quite a challenge. Therefore my feelings are a bit split up, but in the end I think its positive, because you can get started learning as fast as possible about the core subject. The community was worse then FreeCodeCamp. I think that is because it felt less organic. But still good enough for asking things in the forums and getting good answers.

👩‍💻 Codecademy 👨‍💻

Besides the frustrating name because I always seem to type it wrong, this one is similar to FreeCodeCamp because you learn by reading a piece of text with instructions and you try to solve the problems right on the website. A big difference is that you can choose more paths besides front-end with html/css/javascript. You can choose PHP, Ruby, Python and many other languages. They also have courses for a lot of frameworks such as React and Rails. Worth noting is that most of the stuff on this site is free but there is also a premium option. I felt just fine with the free version and I didn’t think that I was missing anything.

To be honest I feel this is a worse version of FreeCodeCamp although you have more paths to choose from, but that could also be seen as a bad thing for a beginner if you can’t decide what you should learn and instead you run in circles.

👩‍💻 YouTube 👨‍💻

There are incredibly talented people on youtube that constantly put out content for free and even whole courses on a subject. I guess a have to mention Traversy Media because I mostly viewed his channel for learning code resources. But there are many other people out there! You can use youtube both for going through a course on a whole topic or you can use youtube to find a quick explanation of some specific element that you are stuck on in your project.

On youtube you have to be careful so that you are really learning from someone who knows what they are doing. No one is going to babysit you as much so probably you are going to have to google a lot of things along the way. But this is a good thing! A huge part about coding is being able to find the solutions to your problems on google by yourself!

🗒️ Some extra notes 🖊️

So with all these resources I do want to say that it’s important to not go through the same thing on every single website (for example javascript basics) Why? Because you will get stuck in the beginner land for too long. Once you know the basics you need to move on to more advanced stuff. It may feel comfortable to just learn the basics over and over on every single site, and you might say to yourself that it’s really important to have solid foundations. And that is true, foundations are important but once you know variables, arrays, loops, objects etc it’s time to move on! It’s worth noting that if you really don’t understand the explanation of a concept on one site you can easily try it on some of the other ones to see if that explanation resonates with you better.

👏 Conclusion 👏

I would start using with FreeCodeCamp because it’s the most suitable for an absolute beginner. The biggest reason for this is that you can super easily ask people about your problems. Also the site will make you do real projects where you are going to test your wings and thats really valuable. You can put these in your portfolio later. The problem with many of the projects on the other sites I mention is that its not really YOU who made it, you probably just followed someone else. But on FreeCodeCamp it really your own project!

That is the end of this blog post and hopefully I was able to wake up some new thoughts! As always you can follow my daily struggles on twitter 🐦 @Emil Malmsten Take Care!

Here is my personal blog: https://emilmalmsten.com/blog/