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Kateryna Ryzha
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Useful Resources

Top 23 Online Tools to Learn Coding and Improve Programming Skills

Knowledge of computer programming is a skill that can open many doors to starting a professional career in IT. Even if you’re not planning to acquire a technical position, the ability to solve complex problems and knowledge of at least one basic programming language are your intangible asset. 

The demand for coding specialists has grown tremendously in recent years, and it’s not that difficult to find online resources for improving coding skills and even learning programming from scratch. After some research, I compiled a list of 23 websites to learn and improve coding online.

Online Resources for Beginners and Pros

Remember that there isn’t a single online resource that is a one-stop solution to becoming a high-paid specialist. Some of the platforms are better for beginners to learn the basics of computer programming, while others are geared towards providing professional developers with in-depth knowledge of certain aspects of programming languages.

In this article, I divided all online resources into three groups:

  • Many online platforms offer flexible and convenient ways to learn to code and improve programming skills through courses and tutorials. I picked a bundle of websites that mainly provide free study opportunities. While they all offer courses of various difficulties, they are the best option to get acquainted with programming for beginners. 
  • Online platforms for coding challenges and competitions allow users to test and improve their coding skills, engage in problem-solving discussions with fellow programmers, prepare for job interviews and freshen up their knowledge of programming languages. Many such platforms serve as hubs where employers search for talented coders.
  • Coding games present an easy way for beginners to put their freshly acquired skills to work while having fun. All of the games included in this list are suitable for users with zero coding skills or who have just started learning the basics of computer programming. I suggest checking them out for people who, until now, were intimidated by the complexity of coding. 

Online Courses and Tutorials

Here are the best online platforms offering highly professional coding courses for beginners.

freeCodeCamp

freecodecamp online coding courses

freeCodeCamp is a free online source with about 8,000 tutorials covering web design basics, data visualization, front-end development libraries, backend development, and more. The tutorials are supported with YouTube videos, exercises, and examples. freeCodeCamp is especially useful for beginners who start learning HTML, Python, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, C++, and PHP, as most of the learning process is carried out via online IDE tools.

Though it is not a one-step solution to earning a programmer job, it provides a solid basis for further development.

Educative.io

This website contains thousands of tutorials and courses covering all aspects of computer technologies, like programming, cloud computing, and AI. The Educative.io team argues that although video tutorials have become the norm lately, we read faster than we hear, and written tutorials are beneficial for learning technical material. Therefore, it is the only platform relying on written texts.

Educative.io provides many resources for professional developers while offering courses tailored to beginners who want to learn Python, Java, C++, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript from scratch. Hands-on examples and quizzes support each lesson to check whether users understand the material.

This platform is free for students, and some courses are free for all.

CodeGym

codegym online java programming course

CodeGym is an interactive online Java programming course with over two million students. The best thing about the course is its practical focus. CodeGym contains more than 1200 programming tasks of different levels and complexity. Students start programming in a browser or professional development environment from the first lesson.

The intellectual system CodeGym or “Virtual Mentor” checks the solved task, evaluates the result in a matter of seconds, and, if necessary, gives hints on the presented solution.

However, that’s not just a collection of exercises but a course with a well-thought-out schedule. Students get a byte-size lecture first, then solve coding problems on that topic. When you’ve solved the problem, you’ve earned a certain number of points—you can spend to open the following lecture and so on, level by level. Thus, you will learn Core Java, and by the end of the course, you will have about 500 hours of programming practice.

This course is well suited for absolute beginners, switchers from other fields, or experts in different languages who decide to learn Java.

Envato Tuts+

envato tuts+ online coding courses

Envato Tuts+ is an online free learning hub featuring more than 29,000 tutorials. Most are video tutorials covering a wide range of topics, from introduction to programming, basic languages, web development, and web design

This platform is a valuable source for WordPress beginners and professionals, with a whole section of courses devoted to WordPress basics, plugins, themes, and more.

W3Schools

w3schools online coding courses

W3Schools is a free educational website for learning coding launched in 1998, and it features 50+ courses, including tutorials in 18 programming languages. Each course contains chapters that include many “Do It Yourself” examples. 

By learning each chapter one by one, you get fundamental knowledge of the subject, starting from the very basics. Besides, the platform offers hundreds of exercises and quizzes for easy and fun assessment of your proficiency in various domains. 

Experienced programmers can replenish their knowledge base in their fields of expertise, while beginners will be fond of a well-structured learning journey offered by W3Schools. 

Udemy

udemy online coding courses

Udemy is different from many other educational platforms because it only features premium (paid) tutorials. Content creators can create courses on IT-related topics, upload them to the site, and charge whatever price they choose. Users can find classes to learn 25+ programming languages by professional tutors that are a mixture of videos, resources, and problems to solve.

The platform features over 1,000 courses on WordPress, including a super popular 10-hour WordPress for Beginners tutorial designed for users with no previous coding skills.

Users pay for the courses they like, while a Business subscription provides access to 16,000 tutorials and is popular for IT businesses who want to upgrade their employees’ coding skills.

Khan Academy

khan academy online coding courses

This non-profit website provides courses in math, science, arts & humanities, economics, and more. It also includes a robust selection of classes in computer science. With the courses like Intro to JS, HTML/CSS, and SQL, Khan Academy provides an excellent starting point for learning programming and web development. Teaching is done through written text, short videos, and practical exercises, and each course has 15 hours of content on average. The introductory courses are designed for 4th graders and up. 

Codecademy

codecademy online coding courses

Codeacademy is an online interactive library of free and paid courses that teach coding skills in the majority of popular programming languages. It offers thorough introductory courses in 15 languages, of which Java, JS, and Python are exceptionally good. According to course descriptions, 20 to 25 hours of courses will make you fluent in the selected language, but certainly, it’s not enough to make you job-ready.

Additionally, Codecademy features a user-friendly interface, a low-stress environment, and many free online tools, making it one of the most favorable sources for coding beginners.

Online Platforms with Coding Challenges and Competitions

The following tools are best for intermediate and advanced programmers.

Codewars

codewars online coding tool

Codewars is a free educational online platform run by programmers. It lets you improve your coding skills by completing small “kata” exercises. In Japanese, kata is a martial arts movement perfected by practice. By using such terminology, authors on Codewars hint that mastering programming languages requires the repetitive solution of simple tasks and testing coding skills.

Each kata created by the community members helps improve different skills in 29 main programming languages. Often, there is more than one right solution to the problem, and users can compare and discuss their techniques with the community after completing each kata.

Codewars challenges have different complexity levels, but they are best for those with a basic understanding of at least one programming language.

HackerRank

hackerrank online coding tool

People use HackerRank to improve algorithm and coding skills. This platform features programming challenges in various coding domains and environments, including time-sensitive exercises designed to prepare developers for the interviews. HackerRank provides a ranking system for users that displays their achievements in solving coding problems in specific domains. 

This platform is geared toward improving the coding skills necessary for passing interviews and getting a software engineer job. The exercises cover eight programming languages: C, C++, Java, SQL, Shell Scripting, Ruby, and Python.

HackerRank provides a paid subscription for employers, allowing them to set up problem-solving competitions, post jobs, and reach out to potential candidates. It is free for programmers. 

LeetCode

leetcode online coding tool

LeetCode is an online coding platform with around 2,500 programming challenges. The challenges primarily focus on data structure and algorithms and are grouped into three categories by difficulty. Almost every task supports 18 main programming languages. LeetCode focuses on the efficiency of problem-solving methods, and authors of the exercises often provide detailed explanations of why certain solutions are better than others. 

Some of the tasks and features are available only for premium subscribers. But still, the plethora of free learning material is enough to learn data structures and algorithms and prepare for job interviews in the most efficient way.

Project Euler

project euler online coding tool

Project Euler presents a series of computational problems requiring participants’ advanced numeracy and programming skills. The intended audience of the platform includes mathematicians with a strong interest in implementing computers for problem-solving. The users can use the language of their choice, and the most popular programming languages on Project Euler are Python, C, C++, C#, and Java.

Although the problems range in difficulty, they are not suitable for coding beginners or people lacking proficiency in number theory.

GA Dash

ga dash online coding tool

General Assembly Dash is an educational website focusing on teaching web development using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. The students can write code using instructions and informative slideshows to complete five projects: Build a Personal Website, Build a Responsive Blog/Tumblr Theme, Build a Small Business Website, Build a CSS Robot, and Build a Madlibs game.

When users finish all projects, they will acquire 82 skills, such as implementing subscription forms on websites and creating animation with JavaScript. Overall, this free platform is intended for beginner coders who want to learn hands-on website-building basics.

CodingBat

codingbat online coding tool

CodingBat is a website offering free exercises to perfect coding skills in Java and Python. The short exercises provide programmers with experience in writing functions and are perfect for computer science students as built-in tests for practicing single concepts. Almost every test has more than one solution.

CodingBat allows teachers to create accounts to assign exercises to students, easily customize problem sets and follow their students’ progress.

Codechef

codechef online coding tool

This is a competitive coding platform popular among students and programmers. Codechef team organizes regular events, including three competitions per month with cash prizes, puzzles, and games. Apart from competing events, Codechef allows users to run and test codes in the in-browser window and solve 3000+ problems supported by 35 programming languages.

Codechef’s audience primarily consists of developers and programmers who want to test their knowledge of data structures and algorithms and learn in a competitive environment. The problems on the platform are designed for intermediate and advanced users. 

Topcoder

topcoder online coding tool

This competitive programming site offers thousands of Single Round Matches to compete against other graphic design and development programmers. Topcoder offers sponsored competitions where participants can win prizes, and employers often use this option for finding talented developers.

Topcoder’s extensive library of challenges complies with past competition tasks, and, most of the time, they are short and ideal for people with other work to do. 

Coding Games

These fun games help beginners memorize coding syntax and apply concepts they’ve learned.

Robocode

robocode online coding game

This game aims to build a robot battle tank to defeat other tanks. Users have no direct control of the tank during the battle; instead, they design its AI using Java so the tanks react to threats on the battlefield. 

While it’s an excellent way to develop Java skills, the game teaches what artificial intelligence is and how it’s used.

CodeCombat

codecombat online coding game

CodeCombat stimulates players to use text-based coding in Python, JavaScript, and C++ programming languages to develop fantasy-inspired heroes and engage in battles on different game levels. It features an intuitive code engine that understands beginners’ typical mistakes and helps fix them. 

The game is free for everybody. Users can buy a paid subscription to access new levels, heroes, and gear.

Flexbox Defense

flexbox defense online coding game

This is a tower defense game in which you use CSS flexbox code to position towers and destroy incoming enemies. Flexbox Defense consists of 12 levels, and players can learn new CSS flexbox properties on each level. Finally, they must apply accumulated knowledge to win the last wave of enemy tanks.

CSS Diner

css diner online coding game

In this game, users must choose specified items from a set of objects on a table using CSS selectors. Beginner programmers will learn basic selectors at the start of the game and more advanced selectors to select a wide variety of DOM elements towards the final levels. 

CSS Diner is a piece of cake for experienced programmers, but it’s still a great tool to refresh CSS muscle memory. 

CodinGame

codingame online coding game

CodinGame is a platform hosting many space battles-styled games where players use coding skills to lead their armies against invaders. Users can choose one of 25 programming languages, including Java, JavaScript, and Python, and compete against bots or each other. 

While the platform offers beginner-level challenges, most of the puzzles are complex and require a considerable amount of effort and coding experience. Unfortunately, most of the games are available only to paid subscribers. 

Baba Is You

baba is you online coding game

Baba Is You is a puzzle video game with cute indie graphics. It consists of 200 levels in which the Baba character must move objects on the screen to reach a specific goal. The game is not based on any particular programming language but requires a player to manipulate the “rules” – visually presented as blocks, similar to syntax rules in coding.

Warning! The game is addictive, while certain levels are ridiculously difficult. 

Edabit

edabit online coding game

Edabit is a learning platform with close to coding 10,000 challenges with added simple game mechanics to make learning fun. Users can choose one of eight coding languages (C, C++, JavaScript, Java, Python, Ruby, Swift, and PHP). Most of the challenges are pretty simple and require players to memorize pieces of coding syntax to succeed. 

FAQ

Can I learn a programming language online?

The number and range of online programming courses mean that you can find courses that teach the language of your interest.

Are there free online tools to upgrade coding skills?

Many online platforms offer programming courses and coding challenges for free. Most of the websites discussed above provide free options.

Are there free online courses that teach WordPress basics?

Yes. Udemy and Envato Tuts+ offer free courses on design development and WordPress.

What are the benefits of coding games for beginners?

Coding games demonstrate how programming concepts are applied in real-life applications.

Sum Up

Coding is intimidating if you don’t know where to start. I hope I presented enough evidence to convince you there’s an infinite number of helpful online resources for newbies and experienced programmers.