Ask LH: Are There Any Good Coding Sites For Teenagers?

Ask LH: Are There Any Good Coding Sites For Teenagers?
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Dear Lifehacker, I’m a teenager in year 10 and I’ve started looking at things like programming and coding. I was wondering if you could tell me how to get started with programs like C and Python? I’ve struggled to find helpful tutorials online for teenagers. Many thanks, Jody

Dear Jody,

Instead of searching for “coding for teenagers”, you should be searching for “coding for beginners”. At 16-17, you’re essentially a functioning adult. Any tutorial that’s aimed at a coding novice should be suitable — and there are literally tens of thousands to choose from.

A good place to start is Udacity, which is one of the best-known Massive Online Open Courses available on the web. It contains tutorials on everything from Android app creation to social network analysis and provides easy-to-digest videos followed by online quizzes and exercises.

Best of all, much of the material on the site is free. You also have the option to pay if you want to get one-on-one tuition or take on the interactive projects that come with the course.

Other beginner-friendly coding sites that are well worth a look include Codecademy (another free site that covers HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby and PHP), Treehouse (which specialises in website design and mobile app creation) and Code School (an intermediate resource that provides schooling for Git, Objective-C, JQuery and others.) You can also find a swathe of beginner-friendly resources at the coding curator site Bento.

For a more detailed overview of the above sites and others, check out our guide to coding websites for beginners. We also recommend our Lifehacker University series which contains plenty of free educational sites.

If you prefer the text book approach, the Humble Bundle regularly sells coding e-books aimed at beginners. You can pick up a swathe of these books for just US$1 and part of the proceeds go to charity.

The Invent With Python portal is also worth a look. It collects hundreds of educational ebooks about the titular language although some can be pricey, with individual books ranging from $1 to over $150.

We’d also like to hear recommendations from readers. What books and/or courses did you learn to code with? Let Jody know in the comments!

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