How to start learning software development

Whether you are still in high school, getting your second degree, work part time, or are already retired you are probably reading this because you want to start teaching yourself how to program. But there is just one problem, where do you start?

What follows is what has worked for me over the past two weeks and I definitely recommend taking a similar course of action. Assuming you know your long term goals (where you want to be) and how much time per day you are willing to put in (how hard you want to work), we can start talking about how to get started. There are tons of great resources online, some paid and some free. Because there are so many resources available to us these days it can be hard to trim down all the options so here are a few of my favorites in no particular order:

Team Treehouse ($-$$$)

I love Team Treehouse. They offer multiple different tracks that cover a multitude of languages and topics. They also offer Techdegrees. I went with the $50/month option here and it has been completely worth it. The courses are well made, taught well, and offer tons of hands-on practice. You’re tested in multiple different ways so you know that you are nailing down each subject before moving on. If you have the money, I would definitely recommend Team Treehouse.

Codecademy ($)

I started with Codecademy’s $20/month plan and hit the ground running because it was set up in a way that allowed me to get through the material quickly while also learning A LOT along the way. My favorite bit was the plethora of projects that were available to practice working on in the HTML/CSS/Javascript courses. Unfortunately, around the time I was getting through some of their courses they were also taking some down to replace with newer, ‘better’ versions. I didn’t like the new courses they were putting up though because they had fewer projects that I could follow along on my own terms, in order to learn. The new courses focused less on that, and I think that was a mistake on the part of the company. Not only that, but they were pushing forward courses that were not completed or were fairly buggy (not a good sign when learning code from them). So overall, I would check out their free option, if you like what they have (and maybe they’ve cleaned up a bit) then their paid option just might work for you.

Udemy ($-$$$)

Udemy, Udemy, Udemy. YES! What a great resource! There are tons of great courses on Udemy that can quickly get you up to speed on almost anything. Complete beginner? No problem! Just need to brush up on some key skills? No problem! Udemy offers tons of courses from tons of different professionals. It is just a matter of wading through the courses to find what will best serve your needs. Don’t be afraid of the high prices though, they frequently have sales where many courses can be bought for $10/ea!

Freecodecamp ( – )

I haven’t personally used Freecodecamp much, but because of all the good that I have heard about it from others, I figured it at least deserves to be on the list. It is free after all, so if that is what you are looking for, look no further! Check it out!

Youtube ( – )

Youtube is one of the greatest resources for beginner’s looking to begin coding. There are tons of free tutorials that range from crash courses to semester-long programs at universities. A little ‘search-fu’ and you will likely find someone to teach you what you want to learn.

Stack Overflow ( – )

Anytime you run into a problem while coding, where do you go? Google? When that doesn’t work, head over to Stack Overflow. While your Google skills may be important, be sure that Stack Overflow becomes one of your regular resources. You’ll thank me later.

W3 Schools ( – )

Lastly, W3 schools offers great tutorials and resources for learning HTML/CSS/Javascript. They deserve the shoutout!


If you there are any other resources that you think belong on this list, let me know! Email me at matt@livefullstack.com or tweet at me @LiveFullStack

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