I think everyone in today’s world should be learning a little about how to code. If you use a computer at some point you will want to better understand how it works, or you will want to be able to create something on it as opposed to using it only for consumption. Even learning some of the fundamentals of programming will help you understand how the applications you use to socialize or work function. The basics of creating a webpage, applying styles, and adding interactivity/data storage will come in handy far more often than you can imagine even if you never become a “developer”.

Since the early days of the internet, you could basically find everything you needed to learn about programming online. This is especially true today given the explosion of online education that has happened in the last few years not just for programming, but for learning nearly anything one would want to study. I have been really interested in online and self learning education in general. As various people have asked about programming or wanting help making basic web pages, I have been specifically looking at developer education online. It is amazing how quickly the space is growing and how great the resources have become. Both for those who is interested in learning just a bit to make their own web pages, and for for those that want to learn it all and make a career out of software development. As education approaches the career level there are offline components as well, but even those programming bootcamps are a new and interesting education model..

Note: Since I program primarily in Ruby, the resources are slightly skewed towards Ruby. Many of the resources, offer multiple languages and there are additional programs focused on other languages that might interest you.

Self Guided Free - Where To Start

Before going to a school or even an online class that has a schedule and assignments, I recommend starting with self learning at your own pace. Spend some time on nights and weekends and learn some of the basics and see what parts of programming might interest you.

I really recommend everyone starts by learning the basics of web programming. The beginner friendly courses at CodeAcademy is where I recommend everyone starts:

  1. HTML & CSS
  2. Javascript
  3. Finally a “backend” language like Ruby or Python

After that, learning more and getting a deeper understand of a programming language of computer science basics in general makes sense.

Free - Unstructured

Free - Structured

Minimal Costs / Free Intros

Face to Face Courses (1-5 days) - Get a Taste or Level Up

Bootcamps - Make a Career Out Of It

  • Launch Academy
    • $12,500
    • 6 weeks interactive
    • 10 week in person bootcamp
    • career placement support
  • GSchool
    • $20,000
    • 24 week in person bootcamp
    • career placement support
  • The Starter League
    • $12,000
    • 12 weeks in person bootcamp
    • career placement support
  • bloc.io
    • $4,250
    • on-line video / mentoring bootcamp
    • approximately 12 weeks, but learn at your own pace
    • online meeting with mentor 3 times a week.
  • Betamore Academy
    • $3,000 - $3,400
    • 10 or 12 weeks
    • front-end or back-end course focus, in person bootcamp
    • career placement support
  • coding dojo
    • $9,850
    • 12 weeks in person bootcamp
  • The Flatiron School
    • $12,000
    • 4 weeks online
    • 12 week in person bootcamp
    • career placement support
  • Dev Bootcamp
    • $12,200
    • 9 week in person bootcamp
    • career placement support
  • HackReactor
    • $17,780
    • 12 weeks in person bootcamp
    • career placement support (98% graduate hiring rate)
  • Mobile Makers
    • $9,000
    • 8 weeks in person bootcamp
    • mobile / iOS focus
    • career placement support
  • Metis - with the guys from ThoughtBot
    • $12,500
    • 12 weeks in person bootcamp
    • career placement support

No Silver Bullet

I think all of this is really promising and interesting, but the industry is young. Mistakes will be made - some will be poorly trained, and some will be flat out ripped off while seeking knowledge. Make sure to research your choices, and just like college you really will get out of it what you put into it. As LeVar Burton says on Reading Rainbow, “But you don’t have to take my word for it.”


Thanks goes out to Andrew Thal, Ed Weng, and Emily Rocheleau for reading the draft of this post and making improvements. I am sure anyone who read the post understands it better for the help.


A friend is running a to help people find a dev camp that fits them well. Check out Coursereport.com - A programming bootcamp directory that features reviews, ratings for over 100 bootcamps worldwide.

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Dan Mayer Profile Pic
Welcome to Dan Mayer's development blog. I primary write about Ruby development, distributed teams, and dev/PM process. The archives go back to my first CS classes during college when I was first learning programming. I contribute to a few OSS projects and often work on my own projects, You can find my code on github.

Twitter @danmayer

Github @danmayer