My best-of beginner software development educational resources list

The educational resources that got me going

Over the course of the last few years, I transitioned career roles from an IT implementation project manager to software developer. I wanted to share some of the free and inexpensive resources that helped me get started in my education.

Note If a Udemy course is listed about $20, just wait a day. The site is constantly running sales that slash their course prices from $199 to $10-$15.

This list is sort of in order of my studies, as best as I can remember.

Automate the Boring Stuff (with python)

language: python

This is the first course I went through, and is the one that kickstarted my educational journey. It is a book and a Udemy course, though the entirety of the text and examples are on the website for free. This book assumes you have no coding background. It goes through the absolute basics, from loops to if statements to functions, and has you reading and writing files by the end of the course. This course is intended to teach you the basics and instill confidence in your furthering your coding education.

Colt Steele's SQL course

language: sql

I was dealing with large amounts of data at work, and decided it was in my best interest to learn SQL(often pronounced "sequel"). SQL allows you to persist data in database tables, and query the data. Advanced SQL can get pretty crazy, but introductory SQL is actually quite easy. Colt Steele is one of the best coding educators on the web - to the point with a great sense of humor - and by the end of this course I was reading and writing to SQL tables. Python has built in extensions to work well great with sqlite, allowing me to integrate read/write operations into my python programs.

Colt Steele's Web Development Bootcamp

language: html/css

I switched gears here to learn how to make websites, as I was doing work with friends back on the East Coast, and I volunteered to be the web guy. Again, Colt is a great teacher. This course includes javascript education as well, but at this point I was mostly here for the html/css education. This course also taught me the Bootstrap CSS framework, which I used for quite some time.

Flask - the Official docs

language: python

This isn't a course, but it is the next area I explored. Flask is a microframework for website serving, written in Python. With Flask, I could serve html pages.

Nick Walter's Django course

language: python

Django is a powerful and scaleable web framework. It does the same stuff Flask does - but it's more robust and opinionated. Nick Walter does a great job bringing you from zero to hero in the Django framework.

Instagram was built in Django. I ended up writing the website for the project with friends in Django - not that I'm comparing it to Instagram. I still have a Django server floating out there in a Digital Ocean droplet to host the random stuff I want on the internet. Shout out to this document specifically for helping me set up Django on my linux server. I returned to it time and time again.

Javascript - Understanding the Weird Parts

language: javascript

Javascript is the language that runs in your browser, and many modern day websites are written entirely in javascript. This was my introduction to the language, and the course is quite the deep dive. At this point, my understanding of python was enough that I was able to compare the two languages.

Wes Bos's JS30

language: javascript

This is the course that got me actually liking javascript. The course is available for free, and Wes sets up each lesson so that you learn something new with each lesson, and everything you build is actually really cool. By the end of the lesson, you have a drum kit that you just coded that you can play with your laptop keyboard - for example.

Vue JS 2 - The Complete Guide

language: Vuejs (javascript)

Vuejs is a javascript framework for developing single page applications. In the Vue vs. React vs. Angular (and now Svelte?) debate I firmly believe Vue is a great first javascript framework to learn. I still use Vuejs quite a lot today - including with this blog.

Modern React with Redux

language: ReactJs (javascript)

After learning Vue, I learned React, the Facebook developed big dog of Javascript frameworks. Stephen Grider is a great instructor, and I regularly reference this course for some of the specific techniques we learn, such as handling resizing of images when queries from an API endpoint. I made a few websites for friends in React with what I learned from the course.

React is best if you are comfortable writing in Javascript, as it really bakes itself into the language.

Tim Corey's C# Intro Course

language: C#

Tim Corey is an amazing resource for all things C#. He has a ton of free content on his youtube channel, as well as paid courses on his website. This was my first entry into a statically typed object oriented language, and Tim does a great job explaining all the domain specific concepts that I didn't get prior with Python of Javascript.


And by this point - I was a software developer

I spent a lot of time outside of these courses writing code and building based on what I learned. I learned python and sql quickly, since I was dealing with a lot of data at work, and had questions I needed answers to. I learned html/css/js to build websites for friends. I was able to supplement my education by actually building things with what I was learning. If I could do it all again, I'd do it the exact same way.

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