Get coding

Coding is the language of the future – it is easy to learn and fun to use to make make your own website, game or app. It could even help you land your dream job. 

What is coding? [1 minute, 15 seconds]

What is coding?

Computers are amazing machines… but what makes them run? Coding is a list of step-by-step instructions that get computers to do what you want them to do. Coding makes it possible for us to create computer software, games, apps and websites.

There are many different coding languages. Coding languages are not like regular languages – there are no vocabularies or alphabets. They are more like codes – special commands, abbreviations and ways of arranging text. These various coding languages are used for specific purposes. Some popular ones include Python, Javascript, C++ and visual basic. Once you know the basics of coding, it is not hard to learn new languages.

People who write code for a living are called coders or programmers. They can be hired by global companies like Apple of Google, or they can even work from home on their own projects as freelancers. Often, people begin programming as a hobby and keep it as a fun pastime. If you love puzzles, mathematics, or are just curious about how machines work, coding is for you! 

How to get started?

So, you want to learn a coding language? Getting started with one of the most valuable skills for logical, strategic, and critical thinking may seem difficult. Luckily, learning is as easy as choosing a coding language and then experimenting with it!

Think about what you want to make or do with your code. Do you want to build websites? Try learning HTML, CSS or Javascript. Do you want to build mobile apps or games? Look up Swift, Objective-C or C++. Some languages are used for certain tasks. Make sure to pick a language that helps achieve your goals.

A great code to learn just for fun is Python. It is simple to read and requires fewer lines of code than other languages. Python can build basic websites, games, and databases, nearly anything you can imagine!

However before you get started, do not forget that learning code (or any new skill) is all about patience, experimenting, not being afraid to make mistakes and most importantly having fun! 

Where can I learn?

There are plenty of places online where you can learn to code. Even if you do not become the next big app developer, you will still pick up a skill that will come in handy in the long run, as technology runs more and more. Check out these free and fun websites, apps and gaming engines.

  • Hour of code is a great place to get started with your coding adventure! Make levels of Angry Birds and Plants Vs. Zombies as you learn the building blocks of programming, and then find lots of great resources to continue with whatever interests you.
  • Codecademy is well known for a wide range of easy to learn coding courses.  With interactive tutorials and interesting activities, it’s perfect for beginners.  
  • Codewars is where developers achieve code mastery by training with others through real code challenges. 
  • Coursera provides access to programming tutorials at a higher level.  It gives in-depth learning about different languages, what they do, and how to write code.
  • Girls Who Code is geared specifically toward 13- to 17-year-old girls, pairs instruction and mentorship to “educate, inspire and equip” students to pursue their engineering and tech dreams. Try their code at home activities.  
  • Dash is a self-learning site to get the basics of web development for beginners, including HTML and Javascript
  • Hopscotch is a step-by-step interactive learning app, available on IOS. Focuses on game creation first and code second. Doing so helps you learn how to code, often without realizing it. It also builds excitement for code and creation as you watch your ideas come to life.
  • Code Club Australia has free projects to get you coding at home. 
  • Scratch is a coding tool and community in one and is supported by MIT. You can program interactive games, stories, and animations and even submit creations to the online community to talk through challenges, receive feedback, and find teammates.
  • Tynker may be the most robust tool on this list. It starts with "visual blocks," before moving into coding languages. You can use the tool for a variety of projects, such as building apps, modifying Minecraft, or coding drones.
  • Blockly, from Google for Education, acts as a visual editor for five programming languages, including Java, Python, and PHP. Use the tool to see the relationship between code and effect, as well as to prevent incorrectly written code. The tool also features a game so that you can learn how to use the Blockly editor.
  • Alice focuses on teaching programming principles and computational thinking skills through an intuitive learning environment. Employ “block-based” programming to build animations, form interactive narratives, and program simple games. 
  • Codea aims to let users “touch their code,” literally when creating games and simulations or just about any visual idea you have. Turn your thoughts into interactive creations that make use of iPad features like Multi-Touch and the accelerometer.  
  • Stencyl employs a drag-and-drop programming tool, meaning you can create and publish games without getting lost in a coding language. 
  • LightBot is a puzzle game based on coding; it secretly teaches you programming logic as you play!
  • MIT App inventor is an intuitive, visual programming environment that allows everyone to build fully functional apps for smartphones and tablets.  
  • Swift Playgrounds lets you do so in a fun and highly-interactive way. Written in Apple’s own Swift language—which is used to develop iOS-specific apps—and offering a handful of varied coding courses, Swifts Playground is a surprisingly effective coding tool.  
  • Vidcode An online platform aimed at teens of all genders and backgrounds. Its goal is to incite excitement in teenage users by using social media culture and pop culture lingo to introduce coding. It offers general computer science courses, object-oriented programming, web programming, design, and JavaScript.
  • Gamestar Mechanic teaches you how to create your own video games by coding. 
  • Sploder is a free game creators, graphics and games created and shared by an energetic community of talented game makers and players.

Top things to borrow

Top eBooks

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On the web

  • Visit for an extensive array of coding content, covering virtually all of the most commonly used programs and apps, all available from one easy to use and navigate learning platform.  Enter your member number to get started.  
  • Watch How to program on Kanopy and learn the world’s most accessible and powerful computer language, Python.

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