Every professional developer or web design freelancer needs to learn new skills and keep them up-to-date. Acquiring new skills is a valuable asset for increasing your potential to find new, suitable jobs and to get hired. Your clients and potential employers will always be interested in someone who masters the latest trends and tools in tech.
Online coding courses and other learning material can often be quite expensive, though. There are also courses that aren’t really necessary or relevant for your specific field. Moreover, you might sometimes be interested in learning something that feels intriguing but isn’t really that valuable for you in the future.
So, all in all, you might end up paying a big buck for your coding education. That is why you should plan your learning process thoroughly in the long run. Knowing what you need to learn before you actually start looking for the suitable resources is the best thing you can do to help yourself save time and money.
That’s why – after a long hiatus – I’ve put together this post based on my experience with 7 tips that will help you get your money’s worth with online coding courses. Thus, if you are learning how to code in order to become a professional web developer, this post is for you!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase a course using an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission for referring you. But please, only purchase a course if you feel like you need it and think that it will help you reach your goals with coding. Thanks for your support!
7 tips to save time and money while learning coding
1: Know your goals
The first thing you need to ask yourself is: what do I want to create with coding? This is a topic I’ve covered in several past posts. And for a good reason! I mean, how could you ever reach your goal if you haven’t got one?
So, take as much time as you need to figure out what you wish to do with programming in the future. Websites, games, apps, data analysis? The list is long, so try and choose one area to focus on.
For some more tips and help to get you going, check out my previous post about how to choose your first programming language.
— Read also: 14 Programming Languages Explained For Beginners
2: Create a list of things you really need to learn
Once you have a goal, it’s time to find out what tools you need to learn to get there. There are plenty of different programming languages, platforms, and frameworks that you can choose from. In some areas, you have several options, whilst with others your hands are somewhat tied.
— See also: HTML and CSS Courses For Beginners
On the other hand, if you choose to focus on coding and data analysis, you have several good options to choose from. For example, the Python programming language is a great tool for conducting data mining.
3: Find out which tools you can learn for free
Luckily, not all courses or tools come with a price tag. There are lots of resources available out there for free.
Surely, there are sometimes differences in quality between paid and free courses and tutorials. However, what it all comes down to is how motivated and driven you are. This translates directly into how much time and effort you are willing to put into practising and building you own projects. That’s definitely the best way to learn what coding and web development are all about.
If you are just starting out with learning programming, you probably don’t have a clear idea about what you need to learn just yet. If that’s the case for you, finding some good, free beginner-level tutorials and resources should be your next step.
— Read also: 8 Great Websites For Learning Coding For Free
To get a better idea about how coding works and what tools you can learn in the first place, take some time to get familiar with the different fields you can use coding in. Perhaps you could find a few beginner-friendly lectures or tutorials on YouTube to see if you find the topic interesting.
4: Don’t do course-hopping – learn what you need
With so many courses available online, you will inevitably feel the temptation to enroll in several ones just to take a look at what they are all about. Some courses also come at a very affordable price, making it even easier to start course-hopping around.
However, if you really wish to learn something properly, try to focus on one course at a time. Even if the courses are free!
Be consistent with your learning. Prepare a learning schedule and follow through with it.
Not only will you end up with better skills in that specific topic but you will also make quicker overall progress. Your mind can focus on just one thing and course at a time, which makes learning so much easier for you. Thus, you can easily get your money’s worth with online coding course simply by doing one thing at a time.
— Read also: 13 Tips For Finishing Every Coding Course You Start
5: Compare different learning platforms
Depending on which learning platform you go for, you generally choose between course-based vs. subscription-based pricing.
With the former, you choose an individual coding course you wish to enroll in and pay a fixed price for it. With the latter, you opt for a monthly subscription fee that gives you access to all courses and contents with that specific platform.
For instance, Udemy provides a seemingly endless number of online coding course for beginners. They are fully separate entities created by different teachers and instructors. Therefore, Udemy is a great choice for both learning the basics as well as for deepening your knowledge in specific topics. Start with a beginner-level course and when the next promo comes along, purchase another, more advanced-level course. If you can, find a course that covers a topic very comprehensively. This will not only save you money, but learning from just one instructor is easier than switching to another one along the way.
Treehouse, on the other hand, uses a subscription-based pricing system. A monthly fee will give you access to ALL content they have. The biggest advantage of subscription-based pricing is the incentive to finish your course in a timely manner. What I also love about Treehouse is the excellent quality of their courses. They plan and produce all of their material themselves. Therefore, all courses have a professional, consistent structure and feel to them. Give Treehouse a try with their FREE 7-day trial!
6: Read course reviews
Whenever you find an interesting course you’d consider taking, check out the reviews from past and current students. Almost all online course platforms provide a list of reviews and comments that are available for anyone to see. Some might simply have a 1-to-5 star rating system in place, while some might have entire discussion forums for each course. They’re usually filled with valuable points about the contents and methodologies concerning that specific course.
There really is no better indicator about how well a course will suit your needs and skills than hearing and reading what others think about it.
7: Know exactly what the course includes
Take a careful look at the curriculum. Depending on your current skills, you might prefer to have a more or less comprehensive introduction to the tools and programming languages used in a specific online coding course. Alternative, you might already possess the necessary skills to start working on real-life projects right away.
Therefore, take a quick glance at the contents of the course. Simply put: choose a course that matches your current starting level. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to see that the course includes practical projects that allow you to build something relevant and interesting for your portfolio.
I have seen coding courses with names that have very little to nothing to do with the course contents. There’s nothing wrong with giving an appealing name to a course, but there’s plenty wrong with paying for one.
Based on my experience, I’ve put together a list with the best coding courses and other learning resources for beginners – take a look!
Summing it all up: How To Get Your Money’s Worth With Online Coding Courses
Getting the most out of your online coding courses can de difficult at times. The sheer abundance of available resources makes it difficult to find the best match for your needs and preferences. Moreover, you will need to have a lot of discipline, determination, and focus for actually completing each course you enroll in.
I hope you found this post helpful – these points have helped me find the most suitable and useful courses for learning coding in the past years. It really does make an immense difference sometimes – so make sure you compare and look beyond the surface when choosing your next coding course! Sometimes a $10 course might really be the best investment – sometimes you might be best off with simply using free resources.
If you are just starting out with learning coding, now is the best time to plan everything out. As you start, you will encounter new topics on a daily basis. They might all feel really interesting, so it’s easy to lose your focus. Trust me, I’ve been there! But once you have a clear goal in mind and a plan for getting there, you won’t get distracted that easily.
Just remember that in order to achieve a goal, you first need to have one.
All in all, the most important thing is to know what you wish to achieve with coding. Here’s a helpful post for getting you started with learning programming by yourself.
Please leave your comments below and if you find this post helpful, don’t forget to share it so others can find it, too! Cheers!