Today’s world is all about technology, which means people who can develop software and applications are in very high demand. Many companies that need help with development have found there simply aren’t enough qualified programmers to go around. So, whether it’s languages like HTML, CSS, or Java for basic development or Python or SQL for analyzing data, familiarizing yourself with and applying even one of these languages to your work could mean big advancements for your company.
Businesses that need programming talent but can’t find or don’t have the resources to hire top tech candidates often choose to build the skills of their internal team to supplement their needs. However, it’s not always clear how to go about implementing this professional development, especially on a small-business budget. Fortunately, there are countless free and low-cost tools, courses, and programs that can help teams boost their programming skills.
To help you narrow down the list, we asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share their top tool recommendations for businesses that want to build programming into their professional development flow. Read through their recommendations to find the right course of action for you, your team and your business.
“There are now more options than ever. Someone could join a degree program, but that’s not always necessary now. If you have specific software that your employees need to learn, you might bring in a trainer who specializes in that, perhaps even from the company that created it. For widely used software, there are great courses offered by Treehouse and CodeGym.” – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
“Udemy is an excellent resource for those who want to learn more programming skills and expand on their knowledge. It has more than 150,000 courses to choose from in many different industries, including development and software.” – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
“Codecademy offers courses and resources for both beginners and more expert programmers, and they are simple to utilize. They also come with quizzes and projects like you would see in a more traditional course setting.” – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
4. Stack Overflow
“The first thing that comes to my mind is Stack Overflow. It’s a massive online community where developers can learn from their peers, share their programming knowledge, support each other and build their careers. It’s going to be useful for anyone, from a complete rookie to an experienced senior developer.” – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
“Platforms and boot camps are limited in terms of developing real practical skills. New hires should focus on building an in-depth pet project or two, releasing them on GitHub or even launching them as ‘production-grade apps.’ Practical projects, transparently developed online, are the only way to assess raw development skills for interns and junior applicants.” – Mario Peshev, DevriX
“Although this is an unlikely suggestion, it’s a helpful one. I think that anyone can benefit from doing a few coding courses on Skillshare. Even though Skillshare is associated with artistic courses, you will find great coding classes on it. What makes it different and helpful is that the approach on this platform is more holistic. You’ll learn to think like a coder rather than just master tools.” – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
7. Job Ready Programmer
“Job Ready Programmer is a learning platform that offers a dynamic range of courses specific to programming. What my team has found useful about this program are the assignments provided to students, which create a practical and real-world approach to learning skills. You walk away not only understanding the concepts, but also knowing how to actionably use them on a daily basis.” – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers P.A.
“Coursera is a reliable platform to use for finding coding courses, among many other skills relevant to your business. You can find free courses or pay for them if you wish. They allow for remote learning, which is now more important, and can speak to my employees’ interests in specific skills and fields.” – Duran Inci, Optimum7
“Codewars is a fun and effective way to learn how to code or freshen up your skills. The website uses a series of challenges to teach students how to write, understand and read code. The challenges increase in difficulty, and you can look at how other people solved the problem after offering your solution. I like this feature because it helps me understand how other people solve problems.” – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
“I’ve used edX in the past when I wanted to make sure I was up to date on the latest trends. The website is open-source, so there’s a ton of great lessons from people all over the world. Many of the classes are free, but there are premium courses available for people interested in diving in and fully understanding a new coding language.” – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
11. Google’s certification course
“To remain competitive nowadays, most companies should expect and put a plan in place to help their employees gain basic coding skills or knowledge. Google just recently launched its new course in coding language called the Google IT Automation With Python Professional Certificate. It’s just one of the many programming for automation opportunities employers and employees should take a look at.” – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
“I think this is one of the best sites out there for learning programming skills for a couple of reasons, but one is that it approaches programming from foundational concepts but still manages to make the whole process beginner-friendly. Starters usually get caught up in chasing one technology after another, and it can be a confusing process. Pluralsight gives the process structure.” – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
13. Online forums about programming
“To develop any skill, it is important to be part of a community where the content focuses on the development and understanding of the skills. To learn to code more effectively, join online communities on forums and social media so that you can ask questions. You can also learn by finding solutions to other people’s problems, which is why a community is helpful.” – Blair Williams, MemberPress
14. Local coding boot camps
“If your business is located in a densely populated area like Austin or San Francisco, look into local coding boot camps. Sponsoring team members to take these courses can quickly get them up to speed on important programming skills. Additionally, you can avoid diminishing your business’s productivity by spending work time on training.” – Bryce Welker, Beat the CPA
“Before identifying tools or courses, I believe identifying people who want to learn programming is more important. I had my bachelor’s and master’s in computer science, and I can tell you that you don’t learn programming with courses. Instead, you teach yourself and you search to find the tools you need. Companies should listen to who is interested and guide them or even pay for the tools that the individual sees fit.” – Tolga Tanriseven, GirlsAskGuys