Internet Self Improvement

7 Unique Ways to Practice Your Coding Skills

Saikat Basu 14-11-2014

“I am 24 years old and just started learning coding. I want to be a programmer. Am I too late in the game?”


One of the upvoted answers to this on came from graphic artist Michel Poisson.

I’m 63, and eight months ago I decided to teach myself Blender 3D. It’s open source, written in C, and uses Python for scripting. Last summer it was HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and PHP. So from my perspective, 24 is as good a time as any.

The 40 years between the respondent and the doubter is the chink in our thought process that says it’s a young man’s game. Let’s repeat – there’s no age to learning. Once you are on that path, you just have to keep practicing. And today there are more ways than one way to sharpen your coding chops.

If you have picked up a programming language to learn How To Pick A Programming Language To Learn Today & Get A Great Job In 2 Years It can take years of dedicated work to become a truly good programmer; so is there a way to choose the right language to start from today, in order to get hired tomorrow? Read More , let’s start the class with some innovative websites.

 Dash – Learn With Projects

Learning to Code - Dash

Learn: HTML, CSS, JavaScript


Dash is similar to Codecademy with its immersive project-based approach, and the tutorials walk you through five projects of increasing difficulty. Limited to the three web technologies for now, it is well-designed for a beginner and completely free. From building a personal website to a Madlibs game, a would-be coder has to unlock 82 skills by going through checkpoints in the lessons.

Dash is designed for incremental learning – you cannot go to the next skill unless you unlock the previous one. The Dash projects are short and based on real-world needs. Each has a “storyline” – with a semblance of reality as you build projects for fictitious clients. The Dash editor also allows you to toggle the “what you see” display from a computer monitor to a mobile phone.

The Code Player Learn From Screencasts

Learning to Code - Codeplayer

Learn: HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript.


Learning with screencasts from coders is another interesting take on how to build something with code. This isn’t quite suited for beginners but if you have some experience under your belt, the code player shows you the art of making timer or stylish calculator from scratch. Beginners can take inspiration from the fact that a few lines of code creates digital art.

Play it at different speeds. Use the timeline slider for pausing and rewinding the bits you miss. For every walkthrough, read the description and the comments. If you wanted to watch someone creating something with code, at a pace that suits you, The Code Player is ideal.

Talent Buddy – Learn With Quizzes & Puzzles

Learning to Code - Talent Buddy

Learn: JavaScript and other languages from C to Scala.


Solve coding quizzes that include Java, Ruby, Python, PHP and more. The site has paid mentorship programs with expert software developers helping students develop web development skills. It is a three month program. But you can login for free and try the fun problems on the built-in editor. The quizzes can help you hone your skills and provide immediate feedback via the editor. Talent Buddy may not be for everyone as it is a paid program, but the quizzes help you exercise your skills.

Codewars – Learn From Real Code Challenges

Learning to Code - Codewars

Learn: JavaScript, CoffeeScript, Ruby, Python, Clojure, Haskell.

Pitting yourself against someone better than you might be the fastest way to learn – every athlete knows this “secret”. Codewars is another platform for programmers to scale-up their skills by training with others on real code challenges. But here’s the catch – you have to prove yourself in the programming language of your choice during sign-up. The startup asks you to solve a “kata” before you are allowed in, similar to the ethos of a martial art school.


Codewars isn’t the first place for a beginner. It could develop into an online society where talented coders can compete, collaborate, and unite around programming challenges – but only once they have some experience under their belts.

CodeWars is another community effort with crowdsourced code challenges and solutions. Some code blocks are forkable allowing others to contribute (i.e. a “kumite”). Elements of gamification make it fun. For instance, katas increase in difficulty, and you earn honor points as you successfully go through them. It’s not easy for a newbie, but definitely is one of the more fun ways to practice your coding skills Bored With Programming Books? Try 3 Fun Ways To Level Up Your Coding Skills If you've ever tried to learn to code from a book, you know how boring it can be. Why not try some engaging options to make learning more quirky and fun. Read More .

Codaround – Learn With The Community [No Longer Available] 

Learning to Code - Codearound

Learn: JavaScript, Ruby, and iOS programming

Learning is frequently more effective when one interacts with peers who are better at your chosen skill than you are. Codaround (beta) is a brand spanking new learning forum that is trying to bring a touch of group learning to self-teaching. Previously known as Hackavard, Codaround is bringing the community close to the solo-learner. In the crowd of social tools and meetup services, Codaround keeps its focus on the burgeoning community of coders.

Register with Facebook, specify your expertise level and you are in. The site is part chat and part meetup planning platform. Want to learn something – announce it on the site and meetup with learning partners at a convenient location. You can also use the site to see if some meetups are happening nearby.

Being very new, the interactions are few and mostly within the U.S. There are better ways to mingle with the coding community, but Codaround is another option you can keep an eye on if it grows.

Programmr – Learn With A “Simulator”

Learning to Code - Programmr

Learn: 19 technologies from Android to SQL

Programmr is designed to be a programming simulator for learning and practicing coding skills. The platform covers technologies like AngularJS, Backbones, PHP, Python and more. The site calls itself an “an online interactive lab” for beginner coders to code, compile and run projects within the browser. The “auto-faculty” module provides instant feedback to students as they complete the exercises and challenges. You code your own applications, then embed them like YouTube videos.

You can practice with the help of coding exercises and challenges. Make your own project and add it to the pool of 3000+ projects on the site. Or dip into these projects and learn how they were made. There doesn’t seem to be any open contests right now, but keep an eye to win some Amazon gift cards and a spot on the leaderboard!

CheckIO – Learn With Gamification

Learning to Code - CheckIO

Learn: Python

Gamification of coding is the latest trend…especially for teaching kids the basic programming concepts through a game The 11 Best Coding Games for Kids to Learn Programming Want to get your children interested in programming? Try the best coding games for kids to push them in the right direction. Read More . CheckIO is a code gaming platform for coders who want to learn some Python skills. Python is one of the common programming languages taught to beginners. On CheckIO, programming landmarks are called “islands”. You have to undertake programming challenges or “missions” to go from one island to the next. CheckIO crowdsources the coding puzzles that make up the challenges in each island.

The crowdsourcing is unique with three learning opportunities – contribute puzzles via GitHub, help with translating the puzzles in 10 languages, and offer hints to problem solvers. With the combination of community and gaming, users can design missions, challenge their peers and help each other improve their code in the process. CheckIO has turned into one of the popular destinations for learning Python The 5 Best Websites to Learn Python Programming Want to learn Python programming? Here are the best ways to learn Python online, many of which are entirely free. Read More .

How Do You Learn Coding?

Old-timers must be amused. Many of us learned it the hard way…with a computer science degree or from programming books. If you’re a beginner, you can use professional code samples Top 10 Professional Sample Code Websites for Programmers Looking to learn and create applications with example code snippets? Here are the best free code sample websites to start with. Read More to improve your coding skills. And if you’re looking for a fun exercise, you can put your new-found coding skills to use by making your own game with game development software.

If you’re into coding as a job, take these coding challenges 8 Coding Challenges and Competitions That May Lead to Money or Jobs Online programming contests can offer job breakthroughs or simple cash rewards. Take your pick from these coding challenges. Read More to advance your skills and your career prospects. But if you’re struggling with learning to code, check out some powerful automated tools you can make without coding Don't Want to Learn Coding? 5 Ways to Still Make Powerful Automated Tools Does not knowing how to code stop you from building things online? Start now because "no-code" tools like these are here to help. Read More knowledge.

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  1. L. Retlemecaf
    July 15, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Wow. This is more than helpful. I look forward to coming back to this page for more inspiration.

    I'm just turning 24 myself and got a little Linux machine of my own a few weeks ago. Both my parents worked forever it feels like with computers, but for the longest time all I seemed to cared about was video games. Just now getting into the real game I look at languages like C++ and feel like it's too late for me.

    Hearing of someone who is comfortable talking about how it really is without being condescending, but instead encouraging, is quite refreshing.

    Thank you for your exemplary attitude.

  2. Mason
    February 23, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Great article and resources, thanks for your reviews. I've been trying to find ways to get my coding skills up to speed, after a number of months working in different fields. Having such a variety of options is such a luxury, crazy times! Thanks again! Peace~

    • Saikat Basu
      February 25, 2017 at 5:44 am

      Great! Wishing you best of luck on your coding journey, Mason.

  3. Jorawar Singh
    October 4, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Nice job sir. Precisely, I see that this stuff sounds something new to me. As I came across many other things which I discovered could help me make through as a beginner. These spearheading websites are literally a newer way to explore a programming language that has a combined blend of Programming and Gaming. Now, I think I could make my way down to learning coding skills the better way. I would be pleased to stay in touch with you for further updates on programming and various FAQs encompassing it. Thanks a million, Sir. Regards. #JS

    • Saikat Basu
      October 6, 2016 at 4:30 am

      Thanks Jorwar. Wishing you all the luck on your coding journey.

  4. Alex Lyabah
    September 8, 2016 at 3:53 am

    thanks for mentioning CheckiO.

    We have just released one of the biggest upgrade there. New UI, JavaScript support, ClassRooms and a lot of other cool features

    • Saikat Basu
      September 15, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks Alex! Checking it out.

  5. Udean
    March 11, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    NIce its very helpful

  6. Tanmay Kumar
    January 27, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Thanks for the post, I came to know about "Dash" and "Programmr" via your post. But you have to make a edit, "Talent Buddy" and "Codaround" are closed now.

    • Saikat Basu
      January 27, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks Tanmay,

      Are you on a coding journey? How's the learning going?

      Yeah, this post is almost two years old now. That's almost an eon in Internet years!

      • Tanmay Kumar
        January 28, 2016 at 3:22 pm

        Truly speaking , I started my coding journey few months back, and these interactive sites help me a lot, these are like "Do while you Learn" .

        Can you suggest me some more sites like these for beginner level learning ,
        except Treehouse, Codeavenger because they take a huge amount.


        • Saikat Basu
          January 28, 2016 at 3:41 pm

          What are you learning? Try something like for learning on the go. Or for some fun.

        • Tanmay Kumar
          January 29, 2016 at 3:48 am

          First of all thanks for suggesting "" , it is awesome. :)

          Being an IT student I have to focus on many things like previous year we have C in our syllabus , this year I have to learn C++ and Visual Basic, but as I realize that by following university syllabus I can't learn coding. So I am started doing it myself.

          Personally I am now focusing on HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

          Is there any sites which can teach Visual Basic ???

        • Saikat Basu
          January 29, 2016 at 6:12 am

 is good but paid. Most of the others like Udemy also are paid. There are other online resources of course, but haven't been able to find one that mixes gamification elements and a bit of fun. Will search a bit more.

          You can take a look at this Quora thread also.

        • Tanmay Kumar
          January 31, 2016 at 4:25 am

          Thank you for showing your concern towards my question. :)

          I know about Lynda that is good , Udemy ,Coursera and Edx are also good.

          But my experience till now is that interactive sites are Codecademy, DASH etc. are more better.

          And if I need video tutorials I will go with YouTube.....

  7. Anonymous
    June 19, 2015 at 11:23 am

    More and more I discover these sites that introduce programming though some "fun" concept and I must say that it's unfortunate that these concepts did not exist when I started.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe that if you enjoy programming then almost any learning approach that you take will be (should be) interesting.
    But I can't help to wonder how I would do with some other approach like gamification.

    Also regarding the Talent Buddy, I like sites like this, they offer a collection of coding tests which are fun to solve (if you are into a problem solving tasks... which as a programmer you should be). Anyway in case you're interested here is another site similar to it:

    • Anonymous
      November 7, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      Thanks! I was looking for a website similar to Talent Buddy since they announced shutting it down..

  8. anonymous
    May 20, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    are there any similar stuff for c++ or embedded c?

  9. Michael
    March 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    One massive sugguestion that is missing from this list is WRITE A GAME, games of any kind usually use a great deal of mathematics, methodology and need to follow a straight forward logic and when you create a game out of it, make an ENGINE of it which encourages greater modular code and really gets you into the nitty gritties of your chosen language.

    • Saikat
      March 21, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Michael,

      That's a very good suggestion. Even simple games can be good mental exercises in design and logic.

  10. Chris
    November 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Nothing is more efficient for learning a new language than really wanting something. Pick a project, mandate that you have to use the new language to do it (to the greatest extent reasonably possible) and go. If you really care about the project, you won't even feel the pain of learning, just the obsession.

    • Saikat
      November 21, 2014 at 7:25 am

      Personally, that's what I am doing right now. With a few ideas built around HTML5 games. It is slow going but I hope it will be fruitful in the long run.

  11. Geert Vancompernolle
    November 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I'm learning almost my whole life. From my 12th (I'm 52 now). The time you got your grade at school (whatever grade it was) and then did not have to learn anything anymore for the rest of your life, is long behind us. The saying "The times they are a changing", once sung by Bob Dylan, is hotter than ever before.
    The times, society, technology,... have changed drastically recently, so one is almost obliged to keep on learning to keep pace with the ever faster moving technology and knowledge train.
    Maybe one level higher, but Coursera is giving superb courses from universities all over the US (and even beyond). For free. And you can even earn a degree with it, if you want.
    Yes, also "older" people still (have to?) learn... :-)

    • Saikat
      November 19, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Today, EVERYONE has to learn :)

      Even if you don't want to, the rapid pace of innovation and information "fire hosing" forces you to take some in by osmosis!

  12. WEC
    November 18, 2014 at 7:18 am

    I attended CodeCademy ( HTML & CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby, PHP.

    • Saikat
      November 18, 2014 at 11:41 am

      How was your experience with it? From my own, I can say that it's great for introducing yourself to coding. But down the line it needs more depth.

  13. Crev
    November 18, 2014 at 4:18 am

    im SAP practitioner also. Is there an ABAP site like these? :)

    • Saikat
      November 19, 2014 at 10:06 am

      Not sure. Certainly none that makes it as easy as the above. SAP has a community network. You can ask there. There was a Practice Server I think, but it could be open to only licensed vendors.

  14. Richard Rivers
    November 18, 2014 at 1:57 am

    I'm just 89 years old, but managed to teach myself enough C# syntax over the last six months to make it read data files, plot graphs with log-probability scales using the data, and print them on paper. This has come in handy in submitting papers to peer-reviewed journals. I have had some previous coding experience, starting with an IBM card-reading monster that you programmed by connecting jumper wires between "steps" . If I remember correctly, the computer could handle about 70 steps, each something like "if A, then goto B". Your advice is excellent, and I will explore some of the sites named. I would only add to the student, don't be discouraged by the occasional misinformation available from support groups. With grim determination, you will probably eventually find the answer to your problem that works on your compiler version.

    • Saikat
      November 18, 2014 at 4:07 am

      Hi Richard,

      This is very inspirational. Your story is very similar to my father's, who at the young age of 78 is still finding new things to learn. About three years back he developed a Patient Management System with Visual Studio for the hospital he works for. All on his own. Just like you he was trained on those card reading monsters :)

  15. Scahack
    November 18, 2014 at 1:03 am

    After some classes in coding there is no substitute for getting dumped into code maintenance with some deadlines in place. Peer code reviews can also toughen your skills up too. I think that real coding problems i.e. Needing to fix something or needing to build something are the best way to learn coding.

    • Saikat
      November 18, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Another way of saying, "just get your hands dirty". I guess you learn pretty fast what's good code and what's bad. Then learning how to optimize it. Plus, many companies have a healthy budget for these tasks and the slots for beginners.

  16. Saikat
    November 15, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for the feedback Sam.

    That's actually interesting. One can take that gamfication concept and apply it to what you wrote for a new "startup/web tool". Should be great for coders.

  17. dragonmouth
    November 14, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    "How Do You Learn Coding?"
    Practice, practice, practice.

    I took one semester of Visual Basic at the local community college, then never used it for fun or profit. I took one semester of COBOL at the same college, did not get to use it until about 5 years later, then worked as a COBOL programmer for the next 15 years, including Y2K conversion. All the other languages I know, I learned through OJT (On the job training). I would learn a language by making changes in existing software, making and correcting my mistakes. Then when I got fluent enough, I would start writing new programs from scratch.

    • Saikat
      November 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Through the hundreds of comments you have posted here, we finally get to know a bit about you. COBOLprogrammers are a very rare breed now.

      Am I wrong in assuming that OJT turned out to be the quickest way to learn?

      I pretty much learnt on my own, supplemented by my father's tutoring. Hated Java, but liked At least, some of it helped me in my SAP job later on. After seven years of writing for MakeUseOf, what I remember now can be put on the back of a postage stamp! But yeah -- picking up JavaScript again.

    • dragonmouth
      November 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      "we finally get to know a bit about you"
      Drats, discovered at last! :-)
      Sorry to disappoint you. I haven't worked with COBOL since the Y2K scare ended with a whimper.

      "Am I wrong in assuming that OJT turned out to be the quickest way to learn?"
      In the same way that one learns quickly how to swim when one winds up in water over one's head. It's a case of "learn or lose your job." I think OJT is also the most indelible method of learning. Even though I have not coded in 7 years, I'm sure that with a week's practice I could be back to speed in any language I learned during my career.

      One thing that helps with learning computer langauges is an aptitude for spoken languages.

    • Saikat
      November 17, 2014 at 10:15 am

      There are some areas of logical overlap between programming languages and foreign languages. Patterns could be one. Hebbian learning through experience and repetition happens in both. Plus, I can definitely say -- both give you a shot of confidence :)

      The interesting thing are the sheer number of non-English programming languages

  18. Sam
    November 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    CheckiO was cool to pump up my Python skills when I just started to learn coding, but didn't know where to practice. Would be great if the game had a goal, like "game your way to get a job"