Beginner’s Resources to Learn Programming Languages

how to learn programming languages

When kids – or even adults – are ready to graduate from the usual playground equipment to something that can be even more fun and challenging, coding is here. Learning how to program gives you the skills to make the whole world of computer science your playground. These great resources will discuss the equipment and knowledge you need to get started in safety with the most important programming languages of the day. Put on your safety helmet and let’s dive in!


HTML – Hypertext Markup Language – is the most basic programming language in use out on the Web. All Web pages are composed of HTML and interpreted by Web browsers. CSS – or “Cascading Style Sheets” – can work together with HTML to apply specific colors and formatting to the entire layout of a website. This allows a webmaster to quickly change a site’s style without having to manually manipulate hundreds of individual HTML pages.

  • HTML & CSS Reference: This is a compendium of basic articles on the most important HTML and CSS topics for would-be “desktop publishers.”
  • Learning HTML for Kids: Kids can learn HTML, too! These pages offer a kid’s-eye view of the most important tags and other topics in HTML.
  • HTML at Khan Academy: Khan Academy is one of the leading places online to find free educational video content. It includes a number of HTML courses.
  • Learn HTML & CSS at Codecademy: Codecademy provides a large number of interactive, free courses on programming within your browser, including one on HTML.
  • Free HTML & CSS Tutorials: This tutorial, developed by a leading author on computer topics, will walk you through the process of designing your first HTML page.
  • HTML Beginner Tutorial: Here, you’ll find nearly a dozen chapters that serve as a detailed, free introduction to HTML.
  • W3Schools Free Tutorial: W3Schools is the site that programming professionals use to get an introduction to different coding languages. This particular tutorial covers HTML.
  • Learn CSS Layout: This interactive, browser-based experience will guide you through the important elements of a CSS file.
  • Learn CSS: This snapshot of CSS basics also links to a number of great resources you can use to take your CSS learning further.


Javascript is a technology for making websites dynamic – that is, allowing them to respond to user input and change “on the fly,” without having to be manually reloaded by the end user. Early Javascript had a bad reputation for security and performance issues. However, modern Javascript is used on millions of websites to generate fresh, exciting content and make sites more reactive – to the user and to the technology he or she views the site with.

  • Javascript Basics at Mozilla: Mozilla, the developer of the Firefox browser, is one of the biggest proponents of Javascript on the modern Web. This is the company’s Javascript tutorial, including a basic guide, reference, and more.
  • Free Interactive Tutorial: Here, you’ll undertake a learning exploration in Javascript by following a series of exercises directly from your browser and seeing your code work.
  • Introduction to Javascript (PPT): Want to understand why Javascript is important as well as its basic functions? This PowerPoint presentation is the quickest capsule introduction.
  • Javascript Basics: The University of Washington offers two powerful self-study workshops you can find online as well as a number of resources for exploring further.
  • Intro to Javascript: This article takes a computer science-focused approach to Javascript to help students see how it relates to other technologies on the Web.
  • Debugging Javascript (PDF): Debugging your code is one of the most important skills you can develop. This report serves as an introduction to one of the most effective debugging tools.
  • Javascript Learning Resources: This list of top resources helps you to learn Javascript and combine it with HTML, CSS, and other browser-based scripting technologies.
  • Web Wizard’s Guide to Javascript (PPT): Why should you learn Javascript? Where did it come from? What is its future like? Get the answers from this presentation.
  • Basic Javascript: To reach its potential, Javascript needs to work hand in hand with HTML. Here’s a page that goes into detail about how that happens.

The jQuery library is one of the reasons why Javascript has become so popular both on the World Wide Web and in apps for mobile devices. When used alongside ordinary Javascript, jQuery provides a number of great features including HTML manipulation and animation. These features could be manually coded with Javascript, but the jQuery library makes it possible to generate them quickly and integrate them into a site’s larger strategy.

  • Official jQuery Site: This is the official site of jQuery. It has news and information related to the latest version, as well as resources you can use to learn.
  • The jQuery Foundation: The jQuery Foundation is the nonprofit organization that champions jQuery development. It sponsors annual conferences that can help jQuery users enhance their skills.
  • The jQuery Cheat Sheet: This site expresses the syntax of virtually all jQuery tools in an easy-to-read format. It’s cross-linked with official documentation to explain each concept.
  • jQuery Fundamentals: This is an online tutorial that combines explanations and exercises to help you get used to jQuery fast.
  • Free jQuery Tutorial: In just a single page, you’ll learn all kinds of information about jQuery by developing a simple script and seeing it in action.
  • Intro to jQuery Mobile: The mobile implementation of jQuery makes it an ideal solution for smartphone and tablet applications. On this page, you’ll learn more about it.
  • The jQuery Mobile Tutorial: Want to bring jQuery mobile? This site will help you do it through learning resources that incorporate the programming needs of mobile technology.


Like Javascript, PHP is a scripting language that works alongside ordinary HTML to generate dynamic content. PHP is more scalable and stable than Javascript, and it can be coupled with a database implementation to provide large-scale dynamic sites – for example, forums or social media websites. Unlike some other options, PHP can be used without a Web browser; in fact, you could even develop a complete desktop application with it.

  • Learning PHP: Get acquainted with the basic functions of PHP on this site and you’ll also find a number of useful “cheat sheets” to get your learning started.
  • Getting Started With PHP: Here, you’ll uncover the official documentation for PHP. Everything there is to know about developing your first interactive PHP page starts here.
  • Interactive PHP Tutorial: As you work through this interactive tutorial in your browser, you’ll progress from the simplest PHP scripts to much more complex ones.
  • Intro to Basic PHP: This single-page guide serves as a basic reference to all of the most fundamental PHP topics, going from the simplest to the most advanced as you scroll.
  • PHP the Right Way: This is the home of a free online book that has been translated into dozens of languages and provides a comprehensive introduction to PHP.
  • Code Course: Code Course serves a repository of free educational videos on coding. In addition to PHP, some videos cover HTML, CSS, and even Javascript from the perspective of making them work together with PHP.
  • PHP Buddy: This thorough learning resource includes a “Quick Start Guide” as well as detailed articles on installing PHP and using helpful scripts.
  • Why Learn PHP?: Why should you learn PHP? This site will help you understand just how versatile PHP is and where it fits in on the World Wide Web.
  • Index of PHP Classes: PHP “classes” can fundamentally alter the behavior of your program. This site is a directory of free classes you can integrate within your own code.


Python is a programming language that can be used for a wide range of purposes. Programming experts enjoy Python because it allows them to incorporate a number of different high-level programming strategies or methodologies, while many languages favor just one. Newcomers to programming appreciate the fact that Python syntax is designed to be easily read and understood by humans and to express even complex ideas in small amount of code.

  • Learn Python the Hard Way: This is the free, HTML version of a leading book that focuses on learning the Python language. It’s packed with information, tips, and exercises.
  • Free Interactive Python Tutorial: This tutorial will take you step-by-step through a series of exercises using Python code that you type directly into your Web browser of choice.
  • Getting Started With Python: The official Python website offers free learning resources for programmers who are new to Python as well as for people who have never coded before.
  • PythonLearn Free Materials: These learning materials, including code examples and videos, allow you to learn Python alone, with or without the textbook they’re based on.
  • Python for Everybody: With this massive online course, you have the opportunity to get the complete experience of learning Python through a university-level introduction.
  • Learn Python, Break Python: This free, online book provides a comprehensive bird’s-eye view of the Python programming language, replete with plenty of examples.
  • Crash Into Python: Want to learn Python in a weekend? This is an accessible introduction to all the basic functions you need to know to get started.
  • Best Python Resources: Full Stack Python is a well-established Python site that offers dozens of tutorials divided into “new to programming” and “new to Python” flavors.
  • Dive into Python: This free book focuses particularly on the challenges that programmers familiar with other languages might face when migrating to Python.
  • Interactive Python Textbook: This online book not only provides a solid grounding in the fundamentals of Python, but also helps new coders to think in computer science terms.


Ruby is a relatively new programming language that was developed and popularized in Japan in the mid-1990s. It has since spread throughout the globe. A full-featured programming language, it focuses on simplicity – handling many complex, high-level functions “behind the scenes” to eliminate redundant work and reduce human error. Ruby is the programming language used with Ruby on Rails, an enormously popular framework for developing Web applications.

  • Learn Ruby the Hard Way: With this free online book, readers will learn all the foundational concepts of Ruby by typing up increasingly challenging exercises.
  • RubyMonk: RubyMonk is a leading Ruby learning site where visitors decode Ruby challenges in a straightforward, browser-based interface.
  • Ruby Quickstart: This guide comes from the official site of the Ruby language and is tied into its comprehensive documentation.
  • Try Ruby: Want to see what Ruby can do? This site will walk you through some Ruby basics that you’ll see demonstrated right in your browser.
  • I Want to Learn Ruby: This page lists a number of the most popular Ruby learning resources, including several where you can build entire websites from scratch.
  • Ruby Koans: With Ruby Koans, users are challenged to use a “test-first” approach to uncover the answers to real Ruby programming challenges and learn the basics of the language.
  • Ruby on Rails Tutor: This tutorial reveals the basics of Ruby on Rails and how it relates to Ruby, giving you the background you need to create your first site.
  • Ruby Style Guide: Ruby, like others languages, has certain conventions programmers use to make their code readable. Top members of the Ruby community have come together to document many of these conventions here.
  • TestFirst Teaching: This content delves deeper into the “test first” methodology for developing Ruby code that performs the way you expect it to. Before trying out these exercises, it’s important to have installed Ruby.