How to Learn Anything Online, Including Programming

Tomas Laurinavicius coding.
I can code anywhere, home, hotel, airport or a restaurant in Bali, like in the picture above.

I believe that education is the most powerful force in the world. To be exact, self-education. It doesn't matter if you are in a university or studying in a library, it's self-education. If you want to learn something, you'll find a way, and on the other hand, if you don't want to learn, even the best university or teacher won't be able to put knowledge into your head.

Since 2007, I was intensively learning online. I started out with Photoshop, then I dived into front-end development and learned HTML & CSS. Then, I became curious about JavaScript and eventually learned how to build websites using WordPress. Once I got decent skills in that field, I started experimenting, learning by doing and creating real projects that turned into my current career.

Reasons why learning anything online is awesome

Learning online allowed me to become my own boss and focus on things that excite me. Instead of following orders and lesson plans designed for general public, I was able to learn things on my own, copy others, ask questions and even start working for money by applying those skills I've learned. Could it get even better? It could.

After some time, I realised that millions of people around the world are learning things online. So I decided to teach what I learn. My understanding of the taught subjects would shift significantly, and I would be able to grasp the essence of the subject quicker as I would go deep into the core of it and try to explain it in my own words.

The thing about teaching what you are learning in most cases is just overcoming that mental block asking for someone's permission to teach. You think that you are not ready, you are not an expert, question if you taught in a misleading way and so on. The thing is, whatever you learn can be useful for other people struggling with the same problem. Not being an expert actually works better because you are trying to explain it in the simplest form possible so people who are not familiar with the field can understand it easier.

Some of the benefits of learning anything online is that you are completely free to design your own curriculum. You can study at any time for as long as you want. My favorite time to learn new things is when I am traveling or waiting for something. I like to listen to podcasts, watch courses or read blog posts and books saved on my laptop or iPhone. Sometimes I would take a course and watch a lesson a day, sometimes I would watch the whole course in one day. Flexibility of learning online provides you with the freedom to implement studying in your daily routine so you can learn anytime, anywhere.

Reasons to learn programming

Programming for a long time has been a big taboo for the general public. It is perceived as hard to learn, complex to master and is only for the geekiest and smartest for us. The truth is, learning programming today is easier than ever before. There are numerous courses, interactive workshops, bootcamps, books and podcasts.

As an entrepreneur, I find programming a very powerful skill. Even if I don't code the whole day, I can easily tweak my website, fix an urgent bug, or lay down the overall architecture of the product I have in my mind. Having that knowledge allows me to better understand developers I am working with and better estimate time and costs of completing the project.

Another reason to learn programming, even if you are not going to code everyday, is that it develops your analytical and logical thinking, allowing you to make better decisions in your work and life.

I used to work as a web designer in a design agency where my job was purely prototyping and design. When the team got stuck with the backend of the product, I would jump in and help them by coding the frontend. That moment, I became a much more valuable employee and I felt good that I can help my team and mix up my daily work routine of being just a designer.

Where to learn programming online?

As I mentioned earlier, there are numerous ways to learn programming online. It all depends on your goals and ambitions but I would recommend you checking the following websites for comprehensive learning experience.

One of the most popular websites for learning coding online. Its interactive platform allows you to learn at your own pace and offers numerous course on different programming languages like JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, AngularJS and more.

A powerful platform for learning pretty much anything. Completely free course on numerous subjects including all levels of programming.

If you have trouble understanding concepts or get stuck on problems with your code, you can get one-on-one help via Codementor. It's a platform that connects you to tech experts for live help via screen sharing and video chat.

Udemy is the biggest online course marketplace. You can find paid and free courses on a variety of subjects, including web development, programming, arts, design and more.

A huge online directory of courses taught by real university professors. You can enroll free of charge, but you have the option to pay for a "Coursera Verified Certificate" to prove course completion. These cost between $30 and $100 depending on the course.

Arguably the best website to master front-end development. While the focus is on CSS, you can learn a lot about JavaScript, SASS, PHP and more.

Dozens of free tutorials for learning anything creative, including programming. They also offer thorough paid courses and well-researched eBooks.

One of the leading online-learning platform founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012. Courses range from gamed design to computer science and more. Its growing global community has over 7 million learners.

What is your excuse not to learn programming?

Tools and resources are already there. Benefits of learning programming are obvious to transform not only your career but life altogether.

What is holding you back?