Guide


How to Learn to Code for Free at Codesmith

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By Jess Feldman
Last Updated March 9, 2021

Learning to code online can feel isolating, so Codesmith has created free online learning resources that educate while also building a robust and supportive tech network. Tamar Martirosyan from Codesmith explains what students can expect to learn in each free coding program – whether you’re a total coding beginner or a CS graduate looking to level up. Plus, snag a limited promo code for their new JavaScript Closures course!

What kinds of free learn-to-code options does Codesmith offer?

At Codesmith, we’ve always aspired to make quality education accessible, and our free resources and community are an integral part of our mission. Codesmith offers several options for free learning opportunities, both self-paced and live online workshops:

  • CSX Codesmith.io - Codesmith’s free online platform that offers interactive courses and coding challenges that teach JavaScript.
  • Weekly Coding Workshops - We host free weekly workshops where we teach coding fundamentals and help attendees develop engineering best practices and technical communication skills. 
  • The Complete JavaScript Closures Course - A resource that provides a mature understanding of main JavaScript principles, improves technical communication, and develops a set of professional techniques for writing more maintainable code.

Who are the ideal students for each of these free coding courses and workshops?

Anyone who’s passionate about coding, has the drive to learn, wants to solve problems, and is equally comfortable figuring things out on their own or with a teammate. We teach both learners with no prior experience and coders with years of experience at our workshops, solving the interactive exercises on CSX, and participating in our CSX Slack community.

Why is community such an important component at Codesmith?

Community, collaboration, and support will lead you to success. Engineering is not a solo field; you will be working with teams all the time, so we want to help you be successful in it. At Codesmith, we continually look to create opportunities for people to bond and be part of a supportive community. Every member of our community brings their best selves every day, and this level of connection and enthusiasm to learn collaboratively helps build the community that we have today. It's been so incredible to see aspiring engineers from all over the world connect and work through problems together. We have students joining us remotely from all over the USA, UK, Nigeria, Canada, and even Singapore! 

How to Learn to Code for Free at Codesmith - CSX

What can students expect to learn in the free CSX course?

CSX was created to develop students into software engineers who have a deep understanding of coding and autonomous problem-solvers. CSX is a great starting point for beginners who have never written a line of code so they can work up to advanced coding topics. With CSX, you’ll be learning through doing. 

Learners can start with the basics or dive directly into more advanced concepts like Callbacks, Closures, and Asynchronous JavaScript. Each unit contains multiple coding challenges, though we purposely don’t provide complete solutions for all of them. We believe the best way to learn a new skill sometimes requires figuring things out on your own. 

Students will usually join the CSX Slack community, which has around 7,000 members. Learning to solve problems autonomously can be hard, especially at first, which is why our Slack community of mentors and other learners provides crucial help. This Slack channel allows students to collaborate with fellow engineers, find mentors and pair-programming partners, compare approaches, get support from the Codesmith team or support someone else! The CSX Slack has channels to compare approaches, share resources, and work through coding challenges together with other learners. For example:

  • #codingresources - share a favorite resource and discover new ones
  • #csx-challenge-help - ask for help on a challenge you've been stuck on
  • #pair-programming - connect with others to find a pair programming partner

Workshops

What is being taught in Codesmith’s free weekly coding workshops?

These workshops cover a wide range of topics for all experience levels and are taught by our program instructors in a live, interactive environment. While we encourage everyone to attend these workshops to be able to work through the concept with a live instructor, we also have a few workshop recordings available on our YouTube Channel to ensure they are accessible for those who cannot attend live. 

For coding beginners: We offer our Intro to JavaScript series every Tuesday. These workshops are designed to help you master the fundamentals of JavaScript and cover the concepts that are the foundation of all web development, such as Variables, Functions, Objects, HTML, and CSS.

For more advanced learners: We have our JavaScript the Hard Parts series on Thursdays. During these workshops, our immersive program instructors will take you under-the-hood of some of JavaScript’s most important yet often misunderstood features, such as Callbacks, Closures, Recursion, and more. 

One of the most efficient ways to grow as an engineer and improve your technical communication is pair programming. During our weekly remote pair-programming sessions, attendees will be paired up with a partner to work through a set of coding challenges together. One person is the driver, writing the code, while the other person is the navigator, talking through the logic. Throughout the hour-long session, one of our engineering mentors is available to help participants work through any blocks they may run into and provide tips on pair programming best practices.

In general, pair-programming is central to Codesmith's learning style — group projects and pair-programming account for most of the hours in our Software Engineering Immersive. This is why we always encourage anyone getting ready for the immersive to participate in these sessions as many times as possible. 

In an effort to help close the gender gap in the tech industry, we also host JavaScript workshops for our women, trans, and non-binary community every Wednesday. These workshops are always led by one of our woman instructors and share additional resources Codesmith has to support women, trans, and non-binary coders. 

Who teaches Codesmith’s weekly workshops?

Our workshops are led by our amazing program instructors! Whether it’s through our weekly workshops or other programs, Codesmith instructors focus on creating educational experiences that achieve a culture of excellence in teaching and learning.

How to Learn to Code for Free at Codesmith - Closures Course

What will students learn in The Complete JavaScript Closures Course created by Codesmith and hosted on Thinkific?

This 7-unit video course is taught by Will, Codesmith’s CEO and Co-Founder, and Phillip, our Chief Academic Officer and teaches a concept that can truly test your understanding of the language. (Fun fact: One of Google’s favorite interview questions is “What is Closure.”) 

The course is for all levels of coders, and takes you from first principles to advanced implementations. Some experience with JavaScript functions is recommended, so we recommend completing our CSX course or taking part in our workshops first.

The Complete JavaScript Closures Course is a paid course, however, we are very excited to offer it for FREE to Course Report readers. Here’s how to redeem: 

Why is it important that Codesmith offer free coding classes and workshops?

We want to make quality education accessible to people from all walks of life. Even if you’ve never written a line of code in your life but dream of being a Software Engineer at Google, we want to help you get there. While many students use these resources to help them get accepted into our Software Engineering Immersive, we also see plenty of existing software engineers joining our programs who are looking to improve their knowledge or just be part of a supportive community of engineers. 

When we switched our Software Engineering Immersives in LA and NYC to remote due to the pandemic, we saw residents joining our programs from around the world. By offering these free online learning opportunities, our goal is to expand our reach and be able to impact even more people around the world. 

For a coding beginner, where can they start with Codesmith? 

For absolute beginners who want to learn JavaScript fundamentals and get a broader context of how coding works, we recommend working through the CSX curriculum. To master the topics covered in CSX, we recommend attending our free Intro to JavaScript workshops

Each workshop goes over problem-solving methodologies, additional resources for continued practice, and develops strong technical communication skills. The topics we cover are:

  • Variables, Control Flow, and Looping
  • Functions and Objects
  • Web Development Fundamentals: HTML & CSS

Which of Codesmith’s free coding opportunities do you recommend for someone who is teaching themselves how to code and looking to level up their pair programming skills?

For those looking to enhance or refresh their engineering skills or maybe get into a top coding bootcamp, we recommend our more advanced resources. Once you have the basics down, complete the following CSX units and attend our JavaScript the Hard Parts workshops: 

  • Callbacks & Higher-order Functions
  • Closure, Scope & Execution Context
  • Pair Programming Sessions 

For someone who has worked in a technical role but isn’t ready for a JavaScript coding challenge, what resources can they use?

The following CSX units and JavaScript the Hard Parts workshops will polish your software engineering skills and help you learn how to program more efficiently:

  • Recursion
  • Asynchronous JavaScript
  • Object Oriented Programming

We also recommend completing our Closures Course

Can students get into Codesmith if they don't know how to code?

Codesmith’s Software Engineering Immersive is suitable for people who already have a good understanding of coding basics and have written some code themselves. This is one of the main reasons we provide free resources for people who want to cover the basics (and some of the advanced topics) on their own.

During the technical interview, we ask students to work through JavaScript challenges with one of our engineering fellows. This is when we test an applicant’s knowledge in JavaScript, technical communication, and analytical problem-solving. CSX and our free public workshops are built to give you the skills you need to succeed in the interview and also in the Immersive course.

Do you think someone must get a CS degree in order to become a software engineer?

Not at all! Most of our students come from diverse backgrounds and successfully launch new careers in Software Engineering. There are benefits to doing both, though! We have many students with CS degrees come through our Immersive to sharpen their practical skills and end up with more exciting careers and higher pay than many of their peers from college.

How to Learn to Code for Free at Codesmith - Women's Workshop

What are your recommendations for women-identifying applicants hoping to get into a coding bootcamp? 

Codesmith leads a variety of initiatives to empower and support women-identifying learners. We are so lucky to have incredible community members and instructors who are always willing to give advice to new learners, and share their knowledge and experience. 

Many of our alumni stay involved in our community as mentors to our program applicants. In our online application, women-identifying applicants have an option to join our women mentorship program to be paired with a female mentor who will guide them through their journey into a coding bootcamp and beyond.

We see so many aspiring women, trans, or non-binary coders joining our community to find a safe and welcoming space where they can build their coding skills and see if Software Engineering is the right career path for them. 

We host women-only workshops led by women-identify instructors and mentors to help grow the women in the tech community and create a supportive learning environment. These live interactive workshops take place on Wednesdays and cover beginner to intermediate JavaScript concepts, such as Variables, Functions, Callbacks, Closure — all the topics we teach during our Intro to JavaScript and JavaScript the Hard Parts series.

Find out more and read Codesmith reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Codesmith.

About The Author

Screen 20shot 202019 12 13 20at 201 03 05 20pm

Jess is the Content Manager for Course Report as well as a writer and poet. As a lifelong learner, Jess is passionate about education, and loves learning and sharing content about tech bootcamps. Jess received a M.F.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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