code on computer screen

Coding is a skill set that is in high demand. If you know how to code, you can qualify for a lot more roles in the tech industry, like web developer, software engineer or data scientist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for software developer jobs is expected to grow by 21% through 2028. In addition, The Bureau projects data scientists, who are increasingly encouraged to focus on coding skills, will grow in demand by 35% between 2022 and 2032.

You get it, you’re convinced - you want to learn to code. Now what?

The ‘Learning to Code’ Landscape

Online programming courses and coding bootcamps have helped change the face of developer education. Programs and resources that were once exclusive to computer science majors and highly specialized tradespeople were now available to anyone with the desire to learn.

Still, despite the endless free online tutorials, video lectures, forums, workshops and courses available to pursue coding, it’s not always simple to gain the skills you want to learn. Whether you want to dip your toes into the world of coding, gain some foundational skills, become a web developer, or further your coding skills—this guide will outline the resources available that you can use and the paths you can take.

Clear Steps to Reach Your Goals

The most important question we ask someone interested in learning to code is why. What is your end goal? What is motivating you to succeed?

Before you answer these questions, consider your learning objectives and what you want to achieve with the programming skills you acquire. Everyone has different learning styles, ambitions and available time. Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn the basics, an aspiring Developer ready to start a new career or a seasoned Programmer looking to expand your knowledge—we’ve compiled some resources to help you improve your technical skills.

In this guide, we’ll break down the steps, resources, and organizations that can help you expand your coding knowledge. If you want to learn how to code, there are three main stages:

If you want to learn how to code, there are three main stages:

  1. Step 1: Learn coding fundamentals (beginner)
  2. Step 2: Advance your coding skills (intermediate)
  3. Step 3: Grow as a developer (advanced)

Let’s get you started!

Step 1: Learn Coding Fundamentals

As a beginner, identifying where to start is often the biggest hurdle. There are multiple ways you can get started: attending a workshop, trying HTML & CSS online, or diving head first into an introductory course. Fortunately, there are many organizations that can help you overcome the first hurdle!

Beginner Coding Resources

1. Learn At Your Own Pace

Online learning options often consist of tutorials, lectures and hands-on practice. Free learn-at-your-own-pace coding courses cover the basics of most programming languages and concepts. Leveraging free online courses will help you gain a better background in coding and the approach that will suit your learning style. There’s no right or wrong place to start when it comes to free basic online courses. However, we find taking classes in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is ideal because you can create webpages with relative ease using these three languages.

The following is a list of online coding courses that we recommend to jumpstart your coding career:

HTML & CSS Essentials

Lighthouse Lab’s free HTML & CSS Crash Course is a 5-hour introductory course that will get you started with HTML and CSS. The lessons include page structure, fonts, colours, margins, and positioning, among others. At the end of the course, you can practice building a webpage, so you’ll have a solid foundation with this free introductory course. H5: JavaScript Essentials Learn how to build a web-based chat app like Slack or Twitch using JavaScript and other modern tools like Node.js and Web Sockets in this free 5-hour course.

JavaScript Essentials II

As a direct continuation of JavaScript Essential I, this free 5-hour course teaches you how to build a BOT that will make your chat app smarter and stronger.


This is the perfect introduction to Python fundamentals - such as boolean logic, variables, lists, and looping - for any coding beginner. Gain a fundamental understanding of Python and apply the knowledge you learned to build a calculator, a word game, and a math game in this free 10-hour course.


New to the realm of web development? FreeCodeCamp is an excellent fit for beginners. Its hands-on projects and practical challenges make it an ideal stepping stone for aspiring web developers. In our intensive bootcamp, you can solidify your skills and understand introductory concepts by building real-world applications.

The Odin Project

Are you already acquainted with web development fundamentals? The Odin Project could be your next step. Much like the Lighthouse Labs' curriculum, it is designed to enhance your existing skills by guiding you through tutorials and exercises that mirror our boot camp. This resource appeals to learners who prefer a structured, in-depth approach.

It provides a free, open-source coding curriculum focusing on Ruby on Rails and JavaScript for those wishing to pursue full-stack development.


Udemy is an online learning platform that offers a wide range of courses other than coding. You will find a mix of paid and free courses there, but developer and coding classes will be pretty self-directed. Some examples include The Complete Coding for Beginners Course (2023) and Coding for Beginners 1: You Can Learn to Code!

Khan Academy Computer Programming

Khan Academy's programming tutorials are a foundational resource, regardless of whether you're a coding novice or seeking a refresher. Designed to cater to diverse learners, it has JS, HTML/CSS, and SQL lessons. This approachable resource lets you ease into programming essentials, all while accommodating various learning styles.


If you thrive on project-based learning, JavaScript30 is an optimal choice. This resource boasts 30 engaging projects that hone problem-solving skills and interactive web development expertise like JavaScript drum kit, speech synthesis, and CSS + JS clock. Suitable for those seeking a hands-on approach to JavaScript, it resonates with individuals keen on tackling real-world challenges through practical experience.

Prefer bite-sized lessons in web development? offers detailed tutorials and practical examples, perfect for quick but comprehensive learning. Take a deep dive to learn JavaScript concepts and coding, building a solid foundation that aligns well with the challenges and opportunities awaiting you at Lighthouse Labs.

2. Instructor-led, Live Learning

Learning at your own pace can be tricky, so having a live instructor can help you stay focused and motivated. The options listed below let you find some of the best instructor-led programs in Canada that could help get your coding career started.

Canada Learning Code

What started as Ladies Learning Code has grown to Canada Learning Code which also includes men, kids, and teens. They run online and in-person workshops across Canada.

Check your local public library!

Libraries are a place of knowledge. Many of them will offer free coding classes or workshops to local library members.

Part-time Introductory Courses

Intro to Web Development

This course is focused entirely on equipping you with tools that apply directly to professional web development. After six weeks, you'll be creating beautiful apps and understanding web development fundamentals for both front- and back-end. If you're interested in eventually becoming a web developer, communicating with your dev team, understanding how to create an MVP or gaining valuable career skills, this web development course is for you.

Intro to Front-End with JavaScript

Learn how to build and style websites and landing pages using HTML, CSS & JavaScript. During this six-week program, you will develop your website from scratch, learn the core principles of responsive design, and leverage JavaScript to make your site dynamic and interactive. If you manage a website, want to build your website or work with dev teams building web applications, this program will provide you with a great foundation in front-end web development.

Local Community Colleges

Community colleges in your area may offer coding courses where you can learn how to code, learn coding languages, and prepare for a career as a front-end developer.

Extended Studies at Local Universities

Universities often offer data science programs that dive deeply into coding and more. These four-year programs will usually cover statistical analysis, data visualization, machine learning techniques, programming languages (like Python), and more.

Step 2: Advancing your Coding Skills.

So you’ve covered the basics, and you’re comfortable creating simple projects, have dabbled in a few different coding languages or frameworks and have a solid grasp on programming fundamentals. You could be using these skills in a hybrid role, for communicating with your developer team, acting as a project manager or simply coding for pleasure. If you are ready to turn your coding skills into a new career, the opportunities below will enable you to become a professional web developer.

Coding Opportunities for Career Readiness


At this point in your pursuit of programming, you’re facing a crossroads. Are you interested in pursuing coding full-time, or are you happy trucking along as a hobbyist? If you’re looking to accelerate your learning to work as a web developer as fast as possible, it’s time to invest in your education and take a boot camp.

Lighthouse Labs Web Development Bootcamp

The Lighthouse Labs Web Development Program comes in two formats: full-time Bootcamp (12 weeks) and part-time Flex (30 weeks).






12 Weeks

5 Lectures/Week

~50 Hours/Week


30 Weeks

2 Lectures/Week

~25 Hours/Week

The 12-Week Web Development Bootcamp is a short intensive program designed to train students to enter the workforce as soon as possible. It is recommended for students who can study more than 12+ hour long days around 5 to 7 days a week.

The Flexible program has two lectures per week. It is recommended for students who need a longer pace to develop new skills. It is ideal for students who need to perform caregiving responsibilities or other commitments.

In both options, you'll graduate with a diploma and gain a fundamental knowledge in web development. You'll learn essential topics such as JavaScript, CSS, HTML, software architecture, databases, data modeling, and component-based design. Plus, the program provides on-demand mentorship from industry experts and support from Student Success Coordinators and Career Services.

Community Colleges

Several Colleges and Institutes across Canada offer beginner to advanced programming courses. Search for an institute you’re interested in and check out their programming options. Average timeline: 4 years

Technical Schools

Many technical schools offer accredited and advanced coding courses. They may even provide this type of learning online. Average timeline: 1 to 2 years

University Degrees

Pursuing a Computer Science degree through a university is a thorough and well-recognized way to start a career as a Web Developer. This would open other careers doors as well, such as Data Scientist, Systems Analyst, Software Engineer, and more. Average timeline: 4 to 5 years

Step 3: Growing as a Developer

All right! You did it - nice. You’ve made it through Bootcamp, or maybe you’ve been working in the industry and are ready to take on a new challenge. Growing as a Developer is essential for your survival.

The tech industry is ever-changing (hello AI), so you’ll need to hone your skills and gain new ones constantly.

We’ve sourced some suggestions from our alums and mentor community to help you continue to expand your programming experience.

The top three tips for growing as a Developer:

  1. Always be coding
  2. Connect with the Developer Community
  3. Learn new skills

Read on below.

1. Always. Be. Coding.

This is it - just keep coding. Whether you're working as a Developer or planning side projects, your skills progression will depend on how much you practice. Here are some ways you can hone your skills:

Find Full-time Employment

The best way to ensure you are frequently coding is by working full-time in a position that requires you to code.

Surround Yourself With Programmers Far Better Than You

If you wish to progress in an area, you should surround yourself with people who can teach you new skills and who you can learn from. Talk to coworkers, participate in meetup groups and join online forums to find inspiring programmers.

Automate Your Daily Tasks

Work smarter, not harder! Try automating tasks as much as possible to push your intellectual skills as a programmer.

Try Finding Freelance Gigs or Working as a Contractor

Expand your portfolio and your coding knowledge by pursuing freelancing or contractor jobs. This is a diverse way to gain programming experience and see many different coding approaches out there in the world. It may even open up new and exciting opportunities or introduce you to influential people in the coding community.

Continue to Create Your Own Projects

Side projects are a great way to keep your coding skills sharp. Whether you are helping someone by lending your services or writing code for free, it can help your career as a programmer.

Compete on HackerRank

This global platform hosts 11 million developers and serves as a hub for coding practice and interview prep. It can even help developers find work.

2. Connect with the Developer Community

You may be working on side projects or contributing to OSS, but if you want more - it’s time to turn to the developer community. Tapping into the network of programmers around you can be invaluable when looking for your next move. Connect with others in your area, and you will likely find inspiration for whichever path you want your career to follow.

3. Expand Your Skillset

As new trends and technologies emerge, it is essential to continue to learn new skills, tech and languages. It can help you land that dream job, open up career paths like cyber security or data science, or incorporate AI tools to improve efficiency; continuous learning is a vital part of your coding journey.

Here are some ideas that will help you add new skills in high-demand tech areas.

  • Learn cyber security with gamified lessons through TryHackMe or HackThe Box.
  • Explore practical deep learning and machine learning courses designed for people with coding experience, like or DataCamp.
  • Try an AI Coding Assistant like GitHub Copilot, which offers suggestions and recommendations to optimize the software development process and boost productivity.

Start Learning How to Code

Learning to code starts with registering for a coding class. Whether that’s a free course, a community workshop, or a paid bootcamp or post-secondary education.

There is no right or wrong way to learn to code. Just many options to choose from. This may feel overwhelming, and you may be wondering which option is right for you. The answer boils down to your goals, and available time and money. Choose what best aligns with these three factors.

While each option presents its own unique set of benefits, all will provide you with at least a basic, baseline understanding of coding. Whether it’s online courses, workshops, or accredited post-secondary classes, we guarantee you will have the opportunity to have a bright future in programming.

If you want to learn more about some of your learning, feel free to attend a Lighthouse Labs Info Session. We’d be happy to talk you through the process and set you up to meet your goals.

Lighthouse Labs makes learning how to code easy. Even if you are starting at the very beginning, our online learning platform provides guidance and all the necessary course material. Whether it’s full-time or part-time learning, all you need is an internet connection and an interest in programming! Check out our wide range of accredited programming courses and coding bootcamps today.