5 Best Apps To Help You Learn How To Code

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5 Best Apps To Help You Learn How To Code

STORY: Nicholas Yong
18 September 2021
Photo: Pexels/@negativespace

Find yourself with some free time and not sure what to do with it? Before you reach for your Netflix app yet again, what about trying your hand at coding? It’s really not as cheem as it might seem. Plus, there are several apps to help beginners take their first steps in programming. To be honest, it’s like learning a language – all you need is regular practice to master it. Gauge your interest by trying one of these 5 apps that we recommend for coding beginners.

Mimo

This app is for… the uninitiated beginner.

Mimo has an easy to use interface, with quiz-based learning and daily exercises to help beginners learn the fundamentals of coding. When you first open the app, you’ll be prompted with a few questions to evaluate your coding experience (which was zero, in my case).

The app will then use your answers to put together a personalised curriculum. Next, you’ll get to pick your path – from web development to create interactive websites (HTML, CSS and Javascript) to Python for data science. Your daily goal is also entirely customisable, from a bite-sized 5 minutes to a serious 20-min daily session.

Straightforward and practical, you get step-by-step exercises where you have to spot mistakes or drag script elements into the right order, so it keeps the learning experience varied.

Mimo can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android. You can get more advanced lessons and tutorials through a pro subscription at S$118.98 a month or give the 7-day free trial a go. Don’t balk at the price yet - there’s also a S$13.98 monthly subscription but you don’t get a free trial when you sign up with that.

SoloLearn

This app is for… those who know what they want.

If you already know the difference between the different coding languages and are looking for something a little more advanced, this app is for you. Right off the bat, you’re asked to select one (or more) courses available: HTML, JavaScript, Python 3, CSS, C, C++, C#, PHP, SQL, Java, Swift 4, Ruby, jQuery, and more – that’s a little too much coding jargon to wrap your head around.

In each course, you can see comments from other users on the platform and share your results with them too. In addition, there are Q&A discussions to ask other users questions, as well as a code playground to see what others have created.

Download SoloLearn for iOS or Android. Learning is completely free, but you can pay S$65.98 a year (with 3-days free) or S$9.48 a month for their subscription plan. This makes the app ad-free and allows you to set learning goals and gives you access to personalised activity insights. Subscribers can also see who has viewed their profile and who’s also using SoloLearn nearby.

Programming Hub

This app is for… the lifelong coding enthusiast.

Google Play’s Editor’s Choice app and Best App 2017 has a more traditional, professional take on learning how to code. When you first open the app, it can look a little daunting with a long list of courses to choose from. Start from the 12 free courses to give you a basic understanding of the coding life. Lessons are interactive and bite sized to help you learn faster, with supported coding languages like Java, C++, C programming, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more.

Get Programming Hub for iOS or Android. There’s currently a one-time purchase of S$51.98 that gives lifetime unrestricted access to all Programming Hub courses, e-certs, and priority support and assistance. This is more value for money compared to other paid apps mentioned here - provided you’re in for the long run.

Grasshopper

This app is for… the general public.

Grasshopper was developed by the Code with Google team that teaches JavaScript – used by more than 70% of professional coders (that’s what Grasshopper claims in the tutorial). You begin by answering a series of questions, including your goals for the app.

As a complete novice in coding, I found this app the best starting point – just follow the steps on-screen to arrange commands and “write” actual coding following the presented results. The exercises are presented like a puzzle to solve and you get a virtual certificate for every course that you complete. You can move on to other apps once you have mastered the basics.

Grasshopper is completely free for iOS and Android. Sign in with your Google account so that your progress can be saved and synced.

Hopscotch and ScratchJr

This app is for… the little ones.

Of course, there are coding apps for kids too. Instead of just playing games on their phones, they might be interested to make their very own!

For younger kids aged 5-7, there’s the free ScratchJr for kids that teaches them how to code their own interactive stories through the use of blocks and editing tools. Children have the freedom to customise their own characters and add sounds – all the building blocks they need to pique their interest in coding. This app is best on iOS iPads and Android tablets.

Once they’ve mastered ScratchJr, they can then move onto Hopscotch. The app is designed for ages 8-14, and teaches kids to code their own games, apps and animations. There’s a free portion to try, where your kids will be guided into making their own game through a video tutorial (I recommend a bigger phone screen or an iPad so he/she can see the video while following the steps.

The rest of the app costs S$10.98 a month (with a 7-day free trial) or S$107.98 a year (with a free 1 month subscription). The app can be downloaded for iOS here.

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TAGS: Tech
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