So, you’ve been thinking about learning to code. After a quick Google search you’re bombarded with blog posts, tutorials, Meetup groups and bootcamps offering to help you get started. If you’re overwhelmed by this, you’re not alone — I talk to people all the time who want to learn to code or break into the tech world, but they aren’t quite sure where to begin.

The resources out there are endless, but what’s right for someone else might not be right for you. So how do you take your first step?

As someone who’s helped people just starting their path toward becoming a coder and those furthering their existing coding careers, I’ve had a lot of conversations about what works. Almost everyone I’ve talked to has said that the ability to learn in person is what really made the difference in helping them truly understand how to get started in a new career in technology. If you’re looking to dip your toe into the coding pool, check out these local in-person options to get you going:

Free Code Camp

An online, open source community that helps people learn to code through a combination of online tutorials, building projects for nonprofits, and connecting you with other aspiring coders in your area. Indy’s Free Code Camp group meets regularly over coffee to help one another expand their skills. The group is made of beginners and experienced engineers, with a common goal to never quit learning.

Girl Develop It Classes

Another national organization with a strong Indianapolis presence is Girl Develop It, commonly referred to as GDI, which exists to provide “affordable and judgement-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development.” They provide both introductory and intermediate classes, held at various tech companies around the city. In addition to the paid classes, they host hack nights, resume workshops and women-centric panel discussions.


Free Crash Courses at The Iron Yard

If you’ve heard about The Iron Yard, you know that we provide 12-week immersive courses for people who are ready to make a career change and start developing professionally. What you might not know, however, is that we also provide monthly crash courses for free! Typically held on the first Thursday of each month, our full-time instructors lead classes on topics such as HTML/CSS, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, and even one where we build a companion app for Pokemon Go. Join us to code, get free food and meet other aspiring coders.

Bonus: Getting kids started with coding – Coder Dojo

It’s never too early to start learning to code! CoderDojo Indiana, a partnership led by the TechPoint Foundation for Youth, focuses on self-lead learning in a community environment. These free and volunteer-led groups meet monthly throughout the state and help kids learn to code and explore technology in a creative and informal environment. Kids as young as seven are invited to join!