I have never thought that I could be a great web developer.

First of all, coding never seemed particularly fun. It felt like only pure geniuses could comprehend the lines of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, PHP, Ruby, and all the other languages used in web dev. It also felt like this kind of private world, that you look at from the outside, and you are curious about it, but you never dare to open the doors. It is messy. And where do you start learning it? And you’ve never really been good at maths in high school, anyway…

What I did not know at the time is that learning basic knowledge in coding would open me to a world that was way more creative and fun that I could ever have imagined…

No matter what your field is, it is a useful tool for every entrepreneur.

Yep, even if the product / service that your start-up is selling is not web-related, your start-up will need a website, perhaps a mobile application, etc… And, especially when your project is still early-stage, you do not want to hire someone to do the work for you.

Alright, maybe you have the funding and you do want to hire somebody. But do you really want to be the kind of boss who has no idea what is happening in his own company, not understanding how any of this works and not being able to make a small change in the website? You gotta get your hands dirty. What’s more, if you know how to code, you will be able to verify the skills of the person you want to hire as a web developer. And after all, isn’t the quality of a start-up only measured by the quality of its team?

You can learn how to code AND save the world at the same time.

You don’t need to be an expert in web development to start doing social change. While learning how to code myself, I have discovered this really great website called Free Code Camp. It is an open-source community where you learn to code full stack JavaScript and help nonprofits.

Even the beginner challenges are quite cool; check out my tribute page for Malala Yousafzai, for example. The online community is always there to verify your code - and to answer your questions on the chat. You can start helping right away, by pledging a monthly donation to a nonprofit until you’ve earned your certifications. Once achieving the Full Stack Development Certification, you will be able to work on specific nonprofit projects, with a team of other developers.

Oh and, did I forget the best part? It is completely free.

Once you’ve learned the basics, many organizations are looking for volunteer web developers.

  • Code.org is looking for potential teachers to inspire students and teach computer science (it can be done through video chat as well!).

  • SocialCoding4Good is looking for web developers available to work on their open source software for specific projects (“civic engagement, crisis response, disaster relief, education, health, human rights, and poverty alleviation”).

  • Social Coder is looking for volunteer programmers to work with charities on specific, goal-oriented projects.

  • Code Club is looking for volunteers to run coding clubs around the world (you just need a location - can be a library, school, community centre, and to get in touch with your local school to teach 10-15 children 1H/ a week!).

You can also check out Grassroots.org, they often have postings from charities and nonprofits looking for help with their website design!

You know this social blog/website you’ve always dreamt of making? Well, coding it yourself is extremely gratifying.

Sure, there are resources available online that could help you creating a blog without much effort - you can buy a theme on Wordpress, or even just take a free one. By doing so, you do not only risk finding another blog with the exact same design online, but you also take away the possibility of making some changes in this pre-made theme.

Alright, if this article made you want to start learning web development RIGHT NOW, my job here is done! Check out the below (free!) resources to start with the basics, and I wish you good luck - be patient, and if you have already started, comment down below the best tips you can think of for beginners!