When I was learning to program, at first, it felt like I wasn’t making any progress. I came close to giving up several times. Things turned around for me when I started joining online programming communities.
Being a self-taught programmer can make you feel like you are on your journey all alone. When you join the right online community, though, you get instant access to a network of thousands of other people that are either in the same situation as you or have already accomplished what you are working toward.
Because they’ve been so helpful for me, I decided to put together a list of the nine best programming communities you can join for free.
1. The Self-Taught Programmer Facebook Group
First up is my Facebook group Self-Taught Programmers. This is the group that started the self-taught programmer movement. With over 50K members, it is one of the biggest programming groups of Facebook.
I can’t say enough about how wonderful the Self-Taught Programmer community is. Every day, experienced programmers in the group spend their time helping new coders.
Make sure you take the time to write why you want to join. When potential members don’t take the time to write a full answer, we decline them, which is how we are able to keep the quality of the group so high.
2. The Learn Programming Subreddit
With over a million members, The Learn Programming Subreddit is the largest programming community dedicated to helping new programmers I know of.
Be warned, though, Reddit users have a reputation of being critical. If you are going to ask a question, make sure it isn’t something you can easily google.
Also, make sure to send your code in a GitHub Gist when you ask something that involves code. Make sure you don’t post a picture of your code or try to type it into Reddit (or Facebook or any other platform).
3. Code Newbie
Code Newbie is a blog, podcast, and Facebook group. Their podcast is on my list of best podcasts, and I’m a big fan of their blog.
The creator of Code Newbie, Saron Yitbarek, is well-known for hosting Twitter chats with the hashtag #codenewbie. You can check their website to find out when the next Twitter chat is happening.
The Code Newbie Facebook group is a great place to get help as a new programmer.
Also, you can tweet anytime with the #codenewbie hashtag to connect with their community.
Hash Node describes itself as a place where you can ” share your life as a developer and connect with the best developers from across the world.”
They host Reddit style AMAs with different engineers. On top of that, they have a section of their website dedicated to inspiring developer stories.
Most communities on this list focus on the professional aspect of coding, so it is nice to join a community that focuses on the personal aspect of life as a software engineer.
5. The Learn to Code With Me Facebook Group
Next up is Learn to Code With Me. Started by Laurence Bradford, who also has a blog, podcast, and Facebook group. All three are great, and if you haven’t checked them out yet, you should.
With over 20K members, her group is a great place to get your programming questions answered.
If you haven’t listened to her podcast yet, you can give it a try here.
6. Hacker News
Hacker News is Y Combinator’s news aggregator. If you aren’t familiar with Y Combinator, they are one of the biggest startup incubators. Stripe, Airbnb, and Instacart are some of the big names that went through YC.
On Hacker News, you will find news and discussions that focus on technology, startups, and programming.
The Hacker News community is known for being one of the friendliest on the internet, so it is an excellent place to meet new people and get encouragement.
In the early days of programming, when you encountered a problem, you were on your own. StackOverflow changed that and revolutionized programming by putting the answers to millions of programming questions online.
Anyone on StackOverflow can post a new question and, most likely, get an answer within an hour. Be careful, though. StackOverflow’s community is notorious for treating anyone that doesn’t follow their guidelines harshly. If you are going to post on StackOverflow, you need to read their guidelines first. If you post on StackOverflow, “What is the best programming language to learn first?” like a few people do every day in my Facebook group, you will not get as friendly of a reception!
Dev.to is a combination of Medium and StackOverflow. Anyone can post a coding-related story or question, and the community upvotes the best submissions.
9. Free Code Camp
The Free Code Camp community developed around its learning platform, which teaches aspiring coders web development and connects them with non-profits that need technical help.
In addition to having a supportive community, Free Code Camp also made our list of the best programming courses for self-taught programmers.
Free Code Camp has a forum on their website where you can meet other aspiring coders.
They also have a popular Facebook group.
I hope this article helped you find some new communities to join.
Let me know what programming communities you are a part of in the comments.