Guest blogger, Evelyn Utterson:  “Evelyn is a Software Developer and Coding Coach based in Edinburgh. With a background in Career Guidance, and as a career changer herself, she is passionate about supporting others considering a move into tech or exploring other career ideas.”


Interested in learning to code, but not sure where to start?   There are tons of digital skills training resources online, both free and paid, that can offer a fantastic introduction as well as longer term, deeper learning.  However, sometimes it’s good to have a bit of face to face support too, particularly when starting to learn to code. There are also many paid and unpaid options for in-person training, and this post focuses on four of the free initiatives in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Some of the courses listed have certain eligibility criteria, so be sure to check those where applicable to ensure the course is available to you.


1. The Intro to Code course at Google Digital Garage is new to Edinburgh and has also been running in Manchester since the end of 2017. It’s a 10-hour digital skills training course and is free to everyone who wants to learn to code, though under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. Over 5 weeks, students learn about some common and emerging uses of programming as well as getting practical, hands-on experience with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. With group sizes of up to 20, it’s also a great way to meet like-minded people to learn alongside, and students can take advantage of one-to-one mentoring sessions to continue their journey.



2. With local chapters in Edinburgh and Glasgow, codebar is a global non-profit initiative where students and coaches get paired up to work on coding projects together. Run by volunteers and supported by local companies, codebar’s goal is to support underrepresented groups in the tech industry, so eligibility criteria apply. Workshops are monthly and have an informal structure, so attendees don’t have to commit to every workshop. Students can work at their own pace, and decide what they want to learn. For anyone who’s not sure where to start, a coach can offer suggestions. There are recommended tutorials in a range of languages, such as Ruby, Python and JavaScript, or students can bring their own projects, so it’s totally flexible.


3. Code Your Future is another non-profit organisation, aimed at helping refugees to train as Software Developers in Glasgow, London and Manchester. During a structured 6-month course, students are required to commit to over 30 hours of learning each week, with a mixture of face-to-face and online support. During this time, they’ll gain experience working with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, including Node.js and React. Code Your Future also aims to support its graduates into employment upon completion of the course.


Code Your Future


4. IT Professional Training is a SAAS funded IT training provider in Edinburgh and Glasgow, offering a wide range of courses, including Software Development and Android Application Development. Many of the courses work towards qualifications or certifications, which can be an added bonus when it comes to finding work once trained. If you’re unsure which course to go for, just get in touch to chat through your options. There are full-time and part-time courses, and a couple of different funding routes, so check eligibility to see what works for you.


This is just a selection, and new courses are becoming available all the time, so do check locally for other options. In addition to online courses and in-person training, it’s worth supplementing your learning with other events; meetups, conferences, hackathons, networking events, and so on. has a decent selection of up-to-date events listed by city so is a great starting point to find out what’s on near you. While some of the talks can get pretty technical, most events are welcoming to beginners, and you’re likely to meet plenty of people who can help you as your learning progresses.

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