Learning programming has never been more accessible in Helsinki

( Originally posted in https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/learning-programming-has-never-been-more-accessible-helsinki-santala/. )

If you're interested in learning programming, the scene in Helsinki is blooming right now. There are long-term options as well as weekend workshops, evening workshops and support groups so everyone should be able to find their place in the community. And if you're an experienced developer who wants to share their knowledge, most of the community initiatives are always happy to have new people join as coaches.

This list is not exhaustive – these are just the ones I'm familiar with and new ones pop up all the time. If I'm missing something, please let me know in the comments!

Long-term opportunities

Universities are having their traditional degree programs in computer science and software engineering if you're in pursuit of a degree. In addition to full degrees, University of Helsinki also runs MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) that are available to everyone at their leisure. Whether you want to learn basics of programming, understand databases, or dive into the world of AI, the opportunities are there. Unfortunately some of them are only available in Finnish. Kovimmat Koodaa is also organizing support group meetings for people working on the programming MOOC course so you don't have to fight the problems alone.

Hive Helsinki is the newest kid on the block. A tuition-free 3-year program for learning software development has the application period open right now. Based on peer-to-peer and project-based learning, the aim is to provide great set of skills for anyone wanting to enter the software industry.

Workshops

codebar Helsinki is a non-profit initiative that facilitates the growth of a diverse tech community by running regular programming workshops. We have workshops monthly, and in a 3-hour workshop you'll get personal coaching in groups of 2 or 3 people per coach and the format is very flexible. Instead of a set curriculum, there are bunch of tutorials on the website and based on the availability of coaches, the choice of the language to learn is nearly limitless. I've been coaching with codebar since last June when Anastasia and James started hosting the events in Helsinki and I absolutely love it.

The Shortcut organizes lots of weekly opportunities for learning programming. In the spring of 2019, there's Javascript Club every Tuesday, Girls' Coding Club on Wednesdays and React Coding Club on Thursdays. They also have a Python 0 to 1 program (with applications closing on Jan 18th 2019) — a 5-week program for learning programming with Python. In addition to their programming clubs, they also bring together a very international and lovely community.

Rails Girls and Django Girls are weekend-long workshops with events hosted occasionally in Helsinki. During the workshops participants will learn how to build a modern web application with the help of tutorials and coaches in small groups of 4-5. Keep an eye on their websites for upcoming events!

Last year Helsinki saw incredible amount of programming workshops as part of the Mimmit Koodaa initiative. Hosted by local companies people had opportunity to learn anything from React to Web Components, and Drupal to Django. Keep an eye for upcoming workshops also in the spring of 2019!

FreeCodeCamp.org is a wonderful online platform for learning programming and there are weekly gatherings for students in Helsinki area organized by Tiki Shabudin.

Meetups

Another great resource, albeit a bit more indirect, is the meetup scene. In Helsinki there are lots of events organized by developers for developers and anyone regardless of their skill level is welcome. In addition to hearing stories about projects people have built or introductions to new technologies, meetups are a great way to network with the local community.

Meetup.com has a great catalogue of meetup groups nearby and another resource to find meetups is Meetabit.com. There are meetups for almost every technology or sub group and the community is very welcoming to newcomers, even if sometimes some of the talks are more technical.


All in all ,the scene for meeting fellow developers and learning programming is wide and diverse. Whether you're interested in understanding how software are built or looking to build a career in software development, you can find something to do every week to support your goals. Be aware though: the demand is still way beyond the supply so most events with limited seats fill up in hours, if not minutes.