Can you really learn to code without a computer?

Many people do not have access to a proper PC, and this can be discouraging for anyone who wants to learn how to become a software developer. First of all, if being a developer is your goal, don’t let anything hold you back. However, we understand that sometimes, without the proper equipment, it can be challenging. So, in this article, we will ask whether or not you can learn coding without a computer.

If you do not have a PC, you can still learn how to become a programmer. However, building sample apps might be challenging. To learn how to code with only your phone or tablet, you would need an app that teaches you how to develop as well as a good programming text editor. Luckily both of these do exist.

In this article, we will start by talking about PCs and how powerful one needs to be if you are trying to code. Next, we will discuss how important your PC components are before moving on to everything you need to know about learning how to code and practicing without a PC. So, for everything you need to know, keep reading.

computer used for coding
You can learn coding without a computer, but the whole process is a lot faster if you have one.

Do You Need a Powerful Computer to Code?

If you are only writing code, then no, you don’t need a powerful computer. There are a lot of text editors that have coding languages built into their libraries. So, no all you need is a good text editor, and you can write as much code as you want on almost any PC.

However, we need to get a little bit more technical with our answer. While you can write code on just about anything, you need a good PC to build applications. Look, if you are building mobile apps, you would have to do it on a PC. That PC would need to run emulation software to emulate the phone you are developing for.

Most modern PCs can run emulation builds for phones that were around a few years ago. However, the moment you start using current emulation software, you need a powerful PC because emulation consumes a lot of resources such as Ram, CPU power, and in some cases, even GPU power.

If you have a lot of patience, you could theoretically use an old PC to run emulation software. The problem is that you will have to wait a very long time for the software to render. So, every time you try and run the program you are coding, be prepared to wait a while. In some cases, you could end up waiting for hours.

So, if you do not have a powerful PC but want to build applications, your best bet is to write as much code as possible before running the program so that you don’t have to wait constantly. Also, having an exemplary flow chart in front of you can make your life a lot easier.

What is the Most Important Part of a PC for Programming?

If you want to build a PC but are on a budget, two components are crucial if you’re going to make your life as easy as possible. Remember, every part of your desktop PC is upgradable. If you have a laptop, upgradability is limited but still possible. So, if you cannot get the best, remember that you can still upgrade. 

The two most essential components for a programming PC are the RAM and the SSD. I predict that the SSD will become even more critical in the near future when Microsoft upgrades the way Windows interacts with hard drives. It is called direct storage and is already present in the newest gaming consoles.

If you are developing games, your graphics card and RAM are the two most essential PC components. Remember, you will be rendering graphics, and rendering gaming graphics that you build on your PC is a lot harder and a lot more resource-intensive than rendering game graphics on consoles and gaming PCs.

Can you Learn to Code on a Tablet or a Phone?

You can learn how to code and program on your mobile phone. There are multiple ways of doing this. You could either use Google, YouTube, and other video services to read and watch programming tutorials and classes. You don’t need a PC for any of that.

You also get some seriously powerful text editors designed for programmers on your Android or IOS phone. We will try and list our favorite editors further down in the article but for now, just know that you will be able to write code on your tablet or phone.

You do get some apps that allow you to build apps for mobile from your phone. However, I have taken a look at these, and you will not really be programming at that point. Instead, you are working using assets and libraries that those apps have, and you can’t manipulate anything the way you can by traditional coding and programming.

Do you Need a Powerful Phone to Learn Coding and Programming?

You do not need a powerful phone to learn how to be a software developer. If you are learning from your phone, all you need is a good enough internet connection to stay connected because many of your courses will be online. Also, you will need to use Google pretty often.

Also, a lot of your learning material will be on video sites such as Udemy and YouTube. Those apps do not require powerful phones, just an internet connection. Remember, you can download videos to watch later. 

Finally, you will be able to use a text editor, and these are not resource-hungry. So, pretty much any phone can run them as long as you have enough space to accommodate the app with its library.

If you don’t have a powerful phone and are thinking of getting one for programming, I would hold off on that purchase and consider getting a desktop or a laptop. If you are on a budget, you can get an i3 at a reasonable price, or perhaps you can look for second-hand laptops.

Can you Develop Apps on Your Phone?

This question is different from the previous one. Learning to code and developing apps are two different things. The straightforward answer to this question is yes, there are a few ways you can develop apps on your mobile phone, but as I have mentioned, you will struggle to find a genuine programming IDE for your mobile phone. 

You will find simple programs that allow you to create simple applications using assets that are already stored within the app. Yes, my opinion can be up for debate. Still, for now, I will stick to it, and in my opinion: These app development programs on your phone are not proper programming, and while you may learn a few concepts from them, you aren’t going to become the next best thing in Silicon Valley.

You need the power of a PC or Mac when programming apps and fully functional websites. You will notice how big proper PC IDEs are anyway. You will not be able to fit all of those assets into a simple mobile IDE.

8 of the Best apps to Learn Coding on Your Phone or Tablet

So, in this section, we will discuss eight apps that you need to have on your mobile phone. Whether you have a PC or not, remember that taking your studies with you on the go can be immensely helpful to how fast you progress in your studies.

We do need to point out that if you are hoping to develop applications and websites from your mobile phone properly, you will struggle to find a program that lets you do that. However, you should be able to practice the concepts and the coding that you will learn from these apps if you have a good text editor installed on your phone.


CodeHub is first on this list because of how easy it is to use the mobile app. However, before we get into it, unfortunately, this app is not available on IOS devices, so you would need to have an Android phone or tablet to make full use of the software.

You can learn how to develop apps for mobile phones on this app, so the curriculum is quite specialized. You will need to remain focused because developing mobile apps is not easy.

Finally, you shouldn’t have a problem accessing the application even if you use an older smartphone.

Learn Java 

Learn Java is an app that you can download from the app store on your phone. The app is quite basic and easy to use. If you are a complete beginner, then this app is perfect for you. However, you won’t progress to an advanced level, or at least, it will be challenging to do so.

I guess, if you are past a beginner level and want to use it as a refresher, that is great, especially because you can use it whenever you want. There is also a cheat sheet for when you need it. Also, the app has two versions, a free version, and a Pro version.

You can still learn a lot with the free version, but if you upgrade to Pro, you get a few extra features, including a certificate saying that you have completed the course. Whether or not that is worth it is entirely up to you.

Learn C++

Java is the most popular language, but I understand that many people want to learn C++. This coding language is excellent if you want to start a career in game development. Not all games are developed with C++, but a lot of them are. If you don’t have a PC but still want to learn, don’t worry; you can use this app.

The app is similar to the learn Java app, and it kind of works the same way. There is a free version and a paid-for version that just gives you a few extra features. However, using the free version, you will learn the fundamentals of c++, which can fast-track your study progress.

Again, the app can only get you so far, but there will come the point where you would need to upgrade to either a PC or something more powerful than a mobile phone. What is nice is that you can see whether or not you like C++ before making any purchases.


Using Udemy on your mobile phone is something you should do regardless of whether or not you have a PC. I always encourage people to use as many resources as possible when they start learning how to develop software, and Udemy has an extraordinary feature that I think all apps should have. 

When you have installed Udemy on your phone and signed in with your free account, you can download the videos for any courses you have subscribed to. This means you don’t need an internet connection when you find yourself outside and wanting to learn.

The amount of courses available on this app is incredible. You will find a course related to just about any system or language. Some are premium courses, but many of them are free. You can choose between the two easily.


YouTube is the most prominent content service available in the world. You can search for just about anything, and that includes programming tutorials. Also, YouTube is great for specialized coding. Say, for example, you want to learn how to use node JS, just do a quick YouTube search, and you will find hundreds of videos.

YouTube allows you to download specific videos without a premium account, but it is hard to say whether or not you will find those. I haven’t found a way to tell what videos can be downloaded; I just need to hope that they can be unless, of course, you have a premium account as that allows you to download any videos and listen to them in the background.

Your best option when using youtube is to create a playlist and add any video that you like to that list. Doing this will help you keep track and easily access your favorite tutorial videos.


One of the best apps on this list, Sololearn, is incredible for anyone who wants to learn Python core, Java, C++, or JavaScript. So, if you want to learn how to develop games, apps, or even websites, this app has everything you need. Also, they have a website along with their mobile app so that you can continue your progress across both devices, PC or mobile.

Sololearn gives you everything you need so that you can easily track your progress on the app. Not only do you get tutorials, but you also get practice tests and much more.

You can use the app or the website for free; however, they have a pro version that goes for approximately $5 a month if you take the yearly subscription. That, in my experience, is a bargain for what you get and if you decide to go for the pro version, you can expect to learn up to three times faster than using the free one.


We published a recent article where we discussed the best books that every programmer should read. You should check it out. Kindle can be installed on almost every phone, so you will always have a place to read those books, and the best thing about Kindle is that you get many books for free that you would otherwise have to pay for. 

While you are a beginner developer, reading as many books as you can is highly beneficial to you and your career, so I recommend downloading the Kindle app and installing a few programming books onto it so that you can read wherever you are.

I do recommend that you give the recent article that we mentioned in this section a good read, and hopefully, we can steer you in the right direction as to what books you should choose to read or download to your Kindle. Oh, and some of the books we mention are free for Kindle.

Master Coding

You don’t see many people talking about Master coding even though they have a significant number of downloads with a very positive review score on the app store. So, that is weird. The UI is clean and easy to navigate, and the app has over 400 lessons available. There are also a lot of exercises that you can use to assess your progress.

The app has two primary focuses. The first of these is OOP-focused. OOP means that the app focuses on object-orientated programming, which means you can learn languages such as C#, C++, Python, and Java. Also, you will most definitely find a course with over 400 lessons available.

The second Focus is Web development. With this app, you can learn how to use CSS, HTML, and JavaScript to build a robust interactive website. If you couple this up with a good text editor like anWriter, you can learn a lot about being a web developer.

The app allows you to build apps. However, these are basic apps, and as I have already discussed, if you want to start building apps, you will need to use a PC.

Best Coding Text Editors for Your Phone

Learning how to code on your phone is one thing, and we have already giving you a few tips on how you can learn but practicing your coding skills is just as crucial as knowing them. Traditional text editors like notepad and word for mobile are not the best places for you to practice. You can do it, but they are not the best

The text editors that we will discuss in this section are built for programmers, which means they have the libraries for various languages built-in so you can practice how to code with the correct syntax according to your coding language.

Finally, these text editors can be used for a lot more than practicing your code. They are powerful enough to use as a code editor when you don’t have your PC around. See, once you have written the code, some of these apps have excellent sharing functionality that allows you to share it with your email or even send it to your Onedrive. Doing this will enable you to copy and paste the code you have written over your computer. More coding means better productivity.

So, here are our favorite three text editors for programmers who use their phones.

anWriter Free HTML editor

There is not much to say about this text editor. It is simple with a basic UI that is easy to navigate and use. The editor is also free, which means you don’t have to invest anything to start practicing your coding skills.

I recommend this editor to anyone who wants to learn web development. I do not recommend it to anyone who wants to learn object-oriented programming because the app is not focused on that, so you should think about it before downloading it.

Turbo Editor

Turbo editor is another fantastic text editor that you can download on your mobile phone from the Play store. It has a very positive review score and has quite a lot of downloads. The power of this app lies in the languages that you can use it with. These languages include:

  • Python
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript
  • PHP

While it doesn’t have the most extensive library on this list, it still has enough to accommodate many different developers. Whether or not you download this app is up to you, but if you are serious about practicing code, I highly recommend that you download multiple text editors, and this is one that you should download.


When DroidEdit launched, it caused a lot of chatter amongst the development community because the app proves that you can build an effective coding text editor for mobile phones. The functionality within this app is superior to anything we have seen when it comes to mobile phones.

Again, any text editor is only worth what it can offer from its library, and DroidEdit has the best library out of all the apps we have seen. Here are just a few of the languages you can find on this app:

  • Python
  • Ruby
  • C++
  • C#
  • Java
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript

There are many more languages, so if you work in a specialized field and need to edit on your phone, you are in luck. I highly recommend DroidEdit to anyone. Other than that, if you are a beginner and you’re just trying to practice, they have pretty much any language that you would be learning, such as Python, CSharp, Java, and HTML.

Final Thoughts

That brings us to the end of this article. Look, not everybody is in the same circumstance, and most things are limited due to what you have available to you, and I am glad that aspiring software developers can learn even if they don’t have a PC. 

We are moving into a world where automation is going to be the new normal, and learning how to develop is going to be essential moving forward. That is just my opinion.

My point is, don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a good PC. You can use what you have until you can get what you need because, at the end of the day, putting something off just because you don’t have a PC means you will probably be held back.

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