This article has been contributed by Jin Choi.
What do giant tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Facebook have in common? None of these companies would have existed without amazing coders to make their visions turn into reality.
Coding is an invaluable skill that forms the bedrock of many leading companies. If you’re reading this article, I imagine you’re interested in mastering this rewarding yet complex skill.
Whether your goal is to earn income from home as a software developer or start the next software company that will revolutionize the world, you must become an expert coder to realize your goal. With the right resources, your learning curve can be cut in half. And the speed of learning is more important than ever in today’s rapidly changing technological landscape.
In this article, you will discover some of the best online resources that are currently available for learning to code, so you can expedite the learning process without having to waste any more time than is necessary.
- Related: See the Best UX/UI Courses Online
What Is the Best Online Coding Course?
Coursera was founded by Stanford computer science professors in 2012, and the platform serves as a middleman between educational organizations and students. They host courses from highly regarded institutions, such as Stanford and Harvard as well as companies like Google and IBM. And they also provide certificates and degrees for their graduates.
Coursera offers many courses in different subject areas. But if your focus is strictly on learning how to code, you’ll want to stick with courses that are listed under the computer and data science sections.
They also offer several free courses, and you can check out their paid courses for free if you sign up for a free 7-day trial. You do, however, need to enter your credit card information during the sign-up process.
As with most other online courses, you will be learning at your own pace. This is great for people with inflexible schedules, although you are more prone to fall victim to procrastination.
The price can be quite steep, especially if you plan on taking their online degree.
- Individualized course ranges between four to six weeks in length, and the price can get up to $99 per course.
- Special programs take between four to six months to complete, and the price ranges from $39 to $79 per course.
- Online degree will require one to three years to complete, and the program cost is somewhere between $15,000 to $25,000.
Overall, Coursera is a great platform to learn how to code if you don’t mind spending a little bit of money.
This platform first started as Lynda back in 1995. It was then acquired by LinkedIn in 2015 and became a part of LinkedIn Learning. The platform offers a massive library of video courses and is widely regarded as one of the best online resources for learning programming languages.
The platform offers a long 1-month free trial instead of a 7-day free trial. You get unlimited access to all of their courses for a one-time subscription fee. And the courses are taught in a video format, which many people prefer over written words.
Lynda from LinkedIn Learning provides enough information for beginners to start learning how to code, but the content can be a little basic for those who are past beginner level. The platform also does not provide any sort of certification, unlike many paid course platforms.
LinkedIn Learning costs $29.99 a month.
If you are a beginner, LinkedIn Learning will provide you with more than enough educational content to get started in coding.
Codecademy is an online learning platform founded in 2011 by Columbia University students. The platform provides free classes, as well as a paid plan for those who require additional support.
Throughout your lessons, you will also be given multiple-choice questions to test your understanding.
Codecademy teaches in a directive manner. The lessons instruct you on a specific type of code to write, and you follow their instructions. This is perfectly fine and perhaps even desirable when you’re first starting out. But you must learn to think independently if your goal is to become an advanced coder. The teaching also doesn’t go into great detail regarding infrastructure, such as hosting a site or saving your file in the right location.
Codecademy offers a 7-day free trial, and their basic account is free. But you need to pay $19.99 for the pro plan. With the pro plan, you gain access to unlimited mobile practice, peer support, and step-by-step guidance.
Codecademy provides nearly everything that a beginner needs to familiarize herself with the language of coding. But you will still want to supplement your learning with other resources that are available on the web.
Pluralsight started in 2004 and grew to a platform that hosts more than 7,000 online courses related to technology learning.
The platform has an intuitive UI/UX, making it easy for users to navigate around, and it comes with high-quality video lessons. The site provides tech courses on a wide range of topics, including Python, web development, cybersecurity, software development, and many more. Plus, you can download the course and learn the materials offline.
Most of their content is top-notch, but some course materials are quite outdated. For example, their jQuery tutorials were last updated several years ago. You can only view 200-minutes of course content during a free trial. Although that should be enough time for you to decide if you like the course, you will likely hit the limit fairly quickly if you are a motivated learner. The subscription fee is also on the higher side compared to some of its competitors.
They offer a 10-day free trial, and you will be required to pay $29.99 a month once the trial is over.
Pluralsight is certainly a platform worth checking out. Give it a shot since there’s no risk if you sign up for a free trial.
Founded in 2011, Treehouse is home to more than 300 courses and 50,000 students. They provide courses for a lot of different programming languages and are focused on educating beginners.
Treehouse comes with more structure compared to other free resources available on the web, and it also offers built-in weekly support. Their support system allows you to have a better chance of progressing faster with less trouble if you are willing to put in the work. Additionally, they provide a fun way of learning with gamification and awarding points for each progress you make. Also, the platform includes tracks that serve as roadmaps for your learning progress.
They don’t grant you a certification unless you are subscribed to their Techdegree plan, which is quite pricey. The course materials are largely based on videos, so it may not suit your learning style if you prefer interactive courses with text explanations.
They have three different pricing plans.
- Basic plan will cost you $25 a month. You get access to their video courses, which come with interactive practice sessions. You will also become a part of their online communities.
- Pro plan costs $49 a month. The plan will grant you unlimited access to all of their content, and you also get the ability to download their video courses for offline learning.
- Techdegree plan is their most expensive plan at $199 a month. You will be provided with curated curriculum and projects, as well as personalized feedback.
All things considered, Treehouse is a good platform for anyone who wants to accelerate their learning curve in a fun, supportive environment.
Upskill is another great resource for learning web development and programming. You will be given various different learning tools, such as video lessons, exercises, and coding challenges. On top of that, their free plan allows you to have access to more than 200 lessons.
With Upskill, you will learn as you build real-world applications. The course teaches you and pushes you to integrate your coding knowledge to build a startup called DevMatch, and you will have gained practical knowledge of coding upon the completion of the course.
You need to pay $19 a month for the pro membership to unlock all of the lessons on the site.
You will not be disappointed with Upskill if you want to improve your practical coding skills quickly.
The Best Free Online Coding Classes
FreeCodeCamp claims that more than 40,000 of their graduates have secured jobs in tech companies, such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google, since 2014. That’s quite a bold statement. Nonetheless, their claims are backed up by their alumni network on LinkedIn.
They offer a wide range of certifications which include:
- Responsive web design
- Front end libraries
- Data visualization
- APIs and Microservices
- Information security and quality assurance
- Coding interview prep
The platform also comes with forums where you can ask guidance from more experienced coders when you get stuck.
One of the biggest advantages of FreeCodeCamp is its interactive nature. Each lesson allows you to test what you’ve learned by typing in the input into their web page.
You can then run the test to see if you have entered the correct input.
This interactive feature is great because you can often only get to the level of unconscious competence by actively practicing what you learn. And you are forced to become an active learner with the way the course is taught.
With FreeCodeCamp, It is easy to fall off the track if you don’t maintain a good schedule since the courses aren’t as structured. Another disadvantage is that their materials often lack in-depth documentation. So while the platform is more than adequate for beginner programmers, you will want to supplement your learning with additional resources as you get more advanced.
FreeCodeCamp is one of the best online resources for any beginner looking to learn coding for the first time.
2. MDN Web Docs
Founded in 2005, MDN is highly regarded by web developers as one of the best platforms for learning programming.
If you are focused more on backend development, you will want to supplement your learning with other resources. Also, their materials can be a little too advanced if you are a complete beginner who knows nothing about coding. MDN is more of a comprehensive dictionary for front-end programming languages. As a beginner, you may find it easier to learn from courses that come with interactive features.
Without a doubt, MDN is a great addition to the repertoire of anyone who’s serious about learning programming.
The Odin Project was founded in 2013 and is home to more than 280,000 learners and 1,500 contributors. They claim they provide all the resources you need to learn how to create your own website, games and social media sites, unlike many other platforms that only teach you the basics of programming. The statement seems to hold some credibility as it is highly regarded as one of the best free platforms for learning how to code along with FreeCodeCamp.
The site provides comprehensive training for coding.
These are some of the teachings that are currently available on the platform:
- Web development
- Foundation in Ruby
- Ruby on Rails
- HTML and CSS
There’s no need to worry if you are just starting out, and you feel intimidated by these terms. The platform will provide you with the knowledge you need to progress from one level to the next.
The site is more of a directory for learning to code than a structured curriculum. If you normally require more structure to learn, then you may find that in-person coding bootcamp suits you better.
The Odin Project is a good resource for any self-motivated learners who are looking to improve their coding skills.
edX is a non-profit online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012. The platform currently boasts more than 2,500 courses with 20 million users, and they provide a top-notch education for coding from highly reputable organizations, such as Harvard, MIT, and Microsoft
With edX, you will be learning how to code from highly credible sources, and you will have the option to apply for a verified certificate once you complete the course.
Although you’re able to take all of their coding classes for free, you will lose access after a couple of months unless you purchase a verified certificate.
You can access all of edX’s courses for free, but the verified certificate may cost up to $300.
You can’t go wrong with edX if you are looking for the highest quality online training for coding that’s free of charge. Just make sure you complete the course before it expires!
Codewars was founded by Nathan Doctor in 2012, and the platform utilizes programming challenges known as kata as a teaching tool. These challenges are designed to help students develop their skills through repetition.
Users can earn ranks and honors for completing kata, making it easy for them to get hooked on the learning process. With Codewars, the focus is on doing. So if you are looking to test and sharpen your coding skills, then you will enjoy the platform. Plus, you are able to check out other people’s solutions, which is a good way to gain new perspectives.
The platform is good for testing and improving your knowledge of programming language, but you will need to go the extra mile if your goal is to become a competent software developer. In such a case, it’s better to try to create a piece of useful software and learn through trial and error.
Since 2013, SoloLearn has grown to become a massive platform with more than 35 million users. The platform helps its users learn programming languages via challenges and quizzes. Each section of the course consists of you learning the information, getting quizzed on what you’ve learned, and writing the correct code to move onto the next section. They teach a wide array of programming languages, which include Python, Java, C++, and a whole lot more.
SoloLearn makes it easy for you to access the platform since they have apps available on Android, iOS, and web. They also have a great community for asking questions and interacting with other programmers. Each lesson consists of a comment section where students can ask and answer questions. If you get stuck on any of the steps, you will most likely be able to find the answer somewhere in the comments.
While the comment section is extremely useful, it doesn’t have a search function. This means you may have to dig through hundreds of comments to find the answer you are looking for.
Another big disadvantage is you can’t skip the lesson, and you are required to complete each step before moving onto the next. This effectively prevents you from using the platform as a quick reference.
To sum up, SoloLearn is a good place to start your coding journey, especially with access to its supportive community..
w3schools is a popular platform among beginner programmers. The platform launched in 2013, and they provide tutorials for programming languages, such as Python, PHP, Java, and many more.
There are no projects, and the materials are not as in-depth. Some students also complain that their content is not up-to-date.
8. Khan Academy
They don’t teach other important programming languages, such as Python, Ruby, and Go. The platform won’t cut it if your focus is on learning how to code for application or start a personal programming project. The platform also lacks interactive features.
The site has a total of five projects you can complete. These projects include building a personal website, responsive blog theme, small business website, CSS robot and a Madlibs game.
It’s an interactive learning platform that is project-based, which helps beginners to see how each line of code is applied in practice. You are also given a meaningful explanation for each step of the learning process.
Codeasy is a platform that is specifically designed for learning C#, and they are quite unique in the way they teach. When you enroll, you will begin the course by being introduced to a story about fighting machines in the future. And your mission is to solve problems in your virtual world as you progress in your C# learning.
The platform keeps students engaged by incorporating the storytelling component into its teaching.
The tutorials are mainly focused on beginners. Another obvious drawback is the platform only provides resources for learning C#, and no other programming languages.
Give Codeasy a try if you want to learn the basics of C#.
CodinGame isn’t exactly the right platform for inexperienced beginners. The platform is geared for experienced developers looking to sharpen their skills.
The site supports more than 25 programming languages, including Java, Python, C++ and many more. The gamification of learning allows experienced coders to improve their understanding of coding while keeping them engaged. The platform also hosts contests every three months, which can serve as avenues for participants to get noticed by tech companies.
The site is not intended for beginners. Even the most basic puzzle requires some coding knowledge to solve.
All things considered, you will likely enjoy the platform if you are equipped with some coding knowledge.
Can You Learn How To Code On Your Own?
Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates share one thing in common. Each and every one of them is self-taught in coding, and that means no one was there to hand-hold them throughout their learning process.
Needless to say, it was much more difficult to access resources to learn how to code back in their days.
There is a report that shows that nearly 60% of developers are self-taught. That is not to say that there isn’t a benefit to learning from an instructor in a structured environment. But there is more than enough proof that you can indeed become a competent coder by teaching yourself.
With so many available resources, your success will ultimately come down to your willingness to learn and implement.
Coding is an essential skill you must master, whether your goal is to work as a programmer for a big tech company or develop the next big email marketing software. So I urge you to go and pick any one of the courses from the list and get started today. Even if it’s just for five minutes, it will be a meaningful first step toward your goal.
About the author: Jin Choi is a writer at MoneyNam.com. His favorite hobbies include learning about the latest trends in online marketing and lifting weights at the gym.