Learning how to code isn’t easy. However, there is such a massive demand for competent coders that it’s easy to find resources for how to learn coding online, even free options.
If you’re wondering how to get started, it comes down to finding the right resources, making the time to learn the material, and practice. Lots and lots of practice.
Keep in mind that there’s no one single resource that will teach you everything that you need to know about programming. Every platform we will review here covers different aspects of the journey. However, we’ll help you identify the right options for your needs.
👉 In this article, we’ll introduce you to ten fantastic 🤩 resources for how to learn coding online. We’ll talk about what aspects of programming they cover, who should consider using each option, and their prices. Let’s get to it!
📚 Table of contents:
freeCodeCamp is one of the most popular resources for how to learn coding online. Firstly, the platform offers a massive library of courses that continually expands. Its curriculum can guide you from learning responsive web design to backend development and even covers interview preparation.
The second reason why we recommend freeCodeCamp is that it’s practical. The platform encourages you to build real-life projects that you can show off during interviews. That practice is much more valuable than simply completing courses and getting certifications.
Additionally, freeCodeCamp is free, which is always a plus. One downside of the platform is that some students complain it’s not beginner-friendly. The platform’s courses don’t hold your hand, and they expect you to start solving problems right from the get-go.
That can be the right approach to learning for some people. However, if you’re 100% new to coding and don’t have a web development background, you might want to start with a more beginner-friendly platform.
💵 Price: Free
🖊️ You should sign up for freeCodeCamp if…
You want to follow a comprehensive curriculum that will take you all the way to practicing for interviews. You can choose what parts of the curriculum to skip based on the kinds of jobs you want to apply for.
If you’ve ever dreamed of going to Harvard, you’ll probably love its CS50: Introduction to Computer Science program. It’s entirely online, and anyone can attend lessons via the edX platform.
Unlike other courses, CS50 doesn’t drop you right into learning programming languages. The program aims to help you build a strong foundation in computer science and programming basics. The course strongly emphasizes algorithms and learning how to solve problems by thinking from a programming perspective.
💵 Price: Free with an optional $150 certificate
🖊️ You should sign up for CS50 if…
You want to learn about computer science fundamentals and understand how algorithms work. This is a crucial aspect when figuring out how to learn coding online, and many courses skip it in favor of covering programming languages right from the get-go. Plus, you get to learn from one of the best academic institutions in the world.
The Odin Project is a free resource that aims to take students from zero coding knowledge to being ready for coding jobs. If you compare it with other coding resources, The Odin Project offers a much more beginner-friendly curriculum. Its Foundations course covers everything from computer basics to text editors and learning how to use Git.
It’s important to emphasize that going from zero to job-ready as a coder won’t just take a few months. The Odin Project is a self-paced program, and although it highlights success stories, what you get out of the curriculum will depend on how much time and effort you invest.
💵 Price: Free
🖊️ You should sign up for The Odin Project if…
You’re looking for a resource with a highly-structured curriculum that doesn’t skip the basics. This could be perfect if you’re not that comfortable with computing and want to cover information that other courses miss, such as how the web works, installing programs, using the command line, and more.
edX isn’t exactly a platform for learning how to code. Instead, it gives you access to online courses from leading universities. These curriculums cover topics ranging from economics to biology, business management, and computer science.
Among the edX computer programming courses, you’ll find options such as CS50, which we covered earlier. edX also offers courses pioneered by companies such as IBM, which sponsors a Fundamentals of C++ curriculum. You’ll also find programming courses from Georgia Tech, NYU, and other higher education institutions.
The appeal of edX is that you can find courses for almost any branch of programming you’re interested in. However, classes tend to be highly specialized. That means if you don’t already have a background in coding, you’ll need to do some research to put together a basic curriculum. In most cases, that will involve multiple courses.
Although edX enables you to take most courses for free, you have to pay if you want a certificate. That is, of course, on top of passing each course.
💵 Price: Free with optional paid certificates
🖊️ You should sign up for edX if…
You already have a background in coding (even a basic one) and want access to an extensive library of varied courses. edX certificates can also look good on your CV if you have the budget to pay for them.
Harvard is not the only institution that offers free coding courses online. MIT has an entire platform dedicated to sharing some of its most valuable classes for free. Among those courses, you’ll find several options for learning how to code.
MIT OpenCourseWare courses give you access to lecture videos and notes. You’ll also get to work on problem sets and receive assignments. These are actual classes from MIT professors and lecturers, so you’re receiving a world-class education for free.
The downside of MIT OpenCourseWare is that you won’t receive any certificates, and the platform lacks interaction with other students. However, you still get access to several introductory programming courses, including the basics of Python, algorithms, and the elements of software construction.
💵 Price: Free
🖊️ You should sign up for MIT OpenCourseWare if…
You want to take MIT classes for free and don’t mind learning using videos and lecture notes. Unlike other platforms, MIT OpenCourseWare is not as interactive, so you’ll need to do the brunt of the work on your end.
Udemy is very different from the other coding resources we’ve already explored. Unlike the other options on this list, Udemy is all about premium courses. Creators can upload classes on almost any topic and charge as much as they want.
Therefore, while Udemy is not as focused as other coding platforms, it helps you find options for learning particular skills and programming languages. Moreover, most courses tend to be beginner-friendly since they want to attract as many students as possible.
Before you purchase any Udemy course, you can usually preview several videos. These will give you an idea of whether the curriculum is a good fit for you. Since programming courses on Udemy tend to be expensive, we recommend taking advantage of this feature to avoid spending money on a class that might not be a good fit for you.
💵 Price: Courses are paid, and the cost varies depending on the classes that you choose
🖊️ You should sign up for Udemy if…
The idea of premium courses doesn’t scare you off, and you want to learn from various teachers. You can also find classes covering highly-specific aspects of coding, which is something that most programming resources don’t offer.
If you haven’t heard of the University of Helsinki, you’re missing out on its amazing full-stack development course, which is offered online for free. The course assumes that you already have a handle on programming basics. It starts by teaching you the fundamentals of web apps and how to use React.
The full-stack open course lets you interact with other students using Discord and Telegram channels. You’ll also get a certificate for completing the course, which is a nice reward to strengthen your CV.
💵 Price: Free
🖊️ You should sign up for the University of Helsinki Full Stack Open Course if…
Codecademy gets some mixed reviews from experienced coders and students using the platform. In a nutshell, Codecademy offers programming courses for the majority of the most popular languages. However, some students find the classes too superficial and unhelpful if you’re aiming to enter the workforce as a coder.
In our experience, Codecademy is not the kind of resource that you use if you want to learn the ins and outs of a programming language. However, the platform excels if you’re looking to dip your toes into new languages and technologies. Moreover, Codecademy offers one of the most intuitive and user-friendly learning experiences on the market.
You can access several Codecademy courses for free, and premium memberships aren’t expensive, starting at $11.99 per month. Ideally, we recommend using Codecademy alongside other learning resources to help you practice and cover any gaps in your knowledge.
💵 Price: Free and premium plans available
🖊️ You should sign up for Codecademy if…
You want to learn coding in a low-stress environment with a user-friendly interface. This platform won’t get you job-ready, but it’s a great option if you’re interested in coding as a hobby.
One of the biggest challenges in learning how to code is that it can be hard to understand which resources you need to use during different steps of your journey. The goal of ReallyConfused is to show the experience of working programmers. In this way, you will know what to do next after finishing a course or learning a specific language.
💵 Price: Free
🖊️ You should sign up for ReallyConfused if…
You’re unsure what to do after you finish a coding course, or you want to learn about other programmers’ steps to get where they are in their coding careers.
Finally, Codewars is one of the most exciting solutions for how to learn coding online, because it’s all about practice. The platform offers new coding challenges all the time, and it keeps track of your successes and compares them with other users.
Codewars “katas” can be simple debugging exercises, algorithmic challenges, or even questions you might see in coding interviews. Keep in mind that using Codewars requires a basic understanding of any programming language on the platform. It can be intimidating at first, but Codewars lets you practice your coding skills without staying within the strict parameters of other online courses.
💵 Price: Free
🖊️ You should sign up for Codewars if…
You want to practice your coding skills. When figuring out how to learn coding online, it can be easy to fall into the trap of overestimating your skills, because you follow the challenges laid out by courses. Testing your skills with diverse problems will help you to think more like a real-life coder rather than a student-of-coding.
Figuring out how to learn coding online can be challenging. Although hundreds of resources are available, it’s hard to know where to start or which platforms are worth your time and money. Choosing the right resources won’t only make the process much easier, it will also increase your chances of finding programming jobs.
If you’re unsure 🤔 where to start with coding, we recommend freeCodeCamp. It offers a mix of beginner-friendly and more advanced courses, and the platform doesn’t hold your hand all the time. After you’re comfortable with the basics of coding, you can move on to more challenging classes to fill any knowledge gaps you might have.
Do you have any questions about how to learn coding online? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
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