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The 11 Best Free Online Coding Courses for Computer Programming


In-demand programming jobs are abundant, and a growing number of free courses to help you land one of them—even without a traditional computer science degree.



To excel in the field of computer programming, you need to know where to look for free computer programming courses and work with the best on each site. Whether you’re a total beginner or a pro looking for free online coding courses with certificates, this list has something for you.

MIT OCW Programming Course website preview

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is one of the best free coding courses for beginners. It’s incredible for dedicated self-starters, as you can go through the different programming courses at your own pace.

The courses address the basics and provide access to all the lectures, slides, and assignments used within the video tutorials. MIT OCW’s computer programming courses have introductory lessons on Computer Science and programming in Python along with other languages. Additionally, you can expect plenty of comprehensive material on specific fields like machine learning and electronics.

The site splits its introductory programming courses into General Introductions, Follow-Up Courses, and Language-Specific Courses.

To help you get started, here are the best free MIT OCW Programming Courses:

CS50's Introduction to Computer Science course details on website

edX provides free college-level online courses jointly spearheaded by MIT and Harvard University. Majorly, all online programming courses are free since the organization is a non-profit entity. However, don’t forget some paid courses are also available, in case you want to master some advanced levels.

Courses on edX can be weekly or self-paced, and you can attend the programming classes online. Subjects span the entire range of topics you might find at any accredited university, but there’s a heavy skew toward Computer Science, Engineering, and Business & Management. They’re also divided into Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced levels for your convenience.

To experience some of the best free coding courses, you should head to edX. The platform offers Certificate Programs, which offer a rich course curriculum that allows mastery in a specific area, like Front-End Web Development or Data Science.

To learn to code online for free, here are some of the top picks for the best free edX Programming courses:

Programming for Everybody course overview on the website

Coursera is a free online course platform backed by Stanford University and venture capitalists. The platform collaborates with various universities and organizations to provide their courses, while earning revenue through its certificate programs.

Coursera focuses on specializations, including sets of courses designed to build your skills in a particular topic. However, it is not as comprehensive as emulating a full program.

For example, the Data Structures and Algorithms six-course specialization covers Basic Data Structures, Basic Algorithms, Graph Algorithms, String Algorithms, Advanced Algorithms, and Genome Assembly. When it comes to coding for beginners, there’s a lot of variety, whether you’re eyeing software engineering or data science as a future career.

Coursera features a list of free and paid online programming courses. Courses are self-paced but have definite start and end dates, meaning you’ll have to go through them as they’re available. Today’s courses may not be there tomorrow, but new ones may show up in their place.

Here are the best of Coursera’s free online coding classes:

Introduction to Python Programming course overview on website

Udacity is another online course platform, but unlike MIT OCW, edX, and Coursera, Udacity strictly focuses on programming, data science, and engineering topics. No math, social sciences, or humanities. It’s all about technology, and we believe it’s arguably better for it.

Udacity aims to prepare you for occupational success in one of its tech-related fields. The platform places a lot of attention on its Nanodegree Programs, which are compact curriculums (usually completed in under a year) designed to get you job-ready as quickly as possible.

Nanodegrees cost anywhere from $100 to $500 each.

Don’t want to pay anything? That’s fine. You can eschew the whole curriculum-based approach and stick to free computer programming courses. Most of Udacity’s free programming courses are basic introductions intended to kick-start learning in a full curriculum environment, so they’re not particularly in-depth. You won’t become a pro with them, but you’ll learn the basics to get you going.

If you’re taking coding classes on Udacity, here are some recommendations of the best free coding courses to get you started.

Programming 101 course details on website

Udemy is an online education marketplace where anyone can create (and even sell) their courses for others to consume. This is quite the double-edged sword: it allows skilled folks to share their knowledge without an education degree, but you may have to wade through many options to find the perfect fit for yourself.

The programming courses on Udemy span all kinds of topics. You’ll find everything from Python-based data crunching to the basics of ethical hacking, from Java fundamentals to master-level web development. You’ll also find a lot of courses related to game development.

Note: Never pay full price for a Udemy course! The Udemy marketplace frequently holds massive sales, slashing prices anywhere from 50 to 90 percent off.

While you wait, here are some of the best free Udemy coding classes to get started:

freeCodeCamp main page showing the menu icon

To become a proficient web developer, whether front-end or back-end, you should consider coding classes on freeCodeCamp (which primarily teaches HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React).

You can get certifications by completing courses in various categories from freeCodeCamp’s 3000-hour curriculum. freeCodeCamp offers content on Web Design, Quality Assurance, Data Visualization, Machine Learning, and other additional topics.

If you want to know more about Agile/Scrum methodologies, you can enroll in some related courses on freeCodeCamp.

Even if you have no coding experience, you’ll be fine. Expect to invest several months from start to finish, so you can understand the concepts taught. Don’t rush it.

Khan Academy computer programming course modules

Khan Academy is one of the internet’s greatest treasures. This non-profit education platform has been a wonderful source of free education for the past decade, and it’s only getting better. Want to learn Calculus? Biology? World History? How to do your taxes or invest your money? It’s all here.

Khan Academy offers online courses in JavaScript, as well as HTML, CSS, and SQL. It’s still a fledgling catalog compared to the other sites on this list, but it’s worth keeping an eye on as it grows.

Get started with the Khan Academy Computer Programming Course.

YouTube is very hit-or-miss. Thousands of tutorial playlists exist, but too many of them are superficial or downright inaccurate. Of those that seem promising, a good chunk of them are incomplete. And of the ones that are complete, a significant portion are outdated.

However, if you have a discerning eye, YouTube can be a great resource for learning how to program.

Python for data analysts course details on OpenCourser website

OpenCourser isn’t an education platform like the other sites listed here. Rather, it’s a search engine that aggregates thousands of free online courses from around the web and brings them to your fingertips.

As of this writing, OpenCourser catalogs over 900 free online programming courses and adds more daily. Yes, you’ll find many courses from edX, Coursera, Udacity, etc., but you’ll also find some from other course providers, like Saylor Academy.

At the very least, it’s a convenient way to search many of the aforementioned platforms simultaneously.

Codecademy list of Python courses

Codecademy is a series of interactive programming courses online that aim to teach you the basics of a handful of programming languages and frameworks. Each course is a gamified, step-by-step process that holds your hand from beginning to end.

But a word of caution before you dive into Codecademy: the things you’ll learn here are somewhat basic and superficial. Codecademy teaches you how to write code, but it doesn’t teach you how to think like a programmer very well.

Many first-time newbies end up frustrated because they don’t know what to do with the knowledge they’ve picked up.

If you have prior coding experience and simply want to learn the syntax of a new language, then Codecademy is extremely useful. If you consider yourself a beginner, then you should avoid Codecademy for now.

The Odin Project landing page with some building blocks

The Odin Project is another free, comprehensive, programming-focused platform. It teaches HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Ruby on Rails. Because it’s free, it’s a great way to see if you want to pursue a career in the industry without having to pay for an expensive bootcamp. Even if you don’t want to create an account, you can use the resources for free.

The curriculum is expansive, the moderators are extremely helpful, and the projects you complete are based on real-world scenarios that you might encounter in a dev role.

Plus, The Odin Project boasts of a community that’s constantly encouraging growth and actively assisting members.

Get Your Code On

Coding is a key skill for the times and can be a foundation that helps you navigate the evolving tech space from a creator’s mindset. It’s not a walk in the park, but it’ll pay off if you’re determined to stick with it.


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