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What Is the Best Online Coding Course?

There’s a reason children of today start learning how to code as early as elementary school. Coding and programming skills are essential to many of the most desirable and well-paid jobs on the market.

According to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, software and web developers, programmers, and testers currently earn an average annual salary of $106,980, exactly double the national average salary of $53,490 across all occupations. The news is almost as good for database and network administrators and architects, who earn $96,380 on average. Given the outlook for professions like web development, mobile development, and systems programming, salaries are likely to keep growing in future.

The good news is you don’t have to be a kid to learn programming; You can be fresh out of school or even well into your career. That’s thanks to a smorgasbord of top coding courses online. The best way to learn coding for beginners is to start with common languages like JavaScript (essential for a career in programming) and Python (good for programming as well as data science). Then, after narrowing down your career options, search coding classes in specific languages like Java (mobile development), Ruby (back-end web development), Scala (software applications, back-end web development), and Go (systems programming).

To help you narrow down your search, we compiled this list of the 10 best online coding courses. The list includes a range of free and paid online coding courses. All these courses are perfect for learning coding for beginners, and some of them include the option of continuing through to intermediate and advanced levels.

Best of luck with your new career track and happy coding!

1. Coursera

Coursera works with universities and other organizations to offer online courses, certifications and degrees in a wide variety of subjects, from computer science, data science, and IT to business, health, and the humanities. It currently has 660+ computer science courses for beginners, ranging from specializations offered by universities (e.g. Python for Everybody – by University of Michigan) to professional certificates (e.g. Google IT Support – by Google). Courses can be taken in your own time, with the typical course running anywhere from 100 to 250 hours. Many of the courses are free to audit, and the price of a shareable certificate upon completion starts at $49.

Recommended coding course for beginners: Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming (in partnership with The University of Edinburgh & Universidad ORT Uruguay), takes about 12 hours to complete.

2. Udacity

Udacity is another massive online open course (MOOC) provider, but the difference between Udacity and Coursera is that Udacity deals only with tech courses. Udacity has 140+ programming and development courses, including 37 coding programs for beginners at last count. Udacity’s courses range from one-day courses offered by its own instructors, such as What is Programming?, to courses offered by partners, like Android Basics (in partnership with Google). Prices start from $399 per month for a Pay As You Go subscription or $339 per month for the recommended course duration (e.g. $1,017 for a 3-month course).

Recommended coding course for beginners: Introduction to Programming nanodegree program, 4-month course covering HTML, CSS, and Python which lets you explore possible programming paths in the final course project.

3. Skillshare

Skillshare is a learning community for people who want to learn from interactive videos presented by independent, user-reviewed instructors. It specializes in a range of creative and technical subjects, including web development, UI/UX design, and business analytics. Skillshare has about 2,300 web development classes for beginners, ranging from one hour of video to classes that take around 20 hours to complete. Skillshare is a good option for exploring a profession in coding or for picking up coding skills you can use in whatever else you do in your life–like helping you build your own ecommerce site. You must have a subscription to access courses, and you can test the waters with a 7-day free trial.

Recommended coding course for beginners: Hand-Code Your First Website: HTML + CSS Basics, 2-hour video series introducing you to the basics of web development.

4. Udemy

Udemy is one of the world’s largest MOOC platforms, with millions of students in 130,000 courses in every category imaginable, including lots of good online coding courses. With 9,000+ development courses for beginners, Udemy is suitable for developing professional skills in programming languages or gaining professional certifications in areas like web development, mobile development, game development, and software testing. Each course is sold separately at varying prices.  Classes can be found for $10 through to bootcamps and masterclasses that cost hundreds dollars. Programming courses come with up to a 30-day money back guarantee.

Recommended coding course for beginners: 2021 Complete Python Bootcamp: From Zero to Hero in Python, 155 video lectures in 22 hours.

5. Codeacademy

Codeacademy is an interactive platform offering free online coding classes in 12 different languages:  Python, Java, Go, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, C++, C#, Swift, Sass, HTML, and CSS. It also offers a Pro membership option ($39.99/m or $19.99/m with a 12-month commitment) with personalized learning plans, quizzes, real-world projects, and community support. The catalog is divided into 80+ courses (each of which has a final project attached to it for Pro members) and six career paths with short courses in different skills. Courses range from around 2-12 weeks.

Recommended coding course for beginners: Code Foundations, 2-week career path for people who want to learn coding 101, explore careers in tech, and communicate with developers.

6. edX

edX is a MOOC provider hosting university-level courses in a wide range of subjects, including top online coding classes. More than 150 schools and organizations offer courses through the edX platform. edX has 330+ computer science courses for beginners and 77 professional certificates in computer sciences (degree-like programs comprising multiple courses) For example, if you’re looking to do an extended beginners’ course, there are certificates like Front-End Web Developer from W3Cx, which incorporates 5 courses. Most individual courses are free to audit, although you’ll need to pay $49 to $199 for a certificate at the end of the course.

Recommended coding course for beginners: Computer Science 101, 6-week course from Stanford Online for people with zero prior experience.

7. Pluralsight

Pluralsight isn’t strictly a platform for coding courses for beginners; it’s more a place for existing coders to learn new skills through some of the best online coding courses on the internet. With a library of thousands of courses run by a network of industry experts, Pluralsight is perfect for adding new programming languages to your wheelhouse. It has hundreds of beginner-level courses in software development, most of them on very specific subjects like Introduction to Testing in Java or Angular: Getting Started. Membership includes unlimited access to the course library, offline learning, course discussions, exercise files, and more. Pluralsight’s Role IQ tool will even identify which skills gaps you need to fill.

Recommended coding course for beginners: JavaScript Core Language Path, consisting of 10 short courses over 16 hours.

8. Khan Academy

Khan Academy is home to one of the best free online coding courses catalogs on the internet. This non-profit learning platform has a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere, with courses in computer programming, math, languages, arts, and more. Beginners can start their free learning with Khan Academy’s Hour of Code Lessons. For additional earning, check out the introductions to various programming skills, including Intro to JS: Drawing & Animation, Intro to HTML/CSS: Making Webpages, and Intro to SQL: Querying and Managing Data.

Recommended coding course for beginners: Hour of Code: Creating Webpages, one-hour lesson teaching the basics of HTML and CSS.

9. freeCodeCamp

freeCodeCamp is another free learning platform, but in this case it deals specifically with coding rather than a range of disciplines. The curriculum consists of 6,000+ short tutorials neatly divided into 10 free verified certifications such as: Responsive Web Design, Front End Libraries, Scientific Computing With Python, and JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures. According to freeCodeCamp, more than 40,000 users have gotten jobs at tech companies including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Spotify.

Recommended coding course for beginners: Front End Libraries Certification, 300 hours of tutorials with interactive projects.

10. MIT Open Courseware

MIT OpenCourseWare is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to publish all of the educational materials from its undergraduate- and graduate-level courses, bringing some of the world’s best code courses online. It offers course materials from thousands of its university courses. This includes several introductions to computer science and programming through important languages like Python and Java.

Recommended coding course for beginners: Introduction to Programming in Java, introduction to software engineering through the Java programming language.

You Don’t Have to Graduate From a Top University to Code

Top online coding courses are one of the best things the internet has given us. Gone are the days when you needed to be a Stanford or MIT PhD to work in programming. These days you can learn basic programming skills with just a few weeks or months of online learning, and best of all it can be done affordably and without any prerequisites.

How we created this
list
Compiled from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.