Coding and computer science education in general have gone much more mainstream than ever before, but the demand for qualified coders is still very high. It’s not a fast or easy skillset to acquire, but many coders are able to teach themselves the basics and beyond through online sites.
Here are ten affordable (or totally free) sites which can help you learn to code from home.
The best way to learn how to do something is by doing it. GitHub is just such a sandbox. Owned by Microsoft, GitHub started as a simple host for the Git version control system software. It’s now home to a group of over 37 million developers working on over 100 million repositories (i.e. data structures built to store metadata). With so many ongoing projects, GitHub has become a haven for coders of all languages to “learn by doing” and perfect their skills through practice and peer-review.
Their Social Coding page is a good place to start exploring. Also check out their Community Forum to join in discussions. Verified school students should check out the GitHub Student Developer Pack, too.
Pluralsight also offers help with certifications, assessment of knowledge gaps and strengths and a handy Role IQ feature which helps determine career suitability.
5.) Khan Academy
Khan Academy was on the forefront of the “free online course content” arena, which has since grown into a major industry. There’s a nice selection of programming videos and practice modules about SQL, Java, Python and C++, most of it apparently created by someone named “Pamela.” Thus, there is a lack of variety in terms of instructors, however the site has an active community “teaching each other,” with posted rules of engagement to ensure everyone stays on topic and respectful.
6.) aGupieWare Blog
Among the other treasures waiting to be unearthed on aGupieWare’s blog is their long-form post: “Online Learning: A Bachelor’s Level Computer Science Program Curriculum (Updated).”
In it, the author poses the question—“Why pay $50,000 a year to go to Harvard, for example, if you could take all the exact same courses online for free?” Well, apart from having a degree from Harvard, it’s a fair question. The blog outlines literally an entire degree program with links to every free, online course that applies… including electives! It’s study at your own pace, obviously, and if you only want to focus on coding, so be it. No matter how many courses you complete, you’ll avoid a considerable amount of Ivy League student loan debt to pay back.
7.) Code Avengers
Code Avengers also features Code Camps where trained tutors can come out to for 1 to 3 day in-class sessions. The site offers a free trial period and monthly or annual subscription plans.
8.) MIT OpenCourseWare
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a world-renowned leader in education and research. They’re also ahead of the curve when it comes to offering completely free courses for international learners, through their OpenCourseWare program. Featuring dozens of undergraduate and graduate-level computer science lectures, the main thing to watch out for is the currency of the content. Some of the videos were recorded years ago and we’re not sure if MIT is closely monitoring this older content for modern relevance. But hey, it’s free and even the dated recordings can still help lay a solid foundation for further study.
9.) Google’s CS First
Google is into everything, so naturally we could’ve expected them to break into the free education sector. And so they have! Their CS First home page tells the story fairly succinctly. It’s a “free computer science curriculum that makes coding easy to teach and fun to learn.” Every engaging video-based lesson lasts an hour and features hands-on activities to perform. Aligned with national education standards, the curriculum is designed for classroom use and even offers teachers some nifty tools for tracking student progress.
Coursera partners with leading companies and educational institutions to offer a centralized location to take their courses or sign up for specialized certification programs. All coursework is clearly outlined in a logical sequence for ease-of-use, as an interactive textbook paired with tests, videos and projects you can work on. A quick search for “coding” will yield up dozens of results, with offerings from places like the University of Michigan, University of California – Davis, Google, IBM, University of London and many more.
For certifications, you’ll have to pay, but there are many free classes to take. Fast Company assembled a list of the free computer science ones, but double check on the Coursera site to ensure these are current.