The University Network

Best Online Programming Classes And Programs

Tech is one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative industries in the world, so much so that five of the top six most valuable brands are in the tech industry. Big oil is now big data, and millions of people around the world are attempting to get in on the boom by learning to code.

Computer programming is an increasingly valuable skill in the modern economy — even professional writers need to know basic HTML and how to work with content management systems like WordPress. Whether you want to get into web development or you simply want to learn some basic programming skills, there’s never been a better time to learn to code, no matter what industry you work in. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to go back to school to do so. Thanks to websites like Udemy, Coursera, and Pluralsight, there are thousands of free and affordable online programming courses. We’ve put together a list of our favorites, so you can learn programming on your own time, from the comfort of your home.

Online Courses for Programming

1. The Web Developer Bootcamp

Taught by Colt Steele, an in-person programming bootcamp instructor, “The Web Developer Bootcamp” is a comprehensive introduction to full stack web development. The course starts out by covering the basics with sections on HTML and CSS. Soon you’ll move onto Bootstrap 4, JavaScript, Node.js, and more. You’ll learn both front-end and back-end web development, so you will have all of the skills you need to develop websites and web applications from scratch. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll learn how to think like a programmer. You won’t learn software development, but after taking this course, you will have a strong understanding of the principles of programming and the commonalities between different languages, as well as an ability to read and interpret code. You’ll be well prepared to learn new languages and work with different technologies. This course also has a sequel — “The Advanced Web Developer Bootcamp,” which covers React 16, Redux, ES2015, CSS animations, and more.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $11.99 on sale ($199.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 47 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, and Turkish
  • Vendor: Udemy

Note: Prices for all courses listed in this article are true on the date of publishing, but are subject to change.

2. Complete Software Developer Bootcamp: Zero to Hero in 2019!

One of the most comprehensive online programming courses available, this course is focused on five programming languages commonly used for software development: C, C++, C#, Java, and Python. In effect, it is five programming courses wrapped into one bundle, with nearly 700 video lectures comprising 72 hours worth of material. You’ll learn the syntax of each of the languages covered and use them to build real, usable programs. In short, this is a great course for absolute beginners who want a comprehensive introduction to programming in multiple languages.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $11.99 on sale (159.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 71 hours, 28 minutes
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Udemy

3. C Programming For Beginners – Master the C Language

C is one of the most intimidating programming languages, but it’s also one of the most important for beginner programmers to learn. Even if today’s programmers use C less frequently than modern languages like JavaScript and Python, it is the foundation for the most popular programming languages. Joel Spolsky, Chairman of the Board of Stack Overflow, refers to C as the “lingua franca of working programmers” and compares a programmers who don’t know C to medical doctors who don’t know basic anatomy. In this course, you will learn C from the ground up, beginning with the installation process. By the end, you’ll be able to build a program of your own in C.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $11.99 on sale ($199.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 22 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Thai
  • Vendor: Udemy

4. Short and Sweet: Basic Programming Concepts in 2 Hours

Short and Sweet: Basic Programming Concepts in 2 Hours” is a brief but insightful introduction to programming. The course is designed to teach not a single language, but the terminology and concepts that arise in most programming languages. The curriculum includes lessons on if-else statements, while loops, avoiding infinite loops, for loops, variables, comments, arrays, and more. By learning these foundational ideas, you’ll be able to pick up any programming language more easily.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $11.99 on sale ($49.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 1 hour, 47 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Udemy

5. Programming Foundations with JavaScript, HTML and CSS

This course by Duke University teaches fundamental programming and web development concepts via JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. The course begins by covering principal concepts such as functions, for loops, and conditional statements. You’ll then quickly move into using HTML and CSS to build basic web pages before beginning to work with JavaScript to create interactive web pages. By the end of the course, you will have built an interactive web page where users can upload images and apply filters to them. Because this course is based around JavaScript, which is often called the language of the web, this course is primarily recommended for aspiring web developers.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Course Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 22 hours (3–7 hours per week suggested)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Coursera

6. Programming Basics

This course, designed by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and available on EdX, covers basic programming concepts and introduces students to working with C and C++. It covers a variety of fundamental programming concepts such as algorithms, basic data types, functions, arrays, matrices, string processing, and more. It is the first course in IIT Bombay’s “Fundamentals of Computer Science” program, which also features courses on object-oriented programming, foundations of data structures, implementation of data structures, algorithms, and more.

  • College credits: NO — Verified Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a $49 fee to earn and buy a Verified Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 9 weeks (6–8 hours per week suggested)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: EdX

7. CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science

CS50x is the online edition of Harvard University’s introductory computer science course, their largest class on campus. Students will work with four major programming languages: C, Python, SQL, and JavaScript plus CSS and HTML. But the course is much more than just a programming course. You will learn foundational computer science concepts such as abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development. If you’ve never programmed or taken a computer science course before, this is a great course for you. You’ll get a taste of a few main programming languages and learn not only how to program, but how programming works.

  • College credits: NO — Verified Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a $90 fee to earn and buy a Verified Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 10 weeks (10–20 hours per week)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: EdX

8. Programming for Beginners: Thinking & Writing Great Programs

This course is designed to teach people who’ve never worked with a programming language to think like programmers. You’ll learn not only how to work with programming languages, but the core theory behind programming. The course is a brief three hours long, but it covers concepts like algorithms, logical schemes, variables, and sequencing. Many online courses, even those designed for beginners, fail to explain these fundamental concepts. By learning programming from the ground up, you’ll be able to grasp new languages and interpret code more easily down the road.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $11.99 on sale ($49.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 3 hours
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Udemy

9. Automate the Boring Stuff with Python Programming

This course is designed to teach people who work outside of tech practical programming skills to use in their daily life. It is based around Python, one of the most popular general-purpose programming languages, which can be used for anything from web development to machine learning. In this course, you will learn the basics of programming with Python as well as practical skills that you can use to increase your productivity in your job. For example, you’ll learn how to create programs that perform specific tasks, like automatically generating and updating Excel spreadsheets, parsing PDF and Word documents, web scraping, and more. Whereas many courses dive into computer science concepts like sorting algorithms and object oriented paradigms, this course skips over the computer science material and focuses strictly on practical, usable concepts.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $11.99 on sale ($49.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 9 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Indonesian, Japanese, and Portuguese
  • Vendor: Udemy

10. What is Programming?

What is Programming?” is the most fundamental programming course on Pluralsight. It covers the basic concepts that tie together all programming languages. Most introductory programming courses cover a single programming language and dive headfirst into building programs and working with syntax. This course touches on a number of popular languages, rather than just one, and focuses on the ideas, terminology, and rules that tie all programming languages together. By understanding programming from a theoretical standpoint, you will be better prepared to work with different syntaxes, build original programs, and problem-solve when programming.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate only
  • Price: FREE
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 2 hours, 50 minutes
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Pluralsight

11. Basic Programming Concepts – EXPLAINED!

This course by instructor Grant Kilmaytys is a brief course designed to help students grasp the basic concepts behind programming and how it works. Klimaytys communicates critical programming concepts that translate across various languages, such as classes and objects, inheritance, encapsulation, and abstraction, in a way that is comprehensible for people with no background in computer science. You won’t learn to code, but you will learn fundamental concepts and terminology that will carry into other courses. 

  • College credits: NO — Certificate only
  • Price: One-month free trial and then $15 billed monthly or $99 billed annually for Premium plan
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 22 minutes
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Skillshare

Online Programs for Programming

12. Web Design for Everybody (Basics of Web Development and Coding) Specialization

If you’re interested in web development, this Coursera Specialization covers all you need to know to work in the field. The Specialization consists of five courses covering HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Designed for people with no background in computer science, it teaches these languages step by step. You will start out by learning how programming works and steadily begin to code, starting with HTML. Once you cover the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you will begin to work with some advanced web design concepts, such as responsive web design, which allows web pages to render well on a variety of devices and screens. The Specialization concludes with a capstone project, in which students design and develop a professional-quality web portfolio that functions on at least three platforms.

Course 1: Introduction to HTML5

Course 2: Introduction to CSS3 

Course 3: Interactivity with JavaScript 

Course 4: Advanced Styling with Responsive Design

Course 5: Web Design for Everybody Capstone

  • College credits: NO — Specialization Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Specialization Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 3 months (7 hours per week suggested)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English and Hindi
  • Vendor: Coursera

13. Introduction to Programming

This Nanodegree program from Udacity is structured around learning Python and JavaScript with HTML and CSS. You’ll begin by writing your first lines in code and building a basic webpage in HTML. In the second course, you’ll learn how to use CSS to add style and build an attractive web page. In the third course, you’ll begin working with Python, one of the most popular general-use programming languages, which you will use to build an interactive rock, paper, scissors game. Finally, you’ll work with JavaScript, the standard language for building interactive web applications. By the end, you’ll have a strong foundation in the basics of programming with two of the most popular programming languages.

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: $1,436 for four-month plan (paid upfront) or $399 per month
  • Financial aid or scholarships: YES
  • Mobile learning: NO
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 4 months (10 hours per week suggested)
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Udacity