6 Best (FREE) online coding courses for beginners

By Sarah Kuta for Galvanize

The prospect of learning how to code can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have any computer science knowledge or experience.

But software engineering, data science, and related fields can be stable, long-term career paths no matter where you live — there’s a huge demand right now for employees with computer science skills at established companies and startups. Plus, jobs in these fields tend to pay well and come with lots of associated perks and benefits. If you’re mulling over the idea of a new career, learning how to code is a great investment in yourself.

Consider taking a free basic coding class online if you’re interested in dipping your toes in the water but not yet fully ready to commit to a coding bootcamp. You’ll know within a few weeks or months whether you enjoy this type of work and whether this is a path you want to pursue further. There’s no commitment, and you can often work at your own pace, which gives you the flexibility to study programming on nights and weekends even if you’ve got a full-time job.

Not sure where to begin? Here are seven of the best free options for learning how to code if you’re a beginner.

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1. Hack Reactor 

Hack Reactor’s online coding bootcamp is the best around, so it’s no surprise that the company’s software engineer free prep program is also incredibly effective for learning Javascript as a beginner. Hack Reactor offers a free, online, self-guided prep course that lets you study at your own pace and work on your own time.

If you know you need more support and accountability as you learn to code, their live online premium prep course is also a good option. The premium prep course costs $250 upfront, but if you decide to enroll in the Hack Reactor online coding bootcamp and are accepted, you’ll get that amount deducted from your tuition, which makes it free in the end.

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2. Udemy

Udemy is a cool online platform that offers more than 100,000 courses on a whole host of subjects, including coding. The platform has a huge variety of free programming fundamentals courses, so you can pick and choose or stack courses back-to-back based on your interests.

There are free courses covering introductory Python, coding in Javascript, and the basics of Java programming. And even if you have absolutely no experience with coding, you can still get your feet wet — courses like “Programming for Non-Programmers” help break it down and make learning to code fun and simple.


3. Codecademy

Take your pick of more than a dozen coding languages, including C++, Python, Ruby, SQL, Java, and beyond with the online offerings of Codecademy. Codecademy offers both paid and free courses, so you can customize your learning to meet your needs and your budget. The free membership option lets you access basic courses that feature interactive lessons and daily practice options. You’ll need to upgrade to the pro membership to get beyond the basics, however.

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4. Coursera

Coursera is unique in that it offers courses from universities and companies, many of which don’t cost a dime. This online learning platform offers an array of free classes in computer science that cover topics like Python, C#, Java, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and much more. The courses are offered by leading institutions like the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado, as well as top companies like Google and IBM. And if you decide you like coding, you can continue your studies with paid certification programs and series.


5. Khan Academy

Designed for students at all levels, Khan Academy is a great way to get a broad understanding of computer programming principles. The platform offers short, easy-to-digest tutorials in topics like JS, HTML/CSS, SQL, and tons of other topics. On top of that, Khan Academy is partnering with Code.org on its “Hour of Code” initiative, which features an interactive curriculum with fun coding challenges for beginning programmers everywhere. 

Fun fact: our CEO, Harsh Patel, volunteered for Khan Academy and even used their lessons to help students during his time as a Teach for America instructor.

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6. edX

Who wouldn’t want to take free courses from leading universities like Harvard and MIT? You can learn to code from some of the best professors in the world through edX, an online learning platform with tons of free computer science courses. You can even earn professional certificates through edX by mastering an entire series of courses, though you’ll have to pay for some of these higher-tier offerings. Topics include Python, artificial intelligence, HTML, CSS, Javascript, Java, C, C++, and so much more.

Interested in learning to code using languages like Javascript, HTML, and CSS? We encourage you to join our software engineering prep course to get started or fill out the form below to learn more about our software engineering program!

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