Everyone should learn how to code.
Aside from the obvious benefit of opening doors into in-demand (and highly paid) tech jobs, coding offers valuable thinking skills you can use in any occupation. Problem-solving, inter-department communication, automating day-to-day tasks, and attention-grabbing résumés are a few of the strengths you gain with coding literacy.
What’s even better is anyone can get started, and for free! You don’t need to be a computer prodigy to learn to code thanks to the simplified languages we use today, and there is an abundance of free online coding courses at your disposal.
So, whether you want to build up your hard skills, create websites, develop games, or any other computer science-related goal, there’s a free course here to help you. Keep reading as we list the top free coding courses on the market, highlight their distinct advantages, and describe who they suit best.
What to Look For in a Free Coding Course
Free often seems too good to be true. It’s synonymous with basic or outdated – but that’s not always the case. Free coding resources are becoming accesible as the demand for coders increases. Therefore, to stand out from the crowd and have amazing free courses, a site must have:
- Interactive Learning and Engagement – Make sure you’re getting practical experience writing code with interactive lesson plans!
- Real-life applicable information – We love learning, but we want to learn with tools and techniques that will actually help us in real life coding jobs.
- It’s actually free – Paying for pro features is understandable, but the resources needed to gain the intended skills should be free to use.
With this in mind, we’ve sifted through today’s most popular online learning sites to bring you our top choices.
1. Qvault – Best Overall Free Coding Courses
Why It’s The Best
- Emphasis on learning by doing
- Good range of free coding course content
- Not for those who prefer lecture-based learning
First on our list is Qvault.
Each course is partnered with their innovative web-based coding portal and access to a separate blog library full of updated syntax, rules, and properties. The coding portal lets you practice coding and apply concepts while you complete lessons and earn achievements.
Incorporated with their free courses is their resourceful discord server, where you can talk to and get help from other students currently or previously on the course. There you can network and hear other people’s experiences, discuss projects you’re working on, post your CV to get feedback and advice for getting a coding job, and much more.
Online computer science learning can be isolating and confusing without peer support, but you don’t have to give that up with Qvault’s platform.
Aside from ticking all our boxes, what sets Qvault apart from the rest is they emphasize the importance of learning by doing and teaching the fundamentals of computer science in tandem with coding.
Anyone can have a tutorial and programming language thrown at them, but if you ignore its roots in computer science and miss out on the fundamental origins of this technology, then you’ll fall short when it comes to applying this knowledge in the real world.
All their courses are free to use and you can fully read and answer all their coding challenges and lessons. You also get feedback on your code, such as whether you’ve made an error, for the first 6 lessons in each course, after which you’ll need to upgrade to a Pro subscription to get full access to feedback and any solutions if you get stuck. But at $6 per month, even the Pro version is a great accessible way to learn coding for cheap.
Overall, their free membership is an excellent way for anyone to build modern applicable programming skills necessary in today’s world.
2. freeCodeCamp – Best Free Coding Courses Variety
- All features are free
- A wide library of courses
- No guidance or professional help
Founded in 2014, freeCodeCamp has helped thousands of coders get jobs at tech giants like Google and Microsoft, offering 6,000+ tutorials to gain key coding skills.
You can work your way through hundreds of hours of free courses, including intro courses to different programming languages, working with APIs, information security, and even machine learning.
The courses are lecture-based, so there’s not much practical experience, but they do have a YouTube channel that hosts videos that go hand in hand with their courses. This helps make the lessons more digestible, especially for those new to the field.
They also have an active community where you can seek advice and help for whatever lesson you’re on.
In general, freeCodeCamp is perfect for all levels as their courses range from beginner to expert level, however, if you want to work on projects, get hands-on experience, or proof of your work, you’ll ultimately have to look elsewhere for it.
3. CodeWars – Great Free Online Coding Course for Skill Building
- Offers a competitive edge to learning code
- Fun and interactive
- Doesn’t teach code directly
CodeWars brings a wholly unique attitude to learning code, and because of that, we’ve bumped it up to spot number 3.
As the name might suggest, CodeWars is less about teaching code and more about upscaling a user’s fluency with code. Instead of lessons, you’ll compete against other students in “CodeWars” by solving “Kata” or problems in your programming language of choice.
As you progress through the levels, you’ll earn achievements and sharpen your skills.
Along with providing amazing practice, it also breeds the opportunity to learn from peers and build communal wisdom. You truly join a community when you use this tool, and it’s an enlightening way to practice and learn code.
To get started, all you have to do is prove you know the code by completing an entry exercise, and you’re in.
We recommend this site for everyone because the gaming aspect can speak to the fun, competitive nature in all of us. But especially those learning in an online lecture-based course that is missing practical application.
4. Future Learn – Great Free Coding Courses for Casual Learners
- Opportunities to earn online degrees and take university accredited programs
- Learn at your own pace
- Not interactive
- No free access to courses for advanced or serious learners
Future Learn is a lecture-based online education site that offers courses across multiple disciplines and allows you to study at your own pace. Included in their free intro to coding courses are an introduction to Python, computational thinking, web development, and databases.
They also offer free project-based courses, featuring hour-long lessons focused only on teaching you how to create or perform a specific function. All the makings one needs to step into the shoes of a programmer and get a feel for their work.
Future Learn has a four-tiered membership scheme, starting with short courses (typically the free ones), ExpertTracks, Microcredentials and Programs, and then finally Online Degrees. The first two include some free coding courses, but for certified courses, it can cost anywhere between $39 to $99 per course. Or, you can pay for unlimited access to all of Future Learn’s professional courses for $100-$400 a year.
Their main focus is on their university programs, rather than free coding courses, so you won’t have access to advanced levels like in the sites above. However, it’s an excellent place to start for beginners and offers plenty of free courses to keep you engaged.
5. Skillshare – Fastest Free Coding Courses
- Short fun lessons
- Lessons aren’t career building
Different than the others, Skillshare offers a collection of free courses, but instead of being comprehensive subjects, they’re mini-project-based lessons.
While you can sign up for the premium package that comes with a free trial and access to career-enhancing courses that you can build on, the free lessons focus on practical application and offer just as much insight.
Ranging anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours, the lessons focus on one specific function of coding rather than teaching the entire language.
You’ll also have to download outside software, but for the most part, it’s a fun exercise that helps you practice coding for free.
This is certainly more suited for beginners as intermediate and expert coders will already know this, unless they’re trying out a new language, but it brings a fun lighter side to learning, unlike some long and arduous courses.
Hot tip: Try using these project-based courses with the FreeCodeCamp courses, as they can make up the other half of the practical experience. Although, you could instead do this all in one with Qvault.
6. BitDegree Learn – Best For Strictly Coding
- Focuses on programming languages
- Free certifications
- Restricted free access
Up until this point, the websites we’ve discussed either offer free courses across multiple disciplines, or specialize in computer science along with coding. BitDegree Learn strictly teaches coding.
What’s unique about BitDegree is they offer free certification.
Taking online courses doesn’t always amount to having proof for your résumé. But here, once you’ve completed the course, you can use their certification tool to prove your ability and skillset to qualify for a specific certification. They also have free portals you can use to work in and create projects that you can publish on their website.
So, the actual lessons aren’t free (although you may catch one for free on sale), but practicing the language, getting credit for the lessons, and receiving viable résumé certification is.
We recommend this site for all learners, regardless of skill level, but the lack of foundational teaching of computer science and building that background could be potentially harmful to a beginner’s chances to work in the IT field.
7. Udemy – Honorable Mention
- Lots of courses and teachers to choose from
- Courses aren’t free
Last on our list is an honorable mention to Udemy.
Udemy has been a favorite for self-taught learners for years, and they boast some of the widest range of industry courses available. Like BitDegeree, instead of paying monthly fees, you buy individual courses, so you’re never paying for access to features you don’t want.
But we’re here to discuss the free things in life, yet that’s where it gets tricky for Udemy. The site doesn’t strictly offer any course for free.
Because of the way their system is set up, individuals or companies will post their courses on the site and charge their prices. However, very often these hosts will offer sales and coupons on their courses, and you can access amazing lessons for free if you work the system correctly.
This option is definitely for those who enjoy the hunt. Spending some extra time researching and exploring the top courses could land you with a chance to get a steal of a lifetime. Also, with so many coding courses available, you’re bound to find a structure that works best for you.