The Best C++ Online Courses for 2021

Do you want to make your own video games? Browse web pages you created? Or use video editing tools you built? If yes, then C++ could be perfect for you!

C++ is an extraordinary language that supports tons of applications we use daily. Originally created as an extension of C language, C++ has gone on to become the industry standard in game development, Adobe systems, and many other intricate programs, for consistently producing efficient and powerful results.

If you’re interested in exploring the more creative side of coding, and getting paid 120k a year while doing it, then learning C++ is a must!

From beginner to expert, cheap to expensive, we have it all, so keep reading for the best C++ courses available. We’ll break them down based on skill level, core content, advantages, price, and who they suit best!

What Is C++?

C++ is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language, first appearing in 1985.

It was developed by Danish computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup as the successor to his “C with Classes” project. Due to its relationship with C language, it’s completely compatible with C, but it offers a better structured and safer alternative without sacrificing power.

C++ has shown incredible prowess in video game development, desktop applications, performance critical applications, and servers, and is well known for its unmatched ability to handle graphics-heavy software. So think games, video and photo editing, browsers – all of these are programs C++ outshines other languages in.

But this no means limits the possibility of C++. As a general-purpose OOP language, you can create anything or project you want, and was even bestowed the nickname the “Swiss Pocket Knife of Languages” from the computer science community.

How to Pick the Best Online C++ Course For You?

Whether it’s finding the perfect pair of jeans or the comfiest shoes, you always want the option that suits you best, and it’s no different when it comes to choosing a C++ course. 

If you’re new to C++, or programming in general, you’ll want a course that’s loaded with detail and resources to build a solid foundation to support your learning. It’s also useful to find C++ certificate courses, so when you complete a course, you have documentation to share with professionals.

On the other hand, if you’re familiar with C++, while taking certified courses is still beneficial, focus on classes that target improving your efficiency and workflow with C++, or cover new ways of using the language. For instance, if you’re a C++ programmer that works on desktop applications, check out a course on game development.

There’s one thing that everyone should focus on though, and that’s interactive learning. You can’t learn how to code if you can’t practice it yourself, and learning by doing significantly boosts material retention and makes learning more enjoyable.

The Best Beginner Courses for C++

1. From Beginner to Advanced C++ Programming Course

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Pros: From the beloved Tim Buchalka’s Programming Academy
  • Cons: Very general approach, not targeted at a specific career

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a C++ course ranking that doesn’t have this one listed for beginners.

The Beginning C++ Programming – From Beginner to Beyond course isn’t only brimming with content, but it was created by one of Udemy’s most popular coding course creators, Tim Buchalka’s Learn Programming Academy. Buchalka’s worked and taught for over 25 years, and his courses routinely pump out new developers and offer amazing insight into the industry.

Udemy's beginner C++ course

Just to prove it, this course also brags that it’s proven to cover more material than most university classes, and teaches modern C++, rather than obsolete versions other courses cover.

The course starts with showing you how to download the C++ compiler and Configure CodeLite on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux, flowing straight into setting up the project template you’ll work on throughout the class.

Key topics you’ll explore are functions, pointers, creating and using existing classes, creating objects, and how to use Basic Standard Template Library classes like Vector. It also covers copy and move semantics, how to overload operators, inheritance, polymorphic functions, and an introduction to C++ STL and Exception handling.

And this is just a snippet of all that you’ll learn throughout the courses 45 hours of on-demand video and 300 lectures.

To buy the course, it’s a one-time payment of $69.99 and comes with lifetime access and a completion certificate. Overall, it’s a great beginner’s course that’s full of exceptional information that’s taught in an easy and digestible way.

2. Udacity Become a C++ Developer Nanodegree — Best C++ Certificate Course

  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Pros: Earn a certified nanodegree
  • Cons: Requires knowledge of at least one other language

Udacity’s Become a C++ Developer Nanodegree is truly a unique program in that you’re not only joining a course, you’re joining an entire support system. Along with mentor and peer support, you get access to career services that will help you build your CV and optimize your LinkedIn profile to get you hired faster.

Udacity's C++ nanodegree

While the degree offers flexible learning, you’re still a part of a group completing project-based classes, and it takes approximately 4 months to complete with at least 10 hours of study time a week.

You’ll need to know at least one other programming language, and you start by nailing down C++ fundamentals, like compiling and executing C++ programs, as well as learning C++ syntax, functions, and containers.

You’ll also cover object-oriented programming, like building classes and interfaces, controlling static and dynamic memory management, concurrent processes, and other key topics like pointers, patterns, and advanced thread synchronization.

You learn and practice all of this through coding 5 real-world projects, which include building a route planner, writing a process monitor, implementing your own smart pointers, and finally ending with you developing and executing your own C++ application.

This nanodegree is only for serious programmers, as it comes with a serious price. In total, it costs around $1400 for the whole degree, however, when compared to traditional university degrees that’s an amazing steal, especially for the amount of career-building resources and support this program offers.

3. C and C++ Programming Course

  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Pros: University accredited courses
  • Cons: Long time commitment

If you’re looking for the university experience without the university prices, then we’ve got you covered with this Coursera Coding for Everyone: C and C++ Specialization.

Created and taught by the University of California Santa Cruz, this specialization is a 4-part program that covers C++ and C, so it’s great for new and old C++ programmers, as you can pick up an additional language.

Coursera's C++ online specialization

It’s split into two C and two C++ courses:

  • Course 1: C for Everyone: Programming Fundamentals
  • Course 2: C for Everyone: Structured Programming
  • Course 3: C++ for C Programmers, Part A
  • Course 4: C++ for C Programmers, Part B

The first two courses really focus on C fundamentals, and you won’t work through many advanced practices, however, they do cover some advanced material for C in course 4. In general, you’ll cover algorithms, data types, flow of control, advanced functions, arrays, and pointers, as well as binary trees and Enums code.

Courses 3 and 4 do require a general understanding of algorithms and object-oriented software, hence why they teach C, but you’ll cover C++ basics, as well as how to convert C programs to C++, C++ functions, classes, dynamic memory, inheritance, error handling, and much more.

What’s great about this specialization is it’s like a pick n’ mix for courses. You can choose which ones you’d like to take and leave the rest, but for beginners we’d say take them all as you need the C language experience to complete the C++ courses.

It takes approximately 6 months to complete the entire program at 2 hours of study a week and costs anywhere between $39-$79 per month as a part of your Coursera subscription.

Overall, this is the perfect choice for anyone desiring a university-certified course and a strong understanding of C languages.

The Best Advanced Courses for C++

4. Design Patterns in Modern C++

  • Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Pros: Teaches you how to make more flexible and resilient design patterns
  • Cons: Doesn’t cover a variety of advanced techniques

Crafting bespoke design patterns will completely change your coding game when it comes to solutions. And that includes understanding how design patterns work in modern C++, as well as the updated techniques behind them.

Udemy’s Design Patterns in Modern C++ course by Dmitri Nesteruk, a software and hardware engineer, is a 12.5-hour course that covers the Gang of Four (GoF) design patterns and SOLID design principles but combined with today’s variations, adjustments, and discussion of the intrinsic use of patterns in C++. 

C++ design patterns course on Udemy

You’ll learn four different design principles, the factory method, singleton implementation, commands, as well as dynamic and static strategy while completing 21 coding exercises.

For $59.99, you’ll get lifetime access to the whole course, over 80 downloadable resources, and a certificate upon completion. All in all, it’s a solid course for anyone looking to adopt contemporary design pattern methods.

5. Learn Modern C++ Online Course Free

  • Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Pros: It’s free!
  • Cons: Only updates your coding, no advanced techniques

Everyone loves a free course, so we couldn’t ignore including this gem from freeCodeCamp.

Learn Modern C++ by Building an Audio Plugin is a 5-hour project-based course that teaches you updated techniques by having you build an audio plugin using the JUCE framework.

freeCodeCamp's C++ programming course

The reason we don’t suggest this as a beginner’s course is, A. 5 hours isn’t enough to become proficient in C++, and B. it doesn’t hone in on the fundamentals, although if you want a taste of C++, this could be a good option.

In the end, it really works best as a refresher for experienced programmers who want to modernize their C++ skills.

All of freeCodeCamp’s videos are YouTube integrated, so you can watch this free C++ course there ad-free. It starts by showing you how to set up the project, DSP, and audio plugin host, and how to create audio parameters. Then, you move on to refactoring, adding sliders to GUI, drawing the Response Curve and Response Curve grid, and finishes off with bypass buttons.

What’s different about this course is you’re building a real-world application, not a tic tac toe game or other toy projects, so you’ll leave having gained applicable knowledge. Either way, this lightweight course is definitely worth a look for anyone needing a modern C++ crash course.

6. Udemy C++ Course for Game Development

  • Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Pros: Teaches you how to re-skill to game development
  • Cons: Installations take up a lot of GB space

Get your laptop or desktop ready because we’re about to build a game!

The Unreal Engine C++ Developer course by GameDev.tv is Udemy’s bestseller course for C++ game development. It covers everything from sounds effects and AI behavior to advanced vehicle physics and the Unreal Engine 4 Editor, as well as the Unreal Gameplay Framework.

C++ game development course from Udemy

Unreal was one of the premier game engines, boasting a massive active community and amazing 3D game creations, and by taking this course, you’re doing so much more than just learning game development, you’re joining a legacy.

You start by having a brief introduction to C++, then quickly move into building a series of games, each becoming more advanced. First, you have a bulls & cows game, then a building escape game, a toon tank game, and finally ending with a simple shooter.

GameDev.tv also has courses on Unreal multiplayer mastery, Unity developer 2.0, and Blender! This course sets you up to thrive in any of the mentioned courses if you’re serious about game development.

For $59.99, you get over 31 hours of content and 219 lectures, extra resources, and lifetime access to the course, an amazing deal for anyone looking to re-skill.

Bonus Content: C++ Crash Course

If C++ online courses aren’t your thing, why don’t you try reading a book instead!

The C++ Crash Course: A Fast-Paced Introduction book by Josh Lospinoso takes you straight to the source of C++17. It’s split into two parts, with Part 1 covering everything from types and functions to object life cycle and expressions, and Part 2 introducing you to C++’s Standard Library, Boost libraries, concurrency, networking, and so much more.

It’s designed for intermediate to advanced programmers with its streamlined learning style, and you can find it anywhere, even at your local bookstore. You can study the book on its own or keep it as a reference, regardless it’s a fantastic tool worth having. 

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