Whether professional or personal, there are many reasons to learn a new skill. While many people study courses like coding and computer science in college, the constantly evolving nature of technology and new languages have made programming courses invaluable to new and returning programmers.
It takes a lot of searching to find the best online programming courses amongst those available, so we’ve taken a look at some of the best websites to learn programming, as well as what they offer and who they cater to.
Each online programming course will have its own mantras, structures, and goals when it comes to teaching, and they each cater to a different skill level. Since learning to program basically involves learning a new language, newcomers will quickly find themselves overwhelmed with unfamiliar terms if they don’t choose a course that geared towards their current level.
Here, we will look at some of the best online programming courses available, and hopefully help you decide which one best suits your learning needs.
1. Qvault – best for computer science courses
Beginning with what is probably the best online programming course site we could find. Qvault is a browser-based app with computer science courses that cater to all levels – from complete beginners to veterans seeking to add to their knowledge.
While many online courses pride themselves on the large varieties of courses available, Qvault goes for a quality-over-quantity approach with long, information-filled courses presented in a way that makes learning both simple and fun.
Qvault presents you with more than just lectures to read or videos to sit through, but fully interactive lessons that make sure you’re never just sat still.
Whereas other courses, such as those on Udemy or Coursera, are taught via lectures, Qvault passionately pushes the interactive “learning by doing” philosophy, with their courses based around interactive coding programming challenges you have to code yourself.
Their video game-style learning tools allow for an enjoyable and immersive approach to programming, making it an ideal choice for people who want to branch out and learn as much as they can in a way that isn’t too daunting.
Qvault’s full programming course range includes:
- Go Mastery courses for Golang
- Python Fundamentals
- Practical Cryptography
- Big O Data Structures
- Big O Algorithms
- Advanced Algorithms
- Go Interview Prep (multiple-choice questions)
If you have any questions or run into any trouble, you can hop onto Qvault’s Discord server, where either the founders or community are always happy to help. As far as online programming courses go, Qvault is new, but their unique approach to programming course design is proving popular with both new coders and programmers looking to pick up a new language.
freeCodeCamp — best free programming courses
As the name implies, freeCodeCamp is a free online programming course website that was created with the idea of getting programming beginners to an advanced level simply and easily.
The user interface looks like a blast from the past and may turn some people away, though its simplicity ensures easy navigation without needless visual noise.
Alongside videos and reading lists, freeCodeCamp’s main lessons are interactive spaces created and taught by decorated professionals. While it is recommended that you have some prior knowledge of programming before diving in, the interactivity of the lessons ensures that you’ll be able to ask any questions should you become lost.
Because freeCodeCamp is maintained and funded by donations, it remains a completely free online programming course that anyone can use, so there’s no real reason not to give it a good go. However, it has been criticized for its long and non-interactive lectures’ lack of active engagement.
Pluralsight is similar to freeCodeCamp in a number of ways, though the programming courses aren’t free. Costing either $29 monthly or $299 annually, Pluralsight comes with more detailed and in-depth features like video lessons and organizational tools than other programming course websites.
Pluralsight offers downloadable lessons and resources for offline learning across multiple platforms. There are also discussion areas for students to speak to and learn from each other should they have any questions or seek to find or give help to fellow learners.
As well as providing information and learning resources, Pluralsight also has tests and quizzes to evaluate your progress, highlight areas for improvement, and verify readiness for more advanced courses.
These assessments are further useful through what they call Role IQ tests, which evaluate where you are in your education at any given time and suggests where you should focus your attention, and even offer different areas of study to which you may be better suited.
Needless to say, these are all features that emulate traditional higher education, and certificates of completion given upon successfully finishing their online programming courses are recognized as college credit.
Therefore, Pluralsight works well as a site for programming courses to learn programming, as well as a stepping stone to a traditional higher education course.
Udemy — website for programming courses via lectures
Udemy is an online learning facility to teach almost anything – and though it features a number of programming courses, it isn’t specifically for programming.
Courses are largely created and taught via freelancers and tutors in their field, and each course has an introductory video from the teacher that acts as a course trailer, so you can see if the offered course is right for you.
Of course, this format also means that the courses vary in quality depending on the teacher, and the overall worth of Udemy’s online programming courses is difficult to judge. Many teachers do take advantage of the live conversation features, though, and there are course reviews to let you know what other students thought.
Thanks to these features, deciding on the teacher and course that suits you is often a straightforward, if time-consuming process.
Coursera is similar to Udemy in that it offers courses in a wide range of topics, mostly taught by professionals in their field rather than specifically hired teachers.
However, many Coursera courses are college accredited and are much cheaper than standard tuition fees for traditional higher education. Some Coursera programming courses are free, though these don’t grant any certification upon completion.
As far as its online programming courses go, there are a wide range to choose from to suit your previous experience. Many of the fundamentals of programming courses are highly rated by those who went in with no previous knowledge.
Coursera’s online programming courses also vary in quality, and, like with Udemy, some research is recommended before opting to pay for a particular course to make sure it fits what you need to learn and how.
Most of Coursera’s teachers are professors and professionals in their fields, so you’re likely to be in good hands no matter who you chose.
Codecademy – good website for programming courses for a monthly fee
Like Qvault, Codecademy courses focus on interactive programming rather than lectures. Codeacademy is great because not only are there a wide variety of courses you can take with their monthly subscription, but you can still take some parts (just without the quizzes, projects, and other extras) without paying.
While it lacks video tutorials for its lessons, practical tutorials such as web development, data science programming, and particular language learning like Python are laid out in easy-to-grasp ways that you can tackle in your own time.
While not quite classifiable as ‘edutainment’, Codeacademy does its best to make the learning process a fun experience for its users. This means that it’s not only enjoyable to use, but even the harder tasks will seem less intimidating even to newcomers.
While not as comprehensive as some paid courses, Codeacademy provides a challenging but rewarding course with easy installation and welcoming introductions that lay everything out in a way that makes it accessible to all.
As well as teaching general programming, Codeacademy also allows you to hone in and focus on a particular programming language, which is ideal for people who need to learn something specific for their career or studies without having to sit through lessons that are irrelevant to what they’re looking to learn.