Anyone who wants to become a computer programmer or developer will need to learn how to code and perhaps even obtain qualifications in programming. However, it’s not like they’re giving away free computer science degrees and the cost of going to university might put many people off the whole idea.
So can you learn to code without breaking the bank?
Superprof has an affordable solution for you! There are MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that provide many comprehensive computer science and programming courses where you can learn about different programming languages. Here are some of our favourites.
MOOCs for Absolute Beginners
Learning to program can be tough and just following video tutorials may not be enough for some learners. When it comes to getting started with programming, you might want to learn from professional educators. MOOCs can provide this and often allow you to learn at your own pace.
Firstly, you need to think about how you want to learn and exactly what you want to learn.
What are you going to be using your programming skills for?
The answers to these questions will dictate the kind of MOOC that’s right for you.
On OpenClassrooms, you can find courses on a variety of different programming and coding topics:
- Build Your First Web Pages With HTML and CSS
- Think like a computer: the logic of programming
- Learn the Command Line in Terminal
- Create Web Page Layouts With CSS
- Create Responsive Websites Efficiently With Bootstrap 4
- Learn programming with Java
- Go Full-Stack With Node.js, Express, and MongoDB
- Understanding the Web
- Learn Programming With Python
- Build web apps with ReactJS
There are also many other courses on coding, programming, and development.
There are also plenty of other MOOCs around that can help you with programming and coding. Udacity, for example, has a 4-month nanodegree course called “Learn to Code” as part of their School of Programming & Development. Of course, some are better than others and teach in different ways and with different tools.
Think about what you want to with codes. For example, the OpenClassrooms course “Build Your First Web Pages With HTML and CSS” is designed for absolute beginners in mind, especially those who’ve never coded before. On the course, you’ll learn how to distinguish between HTML and CSS and learn what they’re used for.
For absolute beginners, make sure you check the difficulty of each course and what the prerequisites are before you start. Even some “easy” courses require you to have some knowledge of coding before you being.
Much like with every other skill, you need to learn to walk before you learn to run. Fortunately, with most courses on MOOCs, you’ll be tested on your knowledge so you’ll know if you need to go back over anything.
Once you get to a good level, there are also courses like Harvard University’s “Introduction to Computer Science”, which requires around 10 to 20 hours of study a week! The course is available until December 31, 2021, and will teach you:
- A broad and robust understanding of computer science and programming.
- How to think algorithmically and solve programming problems efficiently.
- Concepts like abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development.
- How to engage with a vibrant community of like-minded learners from all levels of experience.
- How to develop and present a final programming project to your peers.
By the end of this MOOC, you’ll have a pretty solid knowledge of the foundations of programming and computer science. You’ll learn a lot about programming in general, the tools used to program and code, and programming languages.
There are also similar MOOCs from different reputable universities around the world, making them an excellent place to start your route to becoming a developer.
Free Training in Different Programming Languages
There are different languages that you can program or code in. You may have even heard of Python or Java.
Every programming language is useful for different applications so it's important that you research which one is right for you.
“First, solve the problem. Then, write the code.” - John Johnson
Learning a new programming language isn’t always easy and most entry-level MOOCs will opt for the most commonly-used programming languages.
The same is true with other programming languages, too. Here are a few examples:
- Building Web Applications in PHP (Coursera)
- Introduction to Python: Absolute Beginner (edX)
- Java for Complete Beginners (Udemy)
- Foundations of Objective-C App Development (Coursera)
- Intro to iOS App Development with Swift (Udacity)
- Coding for Everyone: C and C++ (Coursera)
As you can see, it’s a good idea to search for courses by programming language and find the MOOC that’s right for you and your level.
Free Courses to Improve Your Programming Skills
If you’ve already dabbled in programming and coding, you might want to look for specific courses rather than entry-level classes on certain programming languages. In some cases, you’ll want to look for courses based on both programming languages and their applications.
Every developer will need to know how to write code and it’s quite common for them to have an understanding of databases like MySQL. The more skills you have in your arsenal, the more smoothly your projects will run.
Here are a few courses that may interest you:
- Go Full-Stack With Node.js, Express, and MongoDB (OpenClassrooms)
- Introduction to Programming in Swift 5 from Mark Price (Coursera)
- Tables, Data & Networking in iOS (Coursera).
- Fundamentals of Java EE Development (edX).
- Multiplatform Mobile App Development with Web Technologies: Ionic and Cordova (Coursera)
- Manage Your Code Project With Git & Github (OpenClassrooms)
There are many more than just these MOOCs, of course, and as you can see, certain languages are used for certain applications. You wouldn’t program a robot in the same way you’d code a video game and you wouldn’t build a website in the same way you’d program AI.
Coding Courses You Have to Pay For
You can learn to code with free MOOCs, but generally, the best courses aren’t offered for free and students will have to open their wallets if they want to learn certain skills and concepts.
With these premium online courses, the overall quality is usually better and the courses are often offered by some of the world’s most prestigious universities and schools.
Most of the larger platforms offer both free and premium courses. There are courses on different programming languages, tools, and frameworks. As you have to pay for them, make sure you carefully research each course.
Now you know a few of the more popular MOOCs, you can start looking for the right courses. Don’t forget to read our other articles on learning how to code, too.
You can also learn about programming and writing code with a tutor on Superprof. There are thousands of tutors available to teach plenty of different types of programming and programming languages and you can get face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, or group tutorials. Each type of tutorial comes with advantages and disadvantages so you should know the pros and cons of each before hiring your private tutor.
Group tutorials are great for those on a budget as you can share the cost of the lessons between the other students in the class. Of course, this means you can't guarantee that every session will be tailored to you, what you want to learn, and how you like to learn, but it should be substantially cheaper than some of the other options.
Face-to-face tutorials, on the other hand, tend to be the costliest option. However, this is because you're paying for a bespoke service and a tutor that tailors each lesson to you and your preferred learning style. Furthermore, the tutor will often travel to their students and this cost is factored into their rates. Generally, face-to-face tutorials are the most cost-effective as every minute of the tutor's time is spent focusing on the student.
Finally, online tutorials are a cheaper alternative to both in-person one-on-one tutorials and group tutorials. With one-on-one online tutorials, the tutor doesn't have to travel and can schedule more sessions each week so they tend to charge the students less per hour. Online group tutorials are also usually cheaper than their in-person counterparts but they will suffer from the same drawbacks.