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Benjamin Semah | 09 Aug, 2023

17 Best Programming Courses Online in 2024 [Free + Paid]

 

As technology continues shaping how we live and work, programming has become an essential skill for many industries and professions. In a nutshell, programming can be seen as the process of designing, writing, testing, and maintaining programs.

From web development to software engineering, artificial intelligence, game development, and data science, programming skills are in high demand. With the right training, you can build a rewarding and fascinating career.

In this article, we’ll dive into the 17 best programming courses online for beginners in 2024 from various course providers, including general courses for learning to code and language-specific options for Python, Java, JavaScript, and more. 

Featured Programming Courses [Editor’s Picks]

Online Coding Courses vs Coding Bootcamps

Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between online coding courses and coding boot camps, as these are two of the most popular ways to learn to program.

 

Online Coding Courses

Coding Bootcamps

Time Commitment

Usually full-time for a few months

Often self-paced, ranging from a few hours to several weeks or months

Intensity

Intensive and fast-paced, with a focus on practical, hands-on projects

More flexible, and often with a focus on foundational skills

Curriculum

Comprehensive and often covers a wide range of languages, tools, and frameworks

Usually focused on specific topics, languages, or tools

Support

Often includes coaching and job search support

Limited support, though some courses may offer forums or Q&A sessions

Cost

Can be expensive, with tuition ranging from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars

Typically less expensive, with prices ranging from free to a few hundred dollars

Choosing the Best Programming Courses Online

To select the best programming courses online, we used the following three criteria.

  1. Creator: How experienced are they at teaching programming? And what was the ratio of positive student reviews?
  2. Content: How comprehensive is the curriculum? How engaging is the style of presentation? Are the topics relevant to real-world challenges for a programmer?
  3. Community: How many people have taken the course or are currently enrolled? Is it easy to reach out to other students if you get stuck?

The 17 Best Programming Courses for Beginners in 2024 

Course

Free or Paid

Certificate

[Udemy] Learn Python Programming Masterclass

Paid

Yes

[Udemy] Java Programming Masterclass

Paid

Yes

[Google] Learn Programming with JavaScript

Paid

Yes

[edureka!] C++ Programming

Paid

No

[Educative] Programming Fundamentals: Getting Started with C# and .NET

Paid

Yes

[Udacity] Programming for Data Science with Python

Paid

Yes

[Codecademy] Learn Java: Object-Oriented Programming

Paid

Yes

[Brilliant.org] Programming with Python

Paid

No

[edX] Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)

Paid

Yes

[Coursera] Learn to Program: The Fundamentals

Paid

Yes

[Coursera] Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming

Paid

Yes

[freeCodeCamp] Introduction to Programming and Computer Science

Free

No

[Udacity] Introduction to Programming

Paid

Yes

[edureka!] Programming for Beginners

Paid

No

[Educative] Introduction to Computers & Programming

Paid

Yes

[Simplilearn] Programming Fundamentals

Free

Yes

[Khan Academy] Computer Programming

Free

No

The Best Language-Specific Programming Courses

1. [Udemy] Learn Python Programming Masterclass

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Tim Buchalka, Jean-Paul Roberts

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 73 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: 400K+

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.6/5

Why we chose this course

This is one of the best Python coding courses online for beginners to learn coding basics, making it an excellent starting point for more advanced online coding courses. It’s also great for anyone interested in machine learning and data science.

You will learn how to set up and install Python before covering essential concepts and coding skills like data types, variables, and flow control. You’ll also learn advanced topics like object-oriented programming, databases in Python, Big-O notation, and the binary number system.

Pros

  • Regularly updated to cover new Python features
  • In-depth lessons on the binary number system
  • Access to source code

Cons

  • Does not cover advanced topics in depth

Interested in data analysis? Dataquest offers an excellent Python course

2. [Udemy] Java Programming Masterclass

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Tim Buchalka

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 103 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: 750K+

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.6/5

Why we chose this course

This is one of the best online coding courses which provides a comprehensive guide to Java. You begin by learning essential topics like data types, variables, and functions, before diving in depth into the principles of object-oriented programming (OOP).

This course also covers concurrency, lambda and regular expressions, network programming, and more. This course also teaches debugging and unit testing, both important programming aspects.

As an added bonus, you’ll learn how to use IntelliJ IDEA, an integrated development environment for JVM languages.

Pros

  • Comprehensive Java curriculum
  • Includes prep for the Oracle Java Certification exam
  • Learn debugging and unit testing

Cons

  • The course might be lengthy for some

3. [Google] Learn Programming with JavaScript

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Olga Volkova, Will Alexander

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 20 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: N/A

Level: Beginner

Rating: N/A

Why we chose this course

If you want to pursue a career as a web developer, this is one of the best courses to learn programming. Offered by Google, you’ll learn the fundamentals of programming and web development with JavaScript.

This course covers data types, program logic, functions, conditions, loops, and more. You’ll also learn how to write clean and maintainable code and error handling for JavaScript applications. If you’re on the fence about where to start, this course offers a free trial option, albeit without a certificate of completion.

Pros

  • Knowledge-check quizzes after each module
  • Ideal for beginners in web development

Cons

  • Requires basic knowledge of OOP

4. [edureka!] C++ Programming

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Key Information

Course Instructor: edureka Instructors

Prerequisites: None

Duration: N/A

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: No

Enrolled Students: 2K+

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.4/5

Why we chose this course

This programming course is unique as it offers live instructions and some of the best online coding classes that are also interactive. Meaning you will have real-time access to instructors and ask questions you may have.

By taking this course, you will gain fundamental knowledge in C++, including object-oriented programming (OOP), design patterns, and generic programming. You will also learn how to use the C++ compiler toolchain, STL algorithms, and iterators effectively.

If you’re looking for the best C++ courses to learn programming, this might be the best choice for you, especially if you want to kick-start your career as a C++ programmer. 

Pros

  • Real-time access to instructors
  • Comprehensive C++ curriculum
  • Vibrant community forum for learners

Cons

  • Course schedule may not be favorable for some

5. [Educative] Programming Fundamentals: Getting Started with C# and .NET

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Adam Seebeck

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 11 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: N/A

Level: Beginner

Rating: N/A

Why we chose this course

For those who like to learn by reading, this is one of the best courses for learning programming. It introduces programming fundamentals like conditional statements, loops, arrays, and functions. It then moves into more advanced topics like object-oriented programming (OOP). You’ll also learn how to work with data structures, lambdas, LINQ, and databases.

After completing this course, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the C# programming language and essential programming principles. You will also be equipped to build and deploy native apps using the .NET framework.

Pros

  • Learn the popular .NET framework
  • 100% text-based content
  • Quizzes at the end of each section

Cons

  • May not be ideal for visual learners

6. [Udacity] Programming for Data Science with Python

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Udacity Instructors

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 120 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: N/A

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.7/5

Why we chose this course

This is one of the top programming courses on Udacity that’s made up of three sections. The first provides an introduction to SQL, and you’ll learn the basics of managing and querying databases, including using JOINs, aggregations, and subqueries.

In the second part, you’ll learn how to create programs with Python, including popular libraries like NumPy and Pandas. The final section focuses on version control skills using tools like Git and GitHub.

On top of the theory, you will build a project in each section based on the knowledge you’ve learned from the topics in that section. 

Pros

  • Ideal for aspiring data analysts
  • Teaches the popular Python language
  • Learn Git and GitHub

Cons

  • Does not cover advanced topics in depth

7. [Codecademy] Learn Java: Object-Oriented Programming

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Codecademy

Prerequisites: Familiarity with basic Java concepts

Duration: 4 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: 11K+

Level: Beginner

Rating: N/A

Why we chose this course

In this course, you will learn the basics of object-oriented programming (OOP) with Java and you’ll do so by building two projects - a calculator and a droid. 

Building these projects teaches you to work with classes, objects, and methods. You will also learn about APIs, libraries, and packages, including how to use them in your projects to improve your workflow as a programmer.

Pros

  • Includes both video tutorials and text contents
  • Learn by building projects
  • Add projects to your portfolio

Cons

  • Requires familiarity with basic Java concepts

8. [Brilliant.org] Programming with Python

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Brilliant.org Instructors

Prerequisites: None

Duration: N/A

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: No

Enrolled Students: N/A

Level: Beginner

Rating: N/A

Why we chose this course

In this course you will gain a comprehensive understanding of fundamental programming concepts, including variables, data types, loops, and conditionals, using Python.

You will also be introduced to important theoretical topics, like computational problem-solving, decision-making, and algorithms. The course is designed to be easily accessible and understandable, making it an ideal choice for both high school and college students.

Pros

  • Ideal for high school/college students
  • Learn to improve your problem-solving skills

Cons

  • No course completion certificate

9. [edX] Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Charles Severance

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 28 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: 500K+

Level: Beginner

Rating: N/A

Why we chose this course

The content for this course is based on the first five chapters of the book Python for Everybody by Charles Severance. This is useful because the book allows students to dive deeper into the topics covered.

You’ll learn what programming is as well as concepts like conditionals and iteration. The course also covers best practices for writing Python code that is readable and reusable.

Pros

  • Graded assignments and exams
  • Course textbook available to dive deeper
  • Uses the Python programming language

Cons

  • Does not cover advanced programming topics

The Best General Programming Courses for Beginners

10. [Coursera] Learn to Program: The Fundamentals

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Jennifer Campbell, Paul Gries

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 25 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: 360K+

Level: Beginners

Rating: 4.7/5

Why we chose this course

This course offered by the University of Toronto is excellent to gain a foundational understanding of programming.

This course focuses on using Python to teach topics such as functions, data types, namespaces, tuples, dictionaries, and code reusability. The instructors also provide detailed explanations of concepts by delving into how Python works under the hood.

Pros

  • Learn from the University of Toronto CS faculty
  • In-depth explanation of basic concepts
  • Based on Python

Cons

  • No course completion certificate for free trial

11. [Coursera] Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Areti Manataki, Inés Friss de Kereki

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 11 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: 330K+

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.7/5

Why we chose this course

In this course you’ll learn computer programming topics like software design, algorithms, loops, conditionals, and more through a series of exercises where you build simple programs with the Scratch language.

Each module of this course also includes an interview with a professional that uses programming in their everyday work, including a jewelry designer, a biotechnologist, an architect, an informatics researcher, and an audiovisual producer. These interviews are great to learn about real-world use cases of programming.

Pros

  • Learn from interviews with experienced professionals
  • Uses Scratch, a language designed for kids and beginners

Cons

  • Curriculum may be too basic for some

12. [FreeCodeCamp] Introduction to Programming and Computer Science

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Steven & Shawn

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 2 hours

Free or Paid: Free

Certificate: No

Views: 6.4M+

Level: Beginner

Likes: 160K+

Why we chose this course

If you’re interested in programming, but you’re unsure where to start, this free course is ideal, as it’s a short introduction to the fundamental concepts of programming. In this course, you’ll learn how computers process information, the meaning of programming, and how to choose a programming language to learn.

You’ll also learn about pseudocoding, recursion, debugging, and data structures. At less than 2 hours in length, you can complete this in a single day, making it an ideal foundational course.

Pros

  • Great introductory course for beginners
  • At 2 hours, it can be completed in a short time

Cons

  • YouTube ads may be distracting

13. [Udacity] Introduction to Programming

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Udacity Instructors

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 160 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: N/A

Level: Beginners

Rating: 4.7/5

Why we chose this course

This course is ideal for getting started with programming topics like functions, arrays, objects, APIs, OOP, and more. This program is made up of four subcourses, with each helping you to learn by building a project.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to build basic web applications using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and you’ll be able to run Python scripts from the command line.

Pros

  • Ideal for beginner web developers
  • Build projects for your portfolio
  • Access to technical mentors and career services
  • Learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python

Cons

  • The course may be lengthy for some learners

14. [edureka!] Programming for Beginners

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Key Information

Course Instructor: edureka Instructors

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 12 hours

Free or Paid: Free

Certificate: No

Views: 11K+

Level: Beginner

Likes: 300+

Why we chose this course

This new 12-hour course on edureka’s YouTube channel aims to equip you with the skills you need to work with several popular programming languages, including Python, Java, C, C++, Golang, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Some of the topics covered in this course include variables and data types, operators and expressions, control structures, parallel and concurrent programming, testing and debugging, and object-oriented programming (OOP).

Pros

  • Learn multiple languages including Java, Python, C++, and JavaScript
  • Learn to create effective algorithms

Cons

  • YouTube ads can be distracting

15. [Educative] Introduction to Computers & Programming

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Educative Instructors

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 6 hours

Free or Paid: Paid

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: N/A

Level: Beginner

Rating: N/A

Why we chose this course

This course is designed to introduce you to the fundamentals of computer science and programming. Expect to learn about the components of a computer, how information is represented in a computer, and the lifecycle of a program.

You’ll also learn key problem-solving skills like writing pseudocode, drawing flowcharts, and using conditional statements in programs. The course is language-agnostic, so you can apply these concepts to any programming language. 

You’ll also have plenty of opportunities for hands-on experience through exercises and quizzes to help you solidify your knowledge.

Pros

  • Suitable for those who prefer learning via reading
  • Learn pseudocode and flowcharting

Cons

  • May not be ideal for visual learners

16. [SimpliLearn] Programming Fundamentals

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Simplilearn Instructors

Prerequisites: None

Duration: 5 hours

Free or Paid: Free

Certificate: Yes

Enrolled Students: 5K+

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.5/5

Why we chose this course

This course provides an introduction to programming via the Python language by covering basic software concepts and the Python fundamentals like data types, variables, and operators.

You’ll also learn about conditional statements, iteration,, data structures, functions, modules, error and file handling, and object-oriented programming. That’s a lot! A quiz also follows each lesson to help reinforce learning. 

Pros

  • Includes quizzes to reinforce learning
  • Suitable for those with no programming experience
  • Uses the Python language

Cons

  • Course may be too basic for advanced learners

17. [Khan Academy] Computer Programming

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Key Information

Course Instructor: Khan Academy Instructors

Prerequisites: None

Duration: N/A

Free or Paid: Free

Certificate: No

Enrolled Students: N/A

Level: Beginner

Rating: N/A

Why we chose this course

Khan Academy provides this excellent starting point for beginners who want to learn about programming. It begins with an introduction to JavaScript, covering the basics of programming and exploring animation and interactive programming.

You’ll also learn HTML and CSS via the fundamentals of creating web pages with layout, text properties, and embedding CSS for styling. 

There’s even a range of advanced JS modules to better understand programming concepts, including scene management, randomness, vectors, and particle systems.

As an added bonus, this course also covers SQL basics, including advanced queries and modifying databases.

Pros

  • Ideal for beginner web developers
  • Includes interviews with real-life programmers
  • Learn JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and SQL

Cons

  • No course completion certificate

Do You Need Coding Certification to Be a Programmer?

Certifications can be beneficial for demonstrating your skills to employers, but they are not necessary for all programming jobs. Many successful programmers are self-taught and do not hold any certifications.

Certifications can help you stand out in a competitive job market by demonstrating your commitment to continuous learning and professional development. But they can be expensive and time-consuming and may not be necessary for certain programming jobs.

Conclusion

Programming is essential for many industries and professions in our modern digital world, whether for web development, software engineering, artificial intelligence, game development, data science, and much more.

This article has covered the 17 best programming courses online for beginners in 2024, including a range of general programming courses and some language-specific options that cover popular languages like Python, Java, JavaScript, and C++, to name a few.

So if you’re unsure how to learn programming, there’s bound to be something for you on our list of the best coding courses for beginners. We’ve also found free and paid options, which is great if you’re not ready to commit but want to test the waters.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Do I Need to Learn to Code to Build a Website?

No, you don't need to learn to code to build a website. You can use no-code tools like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress to build websites without coding. However, knowing how to code by taking one of the best online coding courses gives you more flexibility as you can customize your website to make it more unique and tailored to your specific needs.

2. What Code Should I Learn?

The answer depends on your interests and career goals. Coding is used in many fields, including web development, data science, artificial intelligence, and more. Consider what field you want to work in and what type of programming languages and tools are commonly used in that field when deciding what to learn. 

3. Which Programming Course is Best for Beginners?

If you’re a beginner, we recommend Udemy's Python Masterclass or Google's Programming with JavaScript course. If you’re still not sure which is right for you, we’ve also listed 17 of the best online coding courses that cover a variety of languages and skill levels, so check them out.

 

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By Benjamin Semah

Benjamin is a software developer and technical writer for Hackr.io. He is adept at working with the JavaScript MERN stack (MongoDB, Express, React, Node.js), as well as with TypeScript, Ruby, and Rails. As a self-taught developer, he loves learning about new technologies and sharing what he learns through writing. His writings have been featured on platforms like freeCodeCamp and Scrimba.

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