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Coding

13 Best Free Online Coding Classes [Learn To Code at No Cost]

10 minute read | January 17, 2024
Monica J. White

Written by:
Monica J. White & reviewed by Akita Emmanuel

Monica J. White

Reviewed by:
Akita Emmanuel

Ready to launch your career?

Demand for software engineers and developers is soaring. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an impressive 25% growth rate for software development roles, significantly surpassing the 5% growth forecasted for other professions by 2032. In response to this surge, the education sector has adapted, offering a diverse array of coding programs.

The allure of free coding classes is undeniable. They provide an accessible entry point for aspiring coders, offering a glimpse into the world of software development without financial commitment. These courses lay the foundation for more advanced learning and hold the potential to kickstart a fulfilling coding journey. But with money off the table, not every free class you find will meet the same standard of quality. To help make sure you don’t waste your time on mediocre resources, we’ve compiled a list of the best free courses out there.

Explore this detailed guide to discover the best free online coding classes and how to make the most of these invaluable resources on your path to mastering the art of coding.

Best Free Online Coding Classes

Here are the thirteen best free coding classes that you can start today. 

ProviderRatingSupport
Springboard4.63/5No
Codecademy2.33/5No
freeCodeCamp3.75/5Coding interview prep
Khan Academy4.5/5No
Code.org4/5No
HarvardX4.5/5No
General Assembly4.29/5No
The Odin Project4.7/5Online community
W3Schools4.88/5No
MarkSheetN/ANo
MIT OpenCourseWare3/5No
University of Michigan (on Coursera)4.8/5No
CodeCombat4/5No

Springboard

Springboard’s Free Front-End Developer Course covers HTML, CSS, and JavaScript fundamentals through hands-on projects, teaching you how to structure web pages, add layouts and styles, use Chrome Developer programming tools for debugging, and employ object-oriented programming in JavaScript. You’ll even create interactive websites and applications while mastering the jQuery library. The course is designed for beginners with no prior programming knowledge but is also suitable for those with some experience who are new to front-end programming.

RATING

4.63/5 (Course Report)

FEATURES

  • Comprehensive introduction to programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Hands-on projects to apply what you learn
  • Teaches web page structure, layout, styling, debugging, and object-oriented programming
  • Covers the use of the jQuery library for simplifying scripting
  • Courses on programming for beginners and more advanced tech topics

SUPPORT

No

Codecademy

Codecademy offers a wide range of free courses with its basic membership. While free courses don’t include quizzes and projects, they’re still valuable resources for independent study. For example, the Java programming course gives members an introduction to a versatile language widely used in software development and web and mobile app creation.

With approximately 25 hours of content, beginners can acquire essential Java coding skills. The course covers core programming concepts, object-oriented programming, and Java project creation. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to use multiple operating systems and develop large systems, software, and Android mobile apps. It is perfect for those with no programming background who want to learn more without committing to a paid plan.

RATING

2.33/5 (Course Report)

FEATURES

  • Learn to code in a range of versatile programming languages
  • Suitable for beginners with no prior programming experience
  • Hands-on learning with practical projects
  • Covers core programming concepts and object-oriented programming
  • Approximately 25 hours of content in the average course

SUPPORT

No

freeCodeCamp

freeCodeCamp offers a comprehensive, self-paced learning experience for individuals eager to learn coding. With a well-structured curriculum, you’ll dive into web development and software engineering, all at your own pace. This community-driven code platform provides a wide range of coding skills, from HTML and CSS to JavaScript, Python, and more. You can earn free verified certifications while building projects in your browser or online code editor. The best part? Every aspect of freeCodeCamp, including advanced courses, projects, and certifications, is completely free. Thousands of freeCodeCamp learners have successfully transitioned into software developer roles, making this online learning platform an excellent choice for anyone aspiring to code.

RATING

3.75/5 (Hackr)

FEATURES

  • Self-paced, community-driven learning
  • Comprehensive curriculum covering HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and more
  • Free verified certifications available
  • Extensive library of free books, courses, and coding guides
  • Thousands of freeCodeCamp study groups worldwide
  • Donor-supported, tax-exempt charitable organization

SUPPORT

Coding interview prep

Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers an extensive, free online coding course that covers various aspects of computer programming and front-end web development. The course is designed to provide a comprehensive education in computer programming, web design, and data management. It spans multiple units, starting with an introduction to JavaScript for drawing and animation, progressing to HTML/CSS for web page creation, SQL for data querying, and advanced JavaScript for games, visualizations, and natural simulations. You can also delve into making webpages interactive with jQuery. The curriculum empowers learners to develop practical programming skills and explore the exciting world of coding and web development.

RATING

4.5/5 (PC Mag)

FEATURES

  • Comprehensive curriculum covering JavaScript, HTML, CSS, SQL, and advanced JavaScript
  • Focus on drawing, animation, webpage creation, data management, game development, and simulations
  • Self-paced learning for students of all skill levels
  • Free access to high-quality educational content
  • Interactive projects and lessons for hands-on learning

SUPPORT

No

Code.org

Code.org is a prominent education innovation nonprofit with a mission to ensure that computer science education is accessible to every K-12 student. Their free online coding course aims to introduce students to computer science, programming, and computational thinking. The course is designed to expand access to computer science education, with a strong focus on increasing participation among underrepresented groups, including young women.

Code.org offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers a wide range of programming topics, inspiring students to explore computer science. By promoting diversity and providing free educational resources, Code.org empowers students to develop fundamental coding skills and explore the world of computer science.

RATING

4/5 (Common Sense Media)

FEATURES

  • Extensive K-12 computer science curriculum
  • Focus on increasing diversity and participation in computer science
  • High-quality educational content available for free
  • A comprehensive set of courses and resources
  • Engaging students in computational thinking and coding

SUPPORT

No

HarvardX

HarvardX’s “CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science” is a comprehensive, self-paced online coding course suitable for both majors and non-majors. Taught by Professor David J. Malan, the course focuses on developing algorithmic thinking and efficient problem-solving skills. Topics covered include abstraction, data structures, security, software engineering, and web development using languages like C, Python, SQL, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. Real-world problem sets from domains such as biology, finance, cryptography, and more challenge students. Successful completion of problem sets and a final project earns a certificate. The course is designed for flexible, self-paced learning, making it accessible to all.

RATING

4.5/5 (PC Mag)

FEATURES

  • Self-paced online coding course
  • Covers various computer science degree concepts and programming languages
  • Real-world problem sets
  • Offers a certificate upon successful completion
  • Accessible to students with or without prior programming experience

SUPPORT

No

General Assembly

General Assembly’s Dash Course is an engaging and cost-free online course focused on introducing web development fundamentals through hands-on browser-based projects. The course is an excellent starting point for beginners, covering the essential building blocks of web development, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With HTML, students learn to structure web content effectively. In the CSS section, they design fully styled landing pages with modern layouts and responsive design. The JavaScript component equips learners to create interactive interfaces, handle user events, and add animations, making their websites dynamic and engaging.

RATING

4.29/5 (Course Report)

FEATURES

  • Free online course
  • Covers HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Emphasizes hands-on learning through projects
  • Teaches modern web design and responsive techniques

SUPPORT

No

The Odin Project

The Odin Project provides a comprehensive and free full-stack web development curriculum, supported by a passionate open-source community. It’s designed to be the ideal resource for self-learners in the web development realm. This program combines curated online education through coding video tutorials, blog posts, and web development courses to help you build a strong foundation of knowledge. You’ll create a variety of portfolio-worthy projects, from scripts to complete programs and deployed websites. What sets this course apart is its supportive community of both beginner and experienced developers who are eager to help you along your learning journey.

RATING

4.7/5 (SwitchUp)

FEATURES

  • Free full-stack web development curriculum
  • Curated online tutorials and resources
  • Hands-on projects, from scripts to deployed coding websites
  • A friendly and supportive community of learners
  • Coverage of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more

SUPPORT

Online community

W3Schools

W3Schools offers the world’s largest web development resource, providing a wide range of tutorials, examples, and references for various web technologies. It’s a comprehensive platform for individuals looking to learn Ruby, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other related technologies. W3Schools focuses on easy and interactive learning, with a “Try it Yourself” editor that allows users to experiment with code directly in their web browser. The code school offers beginner-friendly tutorials, interactive examples, and hands-on exercises to help learners understand the fundamentals of web development. It’s a free resource trusted by millions for acquiring or refreshing web development knowledge.

RATING

4.88/5 (SwitchUp)

FEATURES

  • Tutorials and references for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more
  • Interactive “Try it Yourself” code editor
  • A vast library of code examples and illustrations
  • Covers web design, front-end and back-end development, and database management
  • Simple and easy-to-understand learning materials

SUPPORT

No

MarkSheet

MarkSheet offers a free HTML and CSS tutorial designed to cater to absolute beginners, designers willing to start coding, and developers eager to grasp CSS for web page styling. The course consists of four sections with a total of 50 lessons. It covers fundamental web development topics such as HTML syntax, semantics, and CSS properties. The course is self-paced and designed to guide learners through creating a personal webpage from scratch using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, providing a step-by-step approach for building essential web development skills.

RATING

N/A

FEATURES

  • Four sections covering HTML, CSS, and Sass
  • 50 comprehensive lessons for various skill levels
  • Emphasis on practical knowledge and real-world web development
  • Self-paced, allowing learners to progress at their own speed

SUPPORT

No

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare provides a range of free introductory programming courses designed for students with varying skill levels and coding experience. These courses introduce fundamental computer science principles and programming skills, primarily using Python. Students can learn at their own pace and access comprehensive course materials, making it an ideal resource for aspiring programmers. The available courses include “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python” (6.0001), “Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science” (6.0002), “Programming for the Puzzled” (6.S095), and more. MIT’s commitment to sharing knowledge enables learners worldwide to explore programming and computer science.

RATING

3/5 (MoocLab)

FEATURES

  • Multiple courses catering to diverse skill levels
  • Specialized follow-up programming courses for advanced learners
  • Coding language-specific courses covering Python, Julia, MATLAB, Java, and C/C++
  • Self-paced learning with extensive course materials

SUPPORT

No

University of Michigan (on Coursera)

The University of Michigan’s Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) course is a beginner-friendly program that introduces fundamental programming concepts with Python. It requires no previous coding experience and covers topics such as Python syntax, variables, functions, loops, and more. With 19 hours of flexible, self-paced learning, you’ll gain a foundational understanding of computer programming. The course provides shareable certificates upon completion and is taught in English with subtitles available in multiple languages.

RATING

4.8/5 (Coursera)

FEATURES

  • Beginner level, no prior coding experience needed
  • Self-paced learning with a flexible schedule
  • Comprehensive coverage of the basics of programming with Python
  • Shareable certificates and LinkedIn integration
  • Taught by industry experts from the University of Michigan

SUPPORT

No

CodeCombat

CodeCombat offers a diverse set of free online coding courses designed for learners of all ages, from students to educators and parents. Through an innovative game-based learning approach, students can acquire coding skills in Python, JavaScript, C++, Java, and Lua. The platform has made computer science education accessible to over 20 million learners worldwide. It provides structured lessons and in-depth materials for educators, online coding classes with personalized instruction for parents, and resources for libraries. Additionally, it offers competitive coding through the Code Combat Artificial Intelligence League and the opportunity to explore 3D coding in Roblox’s Code Combat Worlds.

RATING

4/5 (Common Sense Media)

FEATURES

  • Game-based efficient learning platform for coding
  • Multiple popular programming languages supported, including Python and JavaScript
  • Tailored lessons for educators and students
  • Live online coding classes for personalized instruction
  • Competitive coding opportunities in the CodeCombat AI League
  • Creative 3D coding adventures in Roblox
  • Partner programs for educational businesses and libraries

SUPPORT

No

What Makes a Good Free Online Coding Class? Our Criteria Explained

When identifying what sets apart a high-quality free online coding class, we’ve examined specific criteria, taking guidance from educators and industry experts. Our assessment encompasses crucial factors, including curriculum, instructors’ expertise, flexible scheduling, teaching methods, and reputation through reviews and ratings, ensuring you find the ideal program to advance your coding skills.

Curriculum

The curriculum is the backbone of any coding class. We scrutinize the range and depth of topics covered, emphasizing a strong foundation in programming languages, web development, or other specializations. We look for comprehensive content that equips students with the relevant tech skills that job listings ask for.

Instructors’ Expertise

Instructors are key to your learning path. We assess their qualifications, tech industry experience, and teaching methods. Courses led by experienced and knowledgeable instructors ensure that you’ll receive a top-tier education.

Flexible Schedule

We recognize that learners have diverse needs and time constraints. We explore programs offering flexible options, such as self-paced, part-time, or remote learning. This ensures that learners with different schedules can access the course material comfortably.

Teaching Methods

The way a coding class imparts knowledge matters. We look at teaching methods, practical exercises, coding challenges, and real-world projects. Effective teaching methods enhance the learning experience and help students apply their knowledge in practical situations.

Reputation, Reviews, and Ratings

We consider the experiences of past students crucial. We delve into program reviews and ratings to gauge the quality of education, job placement success, and overall student satisfaction. This helps you make an informed decision about the online coding class that best aligns with your goals and aspirations.

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What To Expect From a Free Coding Class

Embarking on a journey to learn how to code can be both exciting and daunting. It’s essential to understand what to expect from a free coding class, as it sets the stage for your learning adventure. Ask yourself these questions before enrolling:

Are Free Coding Classes Worth It?

Free coding classes can be a valuable resource for anyone hoping to start a career in tech. While they may not provide the same depth as paid courses, they offer an excellent entry point for those curious about coding. The worth of a free coding class depends on your goals, commitment, and the resources available. If you’re self-motivated, seeking to test the waters, or looking to acquire fundamental skills, free coding classes can be a worthwhile starting point.

How Do Coding Classes Work?

Coding classes typically work by offering structured lessons, exercises, and coding projects to teach programming languages and concepts. Whether online or in-person, these classes are designed to facilitate learning in a hands-on and interactive manner. They may employ various teaching methods, such as video command line tutorials, coding challenges, and real-world projects, depending on the class format and platform.

What Should You Expect To Learn From a Free Coding Class?

In a free coding class, you can anticipate learning fundamental coding concepts and programming languages. These classes aim to provide a strong foundation, covering topics like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and more. You’ll gain essential skills to build websites and applications, or even explore data science, depending on the course’s specialization.

What Will the Schedule Look Like?

The schedule of a free coding class can vary widely. Some classes offer self-paced learning, allowing you to progress at your own speed, while others may follow a structured timeline with specific deadlines for assignments and projects. Depending on your availability and preferences, you can choose a coding class with a schedule that suits your learning style.

From the Experts: How Can You Make the Most out of a Free Coding Class?

We reached out to experts to share advice on how to make the most of a free coding course. With so many great free resources available, we asked them for pro tips on how to get the most value out of your time, things you should/shouldn’t do, and what the best path to success is.

Here’s what they said:

Start by setting clear goals for what you want to achieve. This will help you stay focused and motivated as you work through the course. Practice, practice, practice. The more you code, the better you will become. Try to find real-world problems to solve, so you can apply what you learn. Try getting involved in open-source projects close to your passions and work with the community. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out to a community of other learners. Many free coding courses have forums or support groups where you can connect with others who are also learning. Finally, have fun with it! Learning to code is a challenging and rewarding process, so enjoy the journey!

Ryan Yockey

Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s not expensive. Learners invest their time into free coding courses, and there’s an opportunity cost. As a learner, ask yourself how a coding class will contribute to your career or resume. Are you learning something that you can use to build a portfolio project? If yes, that’s perfect: you are building something to show for your hard work. It will also help you avoid the trap of getting stuck in tutorial purgatory because you apply your skills outside the cozy world of guided coding tutorials. Alternatively, check if you can get a certificate, or if the skill that you are learning is required in your current or future job role.

Dominik Keller @ Five

Look for the latest courses. Technology is constantly changing, and programming examples from older courses may no longer work.

Write code. Do not just watch the course. Write along as you watch the video. After the lecture, pause the video and write the code on your own.

Take notes on the timeline of the course. Mark which minute of the video the concept or example was discussed. This will save you a lot of time when you create your own projects and need a reference. Learn to Google. As a beginner programmer, you will make a lot of mistakes. Your code will break and you won’t know why. You can find most solutions through Google; you just need to learn how to phrase your questions correctly.

Get involved in the community. If the course has a Discogs page, join the community and do not be afraid to ask questions. If you follow the course on YouTube, look for answers to your questions in the comments section.

Practice. Create your own projects and apply the knowledge you have gained in the course. Try to do as much as you can without re-watching the course. Use Google and find solutions on Stack Overflow. To become a programmer, you do not need to memorize all the code. You need to become a skilled problem solver.

Anyone can learn to program with the help of free courses. You just need time, dedication, and lots of practice. The problem-solving skills you acquire along the way can be applied to many different aspects of your life, not just programming.

Iurii Gavryliuk @ inClassics

You should first establish clear goals for yourself and have an idea of what you want to achieve by the end of the classes. You should also create a schedule you can realistically follow, and you should always make sure to practice the coding concepts you learned in each class to make sure you get the hang of it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be very enthusiastic in the class activities because this is what you take away from the experience.

Alex Alexakis @ Pixel Chefs

Create LOTS of side projects – a lot of free coding courses online will teach you the basics of a technology or programming language through one or two example projects. In order to become proficient in the technology or programming language you’re learning, you’ll need to practice applying the lessons you learned in other contexts and projects that aren’t already scoped and structured for you.

Through creating your own projects, you’ll learn to become proficient in the technologies and/or programming language you’re learning from free courses extremely quickly.

Joseph Onifade @ For Software Engineers

Make sure you build out your portfolio and can talk about lessons learned – the course you select is less important than the work you have to show from doing it. Companies hire for experience, not just knowledge. The way you demonstrate experience is to walk a prospective employer through past work. The key here is that any work is fair game, including project work in a free course, and that it doesn’t have to be paid. Employers are looking for how you handled issues as they arose (which they always do) and how you communicate with others and solve problems. Your portfolio is what will get you noticed and what gets you hired, so make sure your portfolio shows off all the skills you want to showcase.

Lauren Hasson @ DevelopHer

It’s really important not to just copy and paste the code snippets. Make sure you type them out yourself. This will get you to really understand the solution and get you more familiar with the language. When you just read and copy/paste, you’re not going to skill up as fast.

Try to take a variety of classes that use different languages and technologies to solve similar problems. This will help you to identify and learn the general concepts in those problems, rather than just learning a single way to solve them.

Do short stints of really focused work. Coding can be tricky and frustrating, and one of the best ways to solve a problem is often just stepping away for a bit and coming back to it later. Set yourself up to do 30-60 minutes of uninterrupted work in a given class and then take a break away from the computer. You’ll find you get much further, much faster.

Don’t spend time getting hung up on the tools you use. Use whatever seems simplest and comes most natural to you so you can get to work. Focus on the coding and try to make everything else as easy as possible.

Elliot Blackburn

Free Online Coding Classes FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to free coding classes.

Is It Hard To Learn To Code?

The difficulty of learning coding varies from person to person. It can be challenging initially, but with dedication and consistent practice, it becomes manageable. Learning the basics is relatively accessible, and the complexity increases as you delve into advanced topics, making it a journey of continuous learning and problem-solving.

What Programming Language Should I Learn First?

For complete beginners, Python is an excellent choice. It’s known for its simplicity and readability, making it easier to grasp coding fundamentals. Other suitable options include JavaScript for web development and Java for versatility. The choice depends on your interests, as each language is used in different domains.

Which Programming Language Is Most in Demand?

Several programming languages are in high demand, with Python being one of the most sought-after. It’s widely used in data science, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and web development. Other languages like JavaScript, Java, and C++ are also valuable, depending on the industry or field of work.

What Is the Difference Between Coding and Programming?

Coding and programming are often used interchangeably, but there’s a subtle difference. Coding is the process of translating human-readable instructions into machine-readable code. Programming, on the other hand, encompasses a broader scope and involves problem-solving, algorithm design, and software development, which includes coding as a part of it.

Do Companies Value Free Coding Certificates?

Companies value skills over certificates. While free coding certificates can showcase your commitment and knowledge, employers primarily focus on your ability to apply those skills. Having a portfolio with practical projects and experience is often more compelling. Certificates can be a bonus, but they’re not the sole determining factor in hiring decisions.

Since you’re here…
No one wakes up knowing how to code – they learn how to code. Tens of thousands of students have successfully learned with our courses, like our Software Engineering Bootcamp. If you’re a total newbie, our Software Engineering Career Track Prep Course will be a perfect fit. Let’s do this!

About Monica J. White

Monica is a journalist with a lifelong interest in technology, from PC hardware to software and programming. She first started writing over ten years ago and has made a career out of it. Now, her focus is centered around technology and explaining complex concepts to a broader audience.