Learn to code online with these six websites

These courses can help you launch a career in coding or enhance your existing skills

You can spend four years in college learning the basics of coding while also taking classes you'll likely never use again, like anthropology and economics, or you can forgo the four-year college route and learn to code online. Online coding courses are great for boosting your coding skills to help you land the dream coding job. However, not every online coding course is a good option.

We reviewed a wide range of online coding courses and picked a few of our favorites to help you make the right choice for your future. We checked out the certifications each course offered, its job placement rate, course freshness, and other variables when seeking the best online coding course. 

Below, are the six best online coding courses. But first, let’s dive deeper into how we determined what made a good and bad online coding course. 

Methodology

There are plenty of great online coding courses, but there are also a plethora of not-so-good online coding courses. To bring the cream to the top, we considered the following criteria when selecting the top programs:

  • Does it include a certification?
  • How many graduates does it successfully put in the field?
  • Does the company help graduates connect with potential clients?
  • How often are courses upgraded with new information?
  • Can students interact with instructors? Are instructors open to questions?
  • Is it affordable?

We found six platforms that met three or more of our key criteria.

FreeCodeCamp 

Costs

  • All courses are free 

FreeCodeCamp meets five out of our six requirements. Participants network with professionals to build apps that solve real-world problems and earn various FreeCodeCamp certifications.  Over 40,000 people have graduated since 2014, and many have earned jobs at top tech companies like Google, Spotify, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon. 

The company combines the boot camp with self-learning, giving participants a sparse but focused learning experience that includes a project at the end of each lesson. Each lesson flows into the next and tracks participants’ progress.

The only downside is FreeCodeCamp lacks mentoring, but that’s forgivable for a free program. 

Treehouse 

Cost

  • Basic plan: Free
  • Courses Plus: $29.99/month ($239.88/year)
  • Techdegree Plan with certification: $199/month 

As of 2020, Treehouse offers over 300 courses, covers 23 topics and has over 50,000 students. Its Techdegree program provides certifications and an exclusive Slack community with live support and optional in-depth code reviews. Each class includes multiple expert-designed workshops to teach you skills, techniques and ideas related to the course you’ve taken. 

Participants work on real-time projects that, once completed, become part of their portfolio. Interactive quizzes follow the class, and the program ends with a proctored two-hour final exam.

Treehouse recounts its success stories of students who landed jobs upon completion. You can find these success stories on forums, Quora and Reddit. CodeAcademy

Cost

  • Basic Tier:  Free
  • Pro: $39.99/mo ($239.88/year)

As of 2020, CodeAcademy has more than 45 million members in 190 countries learning to code, making CodeAcademy the world’s largest resource for improving computer science literacy and computer programming skills.

CodeAcademy is more for beginners or people seeking to upscale their skills, so you may find it tough to land a job in your preferred field.

The premium Codecademy Pro puts more emphasis on ¨delivering job-ready, tangible outcomes” and comes in three tiers for students with different needs. Each course has interactive, intensive learning experiences, lessons and quizzes; access to a mobile app; and real-world projects. These help learners build portfolios of work designed to help them land jobs and advance their careers. 

Each Pro-level class includes live support and feedback from professional advisors, is certified and offers 24/7 peer-community support. CodeAcademy doesn't provide job placement, nor were we able to track how many graduates landed gigs after completing the Pro product.

Pluralsight (formerly CodeSchool) 

Cost 

  • Personal Plan: $29/month ($299/ year)
  • Premium: $449/year

PluralSight, formerly CodeSchool, was founded by a training and development consultancy business that based their platform on what their clients — many of them major tech corporations — wanted.

As of 2020, PluralSight offers over 7,000 online courses over in 10 categories, including Dev, IT Ops, and Cloud training. Participants follow guided learning paths to obtain technical skills.  

Opt for the annual subscription, and you get skill assessments for beginner, intermediate, and expert students. Moving into the premium option adds exams, interactive courses and real-time projects.

While PluralSight lacks one-on-one mentoring or peer interaction, its courses are updated regularly and reflect current tech trends and changes. 

PluralSight is for beginners and those who want to update their skills, so there is no job placement service, nor are there records of graduates landing jobs upon completion.

Coursera

Cost

  • Select classes: Free
  • Individual courses: $29-$99/course
  • Specialized program cost: $39-$79/month
  • Online degree: $15-$25,000

Coursera offers over 1,609 computer programming courses from over 200 universities and companies across 43 countries. IT even offers courses from prestigious institutions, like the University of Toronto, Princeton University and the University of London. 

The platform has flexible, affordable options, ranging from free courses to those that provide MasterTrack™ certificates and diplomas or professional certificates. Premium courses include customized instruction, discussion forums, assignments and exams.

Unfortunately, some employers aren’t fond of MOOC certifications, so Cousera’s certificates may not be helpful. Despite this issue, Coursera still claims to get you “job-ready” within a year.

On the whole, Coursera seems best for beginners and those looking to update their skills.

EdX 

Cost

  • Audit tracks: Free
  • Verified tracks: $50-$300 

EdX, founded by Harvard University and MIT, has an array of computer science courses from well-known universities like MIT, Columbia and Harvard. 

EdX courses teach you programming languages and concepts for a career in hardware or software development. EdX tunes its lessons for beginners, but many include professional certification

Other programs include MicroBachelors programs built for adult undergraduates looking to progress their careers and MicroMasters graduate-level courses.

Like Coursera, EdX courses are self- or instructor-paced with verified tracks that include graded homework assignments and exams. While you may not land a job from an EdX program, you can create demonstrable artifacts for your portfolio.

Bottom line

With a wide range of options available, almost anyone can learn to code online. Your task is to decide whether you want to just tip your toes in with a few free programs or dive right into the deep end with a full subscription or degree program. 

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