The best online coding courses are a way to either get started as a coder, or develop and update your existing skills. But there are sadly a lot of poor training materials online. So to make sure you don't waste your time, we've brought together the very best coding courses in one post.
Here you'll find both free and paid-for courses, covering a variety of coding topics, from CSS animation to parallax scrolling to how to make the best website layout. All of these courses are compiled and taught by experts, and will help you learn the skills you need, quickly and efficiently (just make sure you've got great cloud storage to save those course notes in).
Meanwhile, to get the most out of your coding experience, make sure you've got one of the best monitors for programming. Want a zero-code site? Try one of the best website builders, and make sure you check out our pick of the best web hosting, too.
The best online coding courses in 2021
Founded by Stanford professors, Coursera works with universities, colleges and other major corporations to offer a range of online courses, specialisations, and degrees. So if you're looking for academic rigour from your coding courses, you'll certainly find it here.
When it comes to coding, there are a number of free courses, although you’ll generally have to pay to receive a certificate. Topics range from those at beginner level, such as Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development & Coding by University of Michigan, to more advanced fare such as IBM’s course in Applied AI with Deep Learning.
Of all the tools we dug into, Pluralsight's is the most appealing to use. Not only does the website look great, but it offers quality content and a great student experience. You can follow a 'path', which will guide you through a succession of different courses, or you can opt for a single course on its own. The videos are quirky and fun in an after-school special kind of way, and offer a refreshing break from typically dry video tutorials. It's like watching Bill Nye explain things, which is to say, comforting.
After viewing a video, you work on your own tasks – relating back to the video if required. If you get really stuck you can 'buy' answers with points you've earned from other classes.
Don't want to spend any money? Then check out Free Code Camp, a non-profit, interactive learning platform with 6,000+ tutorials that claims to have more than 40,000 graduates now working at tech firms including Google and Microsoft.
Shaw Academy offers online courses in a variety of subjects, including web design and development. These are mostly aimed at beginners, and certified by Austin Peay University.
Envato Tuts+ is a broad training platform you can learn about a number of aspects of design, from coding and web design to 3D and illustration. What's great is that you can choose exactly how you want to learn, which might be via video-based lessons, tutorials or ebooks, including the ever-popular A Book Apart series. Envato Tuts+'s monthly subscription gives you access to all these learning materials, plus an excellent design resource library, Envato Elements.
Skillshare is a subscription-based service that offers thousands of coures, including coding courses. Many of these are taught by world-class web developers such as Rachel Andrew, Christian Heilmann, and Jenn Lukas. Courses come complete with supplementary materials created by the instructors, and there are projects for you to apply your skills. There's also an iOS or Android app that enables you to stream courses on the go.
Looking for live coding workshops? General Assembly organises livestreams, some free but mostly paid for, ranging from 'Intro to coding' to 'Python Programming Crash Course'. To access them, you need to buy an e-ticket and then log in to the livestream when it happens (beware of timezones!).
For those who lack the motivation to learn at their own pace, this offers a good way to 'force' yourself to learn, because having something in the calendar means you're more likely to find the time to do it. If you do miss the class, however, you'll usually be able to get hold of a recording later.
Udacity offers robust guides to many different topics, with big selection of free courses. Alternatively, it has a range of 'nanodegrees', which cover in-demand skills. Usefully, all of Udacity's coding courses are summarised before you begin, outlining the difficulty level, why the course is important, any prerequisites for taking it, and the project you will complete at the end.
Udemy is an expansive catalogue, filled with thousands of other topics besides web and technology, with prices ranging from free to hundreds of dollars. Whatever area of coding you're looking to learn about, we'll wager you'll find it here. On the downside, the vast number of courses available (over 80,000 at time of writing) does make it tricky to dig out the good stuff.
Treehouse has one of the most comprehensive libraries of educational materials on this list, while also being one of the most relevant. Not only does it offer a large variety of coding courses, but it also includes 'workspaces' you can use to try out new projects in your own time, as well as a library with videos of talks from industry professionals. It offers an iPad app to continue your learning, too.
The structure is simple: learn from the video courses (which are regularly refreshed to reflect industry changes), practise your new skills though quizzes and challenges, and earn badges to reflect the skills you've already mastered. This type of gamification is well thought-through, and really helps to motivate your learning.
Codecademy is a free source of coding courses that's easy to set up. Create goals for yourself and find the skills you want to learn: these may range from applicable things like creating a portfolio site to silly, fun things like animating your name or building a CSS galaxy. There's also a paid Pro version on offer, giving you access to exclusive quizzes, projects, and customised learning paths.
Mijingo is an online learning resource that features step-by-step video tutorials for both web design and development. These online coding courses aren't for beginners, though: they're specifically aimed at helping web professionals get up to date with the latest developments.
Current courses focus on topics including Git, Craft, ExpressionEngine, Twig, and more. Alternatively you can pick a lesson on a small, specific element of a broader topic. Stream the videos or download them to any device to watch at your leisure. The courses are cohesive and thorough, and some offer transcripts, starter files and other resources.
Got kids between the ages of six and 11, and want them to learn code? BT has found a way of teaching online coding in a way that's a huge amount of fun. At Code A Cake, a colourful website created by AnalogFolk, you create a robot-staffed bakery in order to bake a cake, using the art of coding. Yes, it sounds strange, but it's a clever way to get your kids to pick up some basic coding skills, and some parents may learn a thing or two along the way as well.
EDX brings together coding courses from top universities such as MIT, Georgia Tech, UC Berkeley, and Harvard, as well as A-list companies like IBM, Microsoft, W3C and Linux, for you to learn online. There are a number of free coding courses to get you started and help you choose your path for future learning, although you'll need to pay to get a validated certificate upon completion.