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15 of the best online coding courses

Coding courses: Codecademy
(Image credit: Codecademy)

Online coding courses provide a way to learn from the comfort of your own home and in your own time. With them, you can also tailor your learning to the areas you're interested in, and choose courses that match your current level of knowledge. 

Want to tackle CSS animation? Discover the secrets of parallax scrolling? Build the perfect website layout?  There's an online coding course out there for you. 

Many accessible educational tools have popped up in recent years, all of which make learning new web design and development skills more straightforward. The daunting task is finding one that's right for you and your learning style. Looking for something more formal? Take a look at our roundup of the best coding bootcamps.

We've tested and reviewed some of the most popular schools around, to give you a better understanding of the pros and cons of each. Here's our list of the web's best online coding courses.

01. Pluralsight: Code School

Code School homepage

Code School offers some free courses

No discussion of online training would be complete without a mention of Pluralsight. Following an acquisition spree, it now offers the world's biggest online training library.

Of all the tools we dug into, PluralSight's Code School was one of the best. Not only does the site 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.

Code School offers a 10-day free trial, so you can try it out for size, or you can buy a monthly subscription for $35/month. If you're looking to splash a few bucks on a learning tool, we would recommend spending your money here.

02. Envato Tuts+

Online coding course: Tuts+

If you want to keep growing your skills, Tuts+ is a great choice

With online code school Envato Tuts+, you can learn about a number of aspects of design, from coding and web design to 3D and illustration. Users can select from courses (video-based lessons), tutorials (write-ups about different topics) or ebooks (including the ever-popular A Book Apart series), to suit their particular learning style. Envato Tuts+'s monthly subscription gives you access to all these learning materials, plus design resource library Envato Elements.

03. Skillshare

  • Plenty of free classes
  • Premium access from $7/mo

Skillshare offers over 25,000 classes

Skillshare offers over 25,000 classes (Image credit: Skillshare)

Skillshare is a subscription-based service that offers thousands of classes taught by industry professionals. And these aren't just any professionals either – at time of writing there were courses by Rachel Andrew, Christian Heilmann, and Jenn Lukas on there, so you're getting world-class knowledge here. Courses come complete with material that's been 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 steam courses on the go, for more flexible learning.

04. Skillcrush

  • From around $699 (course-dependent)
  • Free 10-day coding bootcamp

Skillcrush homepage

Skillcrush closely resembles learning in the classroom

Skillcrush is a unique online coding course, and the option here that most closely resembles an actual curriculum in a classroom setting. Users enroll in their chosen three-month 'blueprint' – a bundle of three courses that build on each other. 

Skillcrush has expanded its offerings and there are now eight blueprints to choose from, including frontend development, visual design, web development, and UX (the newest course). Alternatively, you can embark on a nine-month bumper programme dedicated to helping you break into tech.

Once enrolled, students have access to not only a classroom setting chat forum with their fellow students, but also to office hours and one-on-one time with their instructor. Skillcrush is currently also offering a free 10-day coding bootcamp.

05. Udacity

  • Large selection of free courses
  • Nanodegrees from around $399 / £299 per month

Udacity covers a huge array of technical subjects

Udacity covers a huge array of technical subjects

Udacity offers robust guides to many different topics, with seriously advanced courses on everything from robotics to design theories in everyday life. There's a big selection of free courses on offer here – and not just basic ones, either, but across all skill levels. 

Alternatively, Udacity has a range of 'nanodegrees', which cover in-demand skills. Current courses on offer include Design Sprint Foundations and VR Developer. Prices and lengths of course vary dramatically, but the cheapest courses start at around €200.

All 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. This means you can easily scan through and choose the one that suits you best.

06. Code Avengers

Code Avengers takes a simple step-by-step approach

Code Avengers takes a simple step-by-step approach

Code Avengers is an online school offers coding courses teaching you how to code or build websites, games and apps. There are lessons for total beginners, or if you have a little prior knowledge, you can start at a higher level. There's also a dedicated Junior programme, dedicated to teaching under-16s basic programming and computer literacy skills, via gamified courses. There are activities for users as young as five!

Code Avengers walks you through each process with very simple, step-by-step instructions, starting with minor tasks, while you watch what happens in a mini phone simulator next to your editor. The team has managed a good balance of difficulty: not so tricky you have to cheat, but not so simple you're just copy-pasting.

The site also has the best design we've seen, with illustrations and animations leading you to what you need. 

07. Khan Academy

  • Free

Khan Academy is very straightforward and offers quizzes

Khan Academy is very straightforward and offers quizzes

Khan Academy is a free online school that's not just focused on coding – there are a wide range of courses on offer, from economics to arts and humanities. Under the Computing section, you'll find courses on computer programming, computer science, coding and animation, all of which are broken up into specific sub-sections.

What's interesting with Khan Academy is that you hear someone talking while they write the code, which feels natural, like you're sitting down with someone. The courses were straightforward, easy to follow and you can then transfer the concepts to the simple exercises.

Sometimes, there are mini-quizzes following a demo, which help you think about things conceptually and understand what the code is doing a little better.

08. Hack Design

  • Free

This is a great source of aggregated content

This is a great source of aggregated content

The 'courses' on Hack Design are just collections of aggregated content, whether that's blogs, books, games, tutorials or videos, from around the web. There isn't anything to 'complete' by way of tasks, but if you're after some resource recommendations to help you learn more about a specific part of design, this is a good place to turn.

There are also tool lists with recommendations from people who use them. This is an excellent catalogue of design resources for all levels. It offers great introductory content for beginners and more advanced techniques for those who do this full-time.

09. Udemy

  • Courses from free

Udemy has a huge catalogue of courses and topics

Udemy has a huge catalogue of courses and topics

Udemy is an expansive catalogue, filled with thousands of other topics besides web and technology, with prices ranging from free to hundreds of dollars. We would venture to say you could find just about anything you wanted to learn about on here. On the down side, the vast number of courses available (over 80,000 at time of writing) does make it tricky to dig out the good stuff. 

10. Treehouse 

Treehouse is, hands down, one of the best learning tools around

Treehouse is, hands down, one of the best learning tools around

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), practice your new skills though quizzes and challenges, and earn badges to reflect the skills you've already mastered.

11. Codeacademy 

Codeacademy is easy to use and there's a free version

Codeacademy is easy to use and there's a free version (Image credit: Codecademy)

Codecademy is free to use and easy to set up. Straight away you can create 'goals' for yourself and find the skills you want to learn. These could 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. For a monthly fee you'll get access to exclusive quizzes, projects, and customised learning paths.

12. LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning was once the popular Lynda.com

LinkedIn Learning was once the popular Lynda.com (Image credit: LinkedIn Learning)

LinkedIn Learning is what used to be known as Lynda.com, and it's one of the more popular video tutorial sites. It offers an abundance of content that's constantly added to with new and up-to-date technologies and software. This is a trusted resource that many turn to when they're after a tutorial to pick up a new skill.

13. Mijingo

  • Free

Mijingo is aimed at web professionals

Mijingo is aimed at web professionals

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: they're aimed at helping web professionals get up to date with the latest developments. 

Current courses focus on things like ExpressionEngine and Twig. Alternatively you can pick a 'lesson' – these cover small, specific elements of broader topics. 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 additional resources.

14. Sitepoint

  • $9/mo

Sitepoint offers a range of books to supplement its courses

Sitepoint offers a range of books to supplement its courses (Image credit: Sitepoint)

Sitepoint offers a range of 'paths' to teach you particular coding skills. These lay out a clear journey through a specific subject, such as HTML and CSS, Angular 2, or full-stack JavaScript. You follow them at your own pace to complete your goals. It also offers a range of books, courses and screencasts to supplement your learning.

15. StackSkills

  • Courses from free

StackCommerce was founded in 2011

StackCommerce was founded in 2011

StackSkills is an online learning centre built to serve the StackCommerce community. It offers courses in a huge variety of subjects, including advanced JavaScript, Python, digital marketing and web development, all with the aim of developing a publisher's ecommerce potential. Courses range from free to a few hundred dollars, so no matter what your experience level or budget, it's certainly worth having a look.

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