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Free Online Coding Courses: What to Expect

If you’re interested in learning to code but don’t want to spend a lot of money on coding courses, there are plenty of free options available online. These courses can teach you valuable skills in popular programming languages and can help you build a foundation for a career in tech. But what should you expect from these courses, and how can you get started?

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Photo by Florian Olivo

Contents

 

Introduction to free coding courses

Free online coding courses are a great way to learn new skills and advance your career without breaking the bank. These courses typically cover the basics of programming languages like JavaScript, Python, Java and HTML/CSS, and can help you build a foundation for more advanced topics. While the quality of these courses can vary, many are put together by experienced instructors and offer hands-on projects to help you apply what you’ve learned. To get started, all you need is a computer and an internet connection!

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What to expect from free online coding courses

Free online coding courses can offer a variety of benefits, including the opportunity to learn new skills at your own pace and on your own schedule. You can expect to learn a new programming language, build some projects, and access other resources that can help you advance a career in the tech industry.

Learning a programming language

A programming language is a format of letters, numbers, and symbols that computers can understand. Coding involves writing instructions in a programming language, so that a computer can do what we need it to. There are many programming languages, often with different specialties. Choosing the right coding course is all about working out which programming language you may want to learn.

  • JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most widely used coding languages currently because of its versatility. It is popular in website & app development, as it can be used on both the frontend which encompasses everything users interact with, and the backend which deals with the database and server. 

  • Python

While Python can be used for the backend of website & app development, it is mostly used in data science & analytics. It’s a fairly easy language to learn and use for sorting through, finding, and representing data. For this reason, it is also popular among scientists and financial analysts.

  • Java

Java is mostly used on the backend of websites and apps. Many large companies use Java for their large code base that requires interaction with users. Some of these include Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft, and Google. Java is also used to develop interactive media like mobile games and motion graphics.

  • HTML/CSS

While neither HTML nor CSS are programming languages, they are often used together and alongside programming languages. HTML is a markup language, which means that it is actually readable by both humans and computers. CSS is a style sheet that dictates how HTML appears on webpages. HTML puts the texts, boxes, and other aspects on the webpages, and CSS deals with the designs, colours, layouts, and beyond. They’re a dynamic duo often used by anyone making changes to the way things appear on a webpage. 

Building Projects

While the learning component is important, many coding courses will have you practising what you’ve learned right away! When learning a skill like coding, this is a great way to gain experience and confidence, and see an instant application of your knowledge. Projects vary in complexity depending on the course and the level of the learner. A popular beginner project known as ‘Hello World’ is almost a rite of passage for those learning how to code. It involves simply printing a text that says, “Hello World,” on a blank webpage, allowing learners to practise putting their first words on their first webpage. 

HTML Hello World - Title Tag

Source: Java Code Geeks

Finding Community

While this is not guaranteed with free online coding courses, embarking on a coding course journey can lead you to groups of like-minded individuals. Some courses involve forums where common problems and solutions encountered by those taking the course are shared. Additionally, online forums like Stack Overflow or Github Community are used even by professionals to share solutions and suggestions. You may not have the immediate community you can get from taking classes, but you can definitely access information and support from people who have been in your shoes.

 

Choosing the right coding course

Choosing the right free coding course can depend on a variety of factors. Whether you’re a beginner looking to dip your toe in or an experienced programmer looking to level up, there are courses and tutorials available to help you improve your coding abilities. You can also tailor your search to your learning preferences, and what you hope to achieve with your future coding skills.

Beginners

Most coding courses are perfectly suited for those who are starting from scratch, so you are perfectly fine if you’re coming into courses with no knowledge at all. If you decide to later continue your education through an institution, a coding course could serve as a great prerequisite to provide you with some foundational knowledge and familiarity. At CodeOp, we offer a free coding course appropriate for beginners to get a taste of both coding and what a longer course can be like. In just an hour and a half, you can explore the fundamentals of coding, work on a hands-on activity, and better understand the benefits of knowing how to code. 

Continuing Learners

A good developer never stops learning, and this extends to many other professions where coding is involved. Data Scientists, UI Designers, and Quality Assurance specialists alike are constantly learning about the code they work with. Coding courses can also prove to be extremely useful to experienced programmers looking to practise or incorporate some new skills into their career. There are certainly many higher level courses to accommodate more experienced individuals.

Career Pathways

If you’re interested in making the full transition to a new career, there are courses that can take you there. Some websites offer individual programming courses in groups that, when taken together, can get you started on a tech career pathway. For example, the Frontend Developer pathway by Codecademy features a group of courses that allow you to master some of the programming languages and project types that could enable you to become a frontend developer.

Learning Preferences

Everyone has the learning styles that work best for them, and there are free online coding courses that accommodate these as well. Whether you prefer to have video instruction, only documentation, or a mix of media, there is a course for your preference. Codecademy offers bite-sized readings with immediate practice after each topic, while Khan Academy, Coursera & Udemy offer video instruction with readings & projects in between. It’s important to pick the instruction type that works best for you so you can achieve your fullest potential.

 

Skills you can gain from free online coding courses

Free online coding courses offer a wide range of skills that you can gain, depending on the programming language and course you choose. While you will come out of it with a greater proficiency in coding, you can also pick up more than that.

Some common skills include: 

  • Understanding transferrable programming concepts
  • Increased comfort with mathematics and logic
  • Being able to read and explain others’ code
  • Debugging and problem-solving
  • Turning design drafts into code
  • Building websites, mobile apps, and software programs

In terms of soft skills, coding courses can advance your critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration skills – which are valuable in many industries and life experiences! With dedication, free online coding courses can help you achieve your career goals and become more well-rounded in general.

 

Tips for success 

To succeed in free online coding courses, it’s important to have a growth mindset and a willingness to learn. Start by setting clear goals and creating a study schedule that works for you. Make sure to practise regularly and seek out additional resources, such as coding forums or online communities, to help you overcome challenges. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek feedback from instructors or peers. 

Getting clear about your ‘Why’

Setting goals when learning code can keep you motivated and focused. Get clear about your reasons for learning, regardless of what it may be. Do you want to transition to a new career? Do you want to build a website that fixes a problem you’ve identified? Do you hope to build your own video game someday? Having an objective as a focal point can guide your code-learning journey and keep you on a steady path.

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Consistency is key

As with learning anything new, your proficiency with coding will only grow the more you practise. If you’re learning by yourself, it’s all the more important to create a study schedule that works for you, and then stick to it. You absolutely do not have to spend nine hours every single day on this, and you should definitely not exhaust yourself. However, taking consistent steps, no matter how small, can help you strengthen your coding muscle.

Get creative

In the same way studying is important, building projects is an extremely effective way to learn code. Getting comfortable with the building process can help you understand coding concepts better, and you can have so much fun with it! CodePen has a collection of frontend code projects that people build and upload. Likewise, websites like CodeWars or Hackerrank feature coding challenges for varying skill levels that allow you to test out your problem solving skills. As coding challenges are common in job interviews, this can be a great way to practise early on.

Get feedback

In the world of coding, there is always room for feedback and improvement. As a beginner, it’s important to develop best practices that may improve the way your code is read by both the computer and other humans. If possible, getting feedback from online forums or those in your community can improve the way you learn and build.

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 Source: Pexels

Finally, remember that coding is a skill that takes time and practice to master, so be patient and persistent in your learning journey, and remember to give yourself grace.

 

Conclusion

With no cost to you, you can start learning the basics of coding and work your way up to more advanced topics. If you’re already a little experienced, you can also use these courses to continue learning and practising. You can gain experience in programming languages while building real projects and gaining useful technical & non-technical skills. It’s amazing that financial barriers can no longer hold people back from pursuing their passion for coding. So, why not take advantage of these resources and start for free?

 

FAQS

Where can I learn coding online for free?

There are a plethora of free online resources available to learn code. You can find explanatory videos on sites like youtube, or you can get started on a structured course offered on websites like ours, Codecademy, Coursera, Khan Academy, Udemy, and many more. 

Can you get a coding certificate for free?

This is a service only offered by some coding academies, like freeCodeCamp. However, many courses will often allow you to learn the basics or complete up to a certain point for free, and you might need to pay to finish the course or  get a certificate.

Which coding language is best for beginners?

While HTML and CSS are not technically coding languages, they are a great place to start if the world of coding interests you. Since they are also essential for many websites, mastering them will be useful. They are often used alongside programming languages and are easier because they are both readable by both humans & computers alike.

What is the difference between coding and programming?

Coding is a small part of what programming is. Coding involves writing lines of code that the computer can understand and execute, and focuses on putting together the letters and symbols used to make this happen. Programming is the entire process of running a program on a computer or machine, including testing and debugging code, creating and reading documentation, and more.