Nowadays, knowing how to code isn’t just for people with computer science degrees. Sure, if you want to land a job as a software engineer, having a wealth of experience is key (and you’ll definitely need more than one online class). But for everyone else, there are plenty of reasons you should learn to code, too.
For example, a programming class can teach you enough to mock up a very basic website design or an app you have an idea for. Or, in certain industries, coding chops can impress the hiring manager—even if it’s not a part of your job. A little bit of knowledge lets them know that you understand current trends, that you’re proactive and curious, that you’ll be able to communicate with colleagues and clients about the technical aspects, and that—just maybe—you might be able to pitch in on bigger projects.
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I’ve convinced you, haven’t I? Good, because these 10 beginner classes are truly worth your time (and did I mention they’re free?).
1. Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming, Coursera
Deciding to learn a programming language can seem pretty daunting. That’s why this course is a good place to begin your journey—it’s for total beginners and it’ll walk you through basic programming and computing concepts you’ll build on as you learn to code.
Length: 10 hours
2. Coding for Beginners 1: You Can Code!, Skillshare
Here’s another intro course for someone looking to learn the basics of coding and gain some background knowledge before digging in a bit deeper. Skillshare offers a free seven-day trial and, at 11 hours, this course should fit into that time just fine.
If you have more time on that free trial and have an app idea? Check out Learn Flutter and Build Android & iOS Apps From Scratch for an app-building class for beginners.
Length: 11 hours
Did you know you can learn to code using Excel? Yup—it’s actually a great and easy way to introduce yourself to programming, because you already know how to use it!
And, if you don’t have Excel on your computer, try using Google Apps Script and Google Sheets for free.
Length: 2 hours
Knowing how to build a website can make your life so much easier if you ever want to launch a side gig. This class will walk you through the process and HTML and CSS, step by step.
Length: 3 hours
Length: 12 lessons, 12 projects
6. Beginner PHP and MySQL Tutorial, Udemy
If you want to expand your website-building skills, PHP is a great next language after HTML and CSS.
Length: 10.5 hours, 156 lectures
7. Learn Python 2, Codecademy
According to Codecademy, Python’s not only a commonly-used language, but one of the easiest to read. In other words, it just might be a great place to start. Note that Python 2 is a version of the language—this is still a beginner course!
Length: 20 lessons, 8 projects
If you’re more of a visual learner, Udemy has plenty of great courses for you—including this basic Python tutorial.
Length: 2 hours
How about learning Python from a real university professor? (Note that this one’s free without the certification.)
Length: 11 hours
10. Learn Ruby on Rails, Codecademy
And once you finish all those languages, try Ruby on Rails to take your skill set to the next level.
Length: 3 lessons, 6 projects
For more options (or to learn a different type of skill entirely) check our roundup of the best sites for taking online classes.