It is no secret that there is a wealth of resources online that you can use to build your development skills. That should be great, right? Well, for a lot of our readers, it can start to become overwhelming. Knowing where to start is vital to success. So, we have taken the time to put together our favorite websites you can use to learn to code for free.
For course-based websites, you are looking for sites like Udemy, Coursera, and BitDegree. However, if you are looking for resource-based websites, such as forums, you should look at StackOverflow. For your kids, I recommend using Code Avengers. Be sure to read through our full list.
This article is not only aimed at beginners. Look, whether you are a graduated student, an intermediate developer, or a complete rookie, the websites on our list have everything you need to sharpen your skills or boost your career. So, let’s jump into it.
Best 11 Free Websites to Learn Coding For Free
A few things to note about this list that we will create is that you shouldn’t try and find which websites you will use as your go-to. Instead, we were hoping you could think of it as a list of resources to access anytime, depending on your needs.
We can’t find any reasons why you should use one of these sites over the other. So, your best bet is to use them all together. Trust us, doing this will maximize the amount of exposure to programming you can get. All of the sites on this list offer similar language and system courses. You are sure to find the best one for you.
With that out of the way, here is our list of the 11 best free websites you can use to kick start your career in programming.
Udemy is first on this list because of how simple it is to use. All you have to do is create a free account and then search for whatever programs you want. Sometimes simplicity goes a long way, and it can make learning a lot easier. However, there is a lot more to this website than just simplicity.
Once you have created a free account on Udemy, you can search for online courses; it is that simple. While searching, all you have to do is start typing a word, and it will shoot out a bunch of recommendations. Once you have launched the search, you can go to the filters section and click on the price. Within the filters section, you can select free courses.
Udemy allows its users to review each course, and my piece of advice to you is to go for a highly rated course. Now, some of these programs will try and persuade you to go for their paid lessons after going through their free ones. Well, this is not a bad thing, but you are best off going for the high-rated courses because they usually cover everything for free.
My favorite thing about Udemy is that it has a mobile app. All you do is sign in with your free account, and you will have all of your courses and programs right in the palm of your hand. Watching the video lessons becomes almost like watching YouTube. You can even download a few of the courses just if you think you will be in a place without internet access.
|Udemy Pros and Cons
|✓ Easy to use
|🗴 Some courses feel outdated
|🗴 A lot of courses point to paid content
|✓ Mobile app
|✓ No limit
First of all, you have to love the name of this website, but I would say that it’s not a place for “geeks.” instead, it’s a place for people who work in IT and those aspiring to do so. Whether you have no knowledge of programming, you are an aspiring computer science student, or even a professional, GeeksForGeeks has something for you.
When you land on their website, there are many options for you to choose from. Everything from other people telling you their interview experiences, places where you can look for work, or code that you are looking for, they have so much to offer.
Once you click on the “Tutorial” section, There is a lot of paid content on GeeksForGeeks. However, when searching for courses, you can select only to see free courses, and I have found the courses to be thorough and fun. It seems that people are trying to live up to the website’s name, which is a fun one.
One of my absolute favorite parts of this website is called “problem of the day.” It is something unique, and trust me, it sets this site apart. You can win prizes by solving problems. Some of the problems are extremely difficult while others are relatively easy, and for solving any problem, you get a currency called “GeekBits.”
Once you earn a few bits, you can use these to redeem rewards. It is a revolutionary system where companies can post problems they have, and you get something for solving them. You also gain experience through solving these problems.
|GeeksForGeeks Pros and Cons
|✓ Speak with professionals
|🗴 Not the biggest library of courses
|✓ Great content
|🗴 Paid courses are pricier than other sites
|✓ Job search
|✓ Get rewarded for solving problems
YouTube is part of Google, and there is no denying the vast amount of the things you can find on this platform. There was a joke a while ago, and people used to do it. You put two or three words together, type them into YouTube and see what you get, and often, you would get something extremely similar to what you typed because the platform has almost everything.
However, I’m not a huge fan of using YouTube to learn how to program. Instead, I would recommend that you use it as a supplement to your learning. What do we mean by supplement your learning? Well, Ideally, you will use YouTube only for very specific needs. Do not worry; we have a quick example.
For example, if you want to know how a certain programming platform works, you could use YouTube for that, but learning how to write code effectively? That’s where I feel YouTube falls short. Also, you will find a lot of videos on YouTube, mostly point toward paid courses.
|Youtube Pros and Cons
|✓ Massive library
|🗴 Not the best for detailed courses
|🗴 Finding courses can feel overwhelming
|✓ Great for reviewing platforms
W3schools is one of the oldest web development tools available. The company was started in Norway all way back in 1998. Some of the most prominent web developers still use w3schools, and they will tell you about a time where they used it to learn how to build web pages because it was all that was free and accessible.
W3schools is a free website, and it used to offer just web development tools. However, today it is so much more than that. You can learn about other languages and systems. For example, you can learn how to use bootstrap, Java, HTML, CSS, and much more. So, whatever kind of programming you plan to go into, w3schools might have you covered.
Using the website is one of the best free programming experiences you can have. On one side of your screen, you will have a lesson, and on the other side, you will have a text editor box that allows you to practice each lesson.
You can use W3 to build a website in a text editor by modifying each lesson to what you want and then transferring that into a different text editor. Please, do not plagiarize the site. Much like with writing, plagiarism in coding is a career killer.
|W3schools Pros and Cons
|✓ Practice each lesson
|I cannot think of any cons
|✓ 100% free
|✓ Variety of courses
You don’t see many people talking about StackOverflow except for industry professionals. This is because not many people know how to use StackOverflow, or at least, to fully leverage it to their advantage.
StackOverflow has a few sections within their website. First of all, you can look for jobs and pay for online courses, but the true power of StackOverflow comes from its forums. There literally is no better way to learn how to code than to ask a professional when you run into problems or when you have any questions.
The best feature of StackOverflow is its “questions” section. It is a friendly place. You can create an account and ask questions if you have any problems, or you can search through the community section for any problems that have already been solved.
You will find a lot of code written in the questions section, all for free.
I am a huge fan of StackOverflow for its incredible community. However, one mistake I see people making is taking advantage. You can’t be a complete beginner and ask people to build things for you. They will quickly catch you out. Instead, it is there when you need to ask questions about certain aspects of whatever program you are trying to build. Remember, ask for help, not handouts.
A great tip that will save you a lot of time when you are stuck is to simply type ‘stackoverflow “followed by your problem” ‘ into your search engine. Just type the problem in a nice concise way and you will find that someone has already posted the same question on Stackoverflow usually with plenty of answers to it, from which you can choose the best one. Top-rated answers are usually the best ones, but keep an eye that the answer is also not too outdated. After a while, you will know how to find the answer to your problem within minutes, to what would otherwise take you an hour or more. Just remember, whatever problem you have, there is a very high chance that someone faced the same problem before.
A good example would be this: ‘stackoverflow find index in the array and move it to the end’. The first result in Google search gives us the link, where the accepted and most upvoted answer gives us a solution. Now you can simply copy-paste the code and adapt it slightly to your needs.
|StackOverflow Pros and Cons
|✓ Friendly community
|🗴 Can be hard to navigate at first
|✓ Find jobs
|🗴 You might have to wait for an answer
|✓ Speak to professionals directly
|✓ Variety of sections
Coursera is a massive website with over 77 million users worldwide. Its headquarters is in the United States, and it has just under 1800 employees. But, it hasn’t been until recently that I started looking more into it. What I can say from the little time I have spent on Coursera is that I have been thoroughly impressed.
A few Stanford university professors started Coursera. The website has a few sections that you would need to familiarise yourself with after creating your account. Once you are familiar with the website, you will go to categories and select computer science. Most free-to-use websites hide their “free” sections as much as they can to try and get you to spend money.
Coursera does not do that. Once you select the category you want, a pop-up window appears, and one of the first things you will see it’s free courses. All you do is select the button, and a wealth of online 100% free resources will pop up for you.
The similarities between Coursera and Udemy are very apparent; however, I think it is up to you to choose which one you prefer.
|Coursera Pros and Cons
|✓ Over 5000 courses, paid or free
|🗴 Paid courses can be pricey
|✓ Variety of subjects
|✓ Scholarship programs
Code Academy has been around for years. Recently, they have been restricting what free users can do. However, there is still a ton that you can learn from Code Academy. I remember, about five years ago, my friend who had no experience in programming came to me and kind of teased me a little bit.
He spent a day learning a few things on Code Academy and then sat me down to show me what he had learned, and he acted all chuffed. The thing is, Code Academy made it that easy for him to learn a few things, and it can do the same for you. I recommend using code academy if you are a complete beginner.
However, no matter how advanced you get in your programming career, I love one feature with Code Academy. It is called the “cheat sheet.” You click on it, select your program or language, and it literally has a list of cheats you can use when you get stuck.
|Code Academy Pros and Cons
|✓ Easy to use
|🗴 Limited use for free users
|✓ The cheat sheet is incredible
|✓ Caters to all skill levels
It might have a scary name, Hackerank. However, the site is extremely friendly for beginners. They have daily courses with projects. Then, they also have daily practice accompanied by tests. At first, you can’t see anything except the ability to choose whether you are a company or an individual.
On Hackerank, you have to create a profile. Once you have done this, you will be allowed to participate in learning how to code.
Look, the best advice I can give you when creating your profile is to select a profile that you will use to attract employers potentially. Now, you might not get hired after writing your first “hello world” program, but as you develop, you will be assessed.
My favorite thing about Hackerank is it encourages employers to hire remote workers through its platform. So, it doesn’t charge for its courses because it makes a lot of money by giving employers access to as many users as it has.
If you are looking to learn how to program to make a career out of it, Hackerank might be one of the best options for you. Who knows, you might find your future employer on this website, or better yet, they might find you.
|Hackerank Pros and Cons
|✓ Get exposure to hiring companies
|I cannot think of any cons
|✓ 100% free for individuals
|✓ Simple and easy design
I guess we can keep this section quite brief. When you first land on the Codewars website, you will have everything you need laying out in front of you. You can choose what systems you want to use, and best of all, you can choose what languages you want to use. We do need to add that there is a significant catch with this website.
To start sharpening your skills with Codewars, you do need to meet a few prerequisites. When you click on a language that you want to learn, you will be met with a screen that gives you a piece of code. That piece of code will be incorrect, and you will need to solve the problem to continue learning.
So, this website is not the best if you are a complete beginner. However, if you do have some experience, I highly recommend you look at this website. You will be given real-world problems. In my experience, it is one of the best websites if you are learning to use the dot NET framework, particularly with the C# language.
|XX Pros and Cons
|✓ Handle real-world problems
|🗴 Not the best for beginners
|✓ Easy to navigate
|✓ Plenty of content
Don’t let the name, BitDegree, fool you. You aren’t exactly going to earn your computer science degree through this website. However, you will come across a lot of interesting courses all tailor-made to your needs.
Look, the website has a variety of courses aimed at various people. You can select whether or not you want to look for free courses or paid ones. Much like Udemy, the courses are all rated by the users. So, you can quickly see which courses are worth your time and which might not be.
Everything is organized into categories with subcategories. Therefore, navigating the website is easy, and if you want to learn more than just development, perhaps data science or blockchain, they do have something for you.
One of my favorite features about this website is that many of the courses end up being free. So, be sure to look at the price as a paid course that has recently gone free will have its original price with a dash in the middle of it. So, you are getting premium content for nothing, and signing up is 100% free.
|XX Pros and Cons
|✓ Premium content ends up being free
|🗴 Paid courses are pricey
|✓ Well organized
|✓ More than just coding courses
I don’t even know where to begin with code Avengers. It is not entirely free. Instead, they have a 10-day limited trial before you have to start paying. So, why did we decide to include it in this list? Well, there is a very special reason.
If you are a parent or even if you have younger siblings, perhaps you want them to choose a career in programming, and what better way to do it than when they are still young. That’s the thing about Code Avengers; it has two different programs.
- Junior: The first program is aimed at kids aged 5 to 14. If you think that is a bit young, I suggest you start reading about when some of the best developers started learning. Take Elon Musk, for example; he sold his first software when he was only 12 years old.
- Pro: Then they have a second program for anyone over the age of 15. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be a kid to use it. What it just means is that the content in the pro program is more advanced.
I highly recommend giving this site a look. Use the 10-day free trial to see what you get out of it, and you never have to pay, but who knows, you might want to.
|Code Avengers Pros and Cons
|✓ 10-day free trial
|🗴 Not entirely free
|✓ Professional teachers
|✓ Fun environment
|✓ Great for kids
Can Self-taught Programmers Get a Job?
We can only assume that you have not yet attended a four-year degree to obtain a computer science bachelor’s. That is why you are looking for free materials online to see if you are interested in doing a degree, or maybe that is not an option. Do you want to be a self-taught programmer, and will you get a job if you are?
We have written an extensive article about whether or not you need a degree to become a software developer. Within that article, we discuss, in detail, your options as a self-taught programmer. You are close to the end of this article, and if you are interested in being a self-taught programmer, I highly recommend giving that article a read-through.
In short, yes, self-taught programmers can get a good job in software development, and if you prove your worth, you can earn the same as a developer who has a degree. However, it must be said that you will face many challenges when you start your career.
Should Self-taught Programmers Attend a Bootcamp?
Software development boot camps might sound like military-style training, but that can’t be further from the truth. The reason why they are called boot camps is that they are accelerated learning programs in software development.
Whether you are self-taught or have come out of college with a bachelor’s degree, it is recommended that you attend at least one boot camp that specializes in whatever type of programming or language you desire to pursue a career in.
Most software boot camps are now done remotely online. So, don’t worry, you are not going to have to pack your hiking boots along with a tent. Instead, you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
A big advantage of boot camps is that they often offer internships to their best students. The main disadvantage is that it can be quite costly depending on which one you go for.
I knew nothing about programming and coding (no, they are not the same thing) before I joined a boot camp. A few months later I got an internship and now I work as a full-stack web developer.
Using a few of these websites will seriously help sharpen your skills. Remember, whether you are a beginner or an advanced developer, asking for help or looking for it is always a sign of a great developer. The thing is, most developers know that they can ask questions and on the internet, there will usually be someone who wants to help you.