To start a career in IT, you have to take expensive courses, live in a megacity, and be a math genius. These prejudices get in the way of almost everyone who thinks about learning how to program.
However, dozens, if not hundreds, of online services prove that you can acquire skills to work in IT cheaply or for free, from almost any place on the planet. If the reason for doubt is a “non-technical” degree, it is worth mentioning that in 2020, in Europe, about a third of IT specialists had no higher education at all.
Let’s look at 15 of the most popular and convenient online services that will help you “get into IT” or develop your basic skills.
How to learn to program? General services for online learning
Here you can find a significant number of online courses, most of which are devoted to programming and other IT specialties.
A platform containing more than 180,000 video courses in the categories of Development, IT and Software, and Office Software. There are also courses on business, marketing, personal growth, etc., but the main focus of the platform is on technical specialties. For example, 33 million students are learning Python here.
The course is not free, but the cost of a full programming course often does not exceed $100. Teachers are experts from around the world, whose publications are quality-checked by the platform’s experts.
What to try? «The Web Developer Bootcamp 2022 A large course of more than 600 lectures that teaches HTML, CSS, JS, Node, and other programming languages.
One of the most well-known online education services that covers all academic topics and contains undergraduate and graduate programs. Courses are published by universities, so the training is quite professional. The sections of Natural and Technical Sciences, Information Technology, Computer Science, and Data Science contain a variety of IT courses with a solid theoretical foundation and practical tasks.
There are courses that are completely free or require a subscription. The free ones cost nothing if you want to learn and acquire skills, but you have to purchase a course to download a certificate.
What to try? Python Programming: A Concise Introduction is a course that helps understand Python and start working.
A platform entirely focused on IT and related specialties: product management, digital marketing, etc. The courses are mostly designed for several months of training. In addition to acquiring knowledge and getting the opportunity to practice on projects, students get the support of a technical mentor and job search assistance.
You can study on a one- or three-month subscription basis. There is a program of personal discounts applicable to any course on the platform, and completely free courses in each section.
A nonprofit service containing courses on almost every topic studied in schools and colleges, including quality material on programming, data security, and computer animation. The courses contain videos with explanations, assignments, and quizzes to test your knowledge.
Learning is completely free. The platform is funded by donations and volunteers, and its goal is a world-class education accessible to everyone.
What to try? Hour of Code™ contains simple exercises to help you understand programming principles and create a web page using HTML.
A platform that combines courses in every possible subject, from physics and engineering to philosophy and ethics. The Computer Science and Data Analysis sections are responsible for information technology. There are numerous programming courses from the world’s best universities (Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, etc.) and companies (for example, IBM).
There are paid and free versions of the courses. The latter give you the opportunity to learn, but you have to buy a course if you plan to get a certificate.
What to try? C Programming: Getting Started is a free course where you can learn the principles of C programming and start coding.
Online schools to learn programming
These are mostly learning services fully focused on IT. They are more specialized and offer different tools for learning programming – videos, articles, challenges, community support, etc.
A platform with many proprietary courses, sorted by programming language and IT specialty, in the catalog. In addition to individual courses, there is a Career Path and a Skill Path. The first will help you get all the skills you need for the job, and the second will help you work through one of your own choosing. The platform also has projects you can practice on, and lots of support materials.
Basic courses and community support are free, but you have to pay for other functions. The service is subscription-based and has discounts for college students.
The Odin Project
The service is completely free and works thanks to the volunteers. The program and website are open. Anyone who is a confident programmer can improve them, fix bugs and add new materials.
A service that has collected courses on almost every IT topic, from popular programming languages to SEO and design. It is a catalog with links and brief information about courses posted on other resources. You can filter the materials offered by the level of the learner, language, and other parameters.
The website is a free community where anyone can add a course to the catalog, subscribe to a topic of interest, and promote the best courses. The list includes both free and paid courses, as the site informs.
Access is available on a monthly, six-month, or annual subscription basis. You can use the free trial period to get introduced to the platform’s features.
A website answering basic questions about programming, with a lot of instructions, tips and explanations. Here you can find links to tools, libraries, books, etc., gathered by sections according to programming languages.
Access to information is completely free. The website in blog format won’t replace will not replace full-time courses, but will help as a reference during training.
Websites for training and practical learning
When you are familiar with the basic principles of programming and the chosen language is basically clear, you can practice what you have learned. There are several sites that can help you practice before your work projects.
A website where the participant performs short programming exercises, gets feedback from the community, and compares their solutions to others. The exercises have no instructions. The tasks that get more complicated as the level of the participant grows. You can go all the way from beginner to expert, as well as create your own tasks for other developers. However, basic knowledge of the programming language is required to participate.
The study resembles a game where developers compete for higher levels, brush up on their skills, and socialize. Participation is completely free, but you will have to take a short test before you start.
Dash by General Assembly
On the platform, you can run the program projects one by one, each of which is divided into short tasks with instructions. The constructor on the site allows you to write code and immediately see the result on the other side of the screen. As the participants learn, they can develop new skills that will allow them to track their progress.
The name of the service already says that it is designed for self-study. Here you can choose one of the popular programming languages and take a course divided into short, convenient exercises. Each lesson is followed by practice, and at the end of the section you have to complete a project. Most courses are designed for beginners, but some (such as Python course) have options for more experienced students.
You can study for free and buy a subscription to Pro-account, which gives more opportunities for practice and remove advertising.
A service containing short programming tasks, instructions for them, and a solution you can turn to in case of difficulty. Learning is both real programming, and at the same time a game in which you have to get points, unlock levels, and compete with other participants. The difficulty of the tasks gradually increases, so that beginners as well as people with intermediate to advanced skills can practice.
A site that allows you to go from a beginner to your first job in IT. On this path, you will have to build 5 projects from the easiest to the most complex, and get 5 certificates. To begin with, you have to decide on the field you have chosen to work in. Practical training will amount to thousands of hours of programming, which will later help you handle real projects.
IT- sphere will remain promising in the next few years. To 2030 the number of developers, testers and analyticians in it will increase by a quarter according to American bureau of statistics forecast. The active development of the sphere also influences the training opportunities. It is easier to start programming now than ever before.
Online programming courses can be a great way to get introduced to a profession or give it a try and check if you are really interested in such work. They will definitely help to switch from “I will start learning one day” to open window with lessons and gradual progress.