13 sites where you can learn how to code online for free or close to it

Business Insider US

Whether you're a beginner or an advanced coder, the internet has plenty of options to help you develop and deepen your skillset — often completely for free.

Below, you'll find 13 sites that offer resources for learning how to code from the comfort of your home. They vary in price and offerings, but most have free material or affordable options. You can take advantage of MIT's OpenCourseWare where they publish virtually all MIT course content for the public, or you can earn a Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate for $49/month

If you're looking to pick up a specific skill set, you can narrow your search down by programming language or coursework. If you're just starting out, it may be worth looking at affordable or free introductory courses to get a sense of what you'd like to pursue before investing money and time into a degree or professional certificate.

Some sites, like Educative and Codecademy, have opportunities for people who have been affected by COVID-19. For instance, Educative is offering free scholarships to its Become a Frontend Developer (typically $115) learning track to people whose life or livelihood has been interrupted, and Codecademy is donating three months of its Pro subscription to five unemployed or furloughed workers for every one purchased. You can apply for one of those free memberships here. Coursera has also made 100 of its courses completely free to enroll in — including computer science classes — through December 31. It's also worth looking into any scholarships or financial aid learning sites like edX or Coursera may offer if you opt for their material.

13 sites that will help you learn how to code online:


Free to audit most courses, paid certificates and advanced degrees

Coursera has courses, MasterTracks, Specializations, professional certificates, and one guided project for coding offered from notable universities like Duke, Stanford, and Princeton, and companies like IBM and Google. There's something for both beginners and advanced learners, and while courses can typically be audited for free, certificates and graded work are usually behind a paywall. 

Specializations and professional certificates typically have a free 7-day trial and after that are billed monthly — so the faster you complete it, the cheaper it will be. They can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year to finish and start around $39/month. Its MasterTrack options tend to be more costly — as in a few thousand dollars. 

Coursera also has an annual $399 subscription, Coursera Plus, that includes access to 90% of the site and may end up being a cheaper option — just make sure your desired courses are included.  


Free to audit most courses, paid certificates and advanced degrees

edX was founded by MIT and Harvard and offers free and affordable online classes, professional certificates, MicroMasters, and Master's degrees from top universities like Harvard and Dartmouth and institutions like Microsoft and IBM

Most edX courses can be audited for free, with an optional certificate of completion costing anywhere from $39 (R650).


Courses start at R170

Udemy has thousands of affordable courses. You can enroll in coding courses for as little as R170. The site has over 150,000 courses available in over 65 languages and runs frequent sales. 


Free for basic access, R330/month for Pro

Codec a demy serves about 45 million students — most of which are in the 18-36 age group who want to progress in their career or build a new skill. Students can access interactive basic courses for free, or pay $20 (R330) per month for a Pro subscription that includes perks like step-by-step guidance, peer support, and real-world projects.

Its content is built in-house by a small team with engagement in mind — learners earn badges and get real-time feedback as they interact with classes. You can browse its catalog of thousands of hours of instruction by subject, like programming and data science, or by language, like HTML & CSSand Python.

Codecademy has structured curriculum roadmaps like Career Paths that teach the core skills of Computer Science, Data Science, and Web Development, as well as Skill Paths focused on more specialized, shorter-term goals. You can take a quiz here if you're not sure where you should start. 

And, for every Pro membership purchased, the company is giving away five memberships to those who are now unemployed or furloughed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If that describes you, you can apply here.

MIT OpenCourseWare


MIT OpenCourseWare is MIT's initiative to publish virtually all MIT course content — from its graduate and undergraduate level courses — for free online so anyone anywhere can access it. While you can find video lectures and helpful simulations, the MIT OpenCourseWare is like many free online learning tools — best for the sake of learning; it is not a degree-granting or credit-bearing program.


Free for basic access, premium R315/month or R1,700/year

Skillshare has more than 25,000 classes taught by creators, entrepreneurs, and professionals from around the world. Classes typically have short lessons and a hands-on project for students to work on, which can be shared in class for feedback and collaboration from the community. You can search for classes by desired skills such as CSS, HTML, Javascript, and more.

With a free membership, you'll get access to free classes on both web and mobile. But for full access to all classes and offline viewing, you'll need a premium membership which is $19 (R315) billed monthly, or $99 (R1,700) upfront for the year. 

LinkedIn Learning

Free month-long trial, R500/month or R4,000/year after

LinkedIn Learning offers over 16,000 courses that vary in price and length, but most take under four hours. Learners can search the site by industry-specific subjects, software, or by Learning Paths that group related courses to master a skill. 

It comes with a free one-month trial and after the trial ends access is $29.99 (R500) a month or $240 (R4,000) a year.

Khan Academy


Khan Academy is entirely free. It has exercises and short video-based lessons created by experts that are typically geared towards K-12 through early college students, teachers, and parents.  

They've also partnered with NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT on specialised content.


Some free courses, mostly paid

Educative has text-based courses and learning tracks with in-browser code playgrounds to practice as you go.

You'll find some free courses, but most are paid, with individual courses typically going for from $19 (R315). Learning tracks, which combine courses on a topic to help you master a skillset like DevOps for Developers or Python for Programmers, are usually between $39-$470. You can also subscribe and pay $249 for the year or $59/month for unlimited access. 

The site is also offering a free scholarship (worth $115) to the learning track Become a Frontend Developer to people whose life or livelihood has been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Free trial, R480/month or R3,300/year for a basic subscription

Pluralsight offers thousands of courses, paths (which contain multiple courses), and assessments — which can help you determine gaps and strengths to make your learning plan more efficient — created by experts and covering software development, IT Ops, Cyber Security, and more. Students can take courses on things like Python, JavaScript, Web Development, and enroll in path options covering JavaScript, Angular JS, and Java

Pluralsight offers a free trial for 10-days or 200 minutes of content (whichever comes first), and it's $29/month or $199/year afterward for access to courses, paths, and skill assessments for individuals. But you'll need a premium subscription ($299/year) for access to exams, projects, and interactive courses. 



freeCodeCamp is a non-profit designed to make learning web development 100% free and to teach students by building projects and completing challenges. It may be especially useful for beginners and is sometimes incorporated into high school, college, and adult education coursework. Its LinkedIn alumni page counts more than 50,000 alumni working everywhere from Amazon to IBM and Microsoft.

It offers more than 6,000 tutorials and has a free 2,000-hour curriculum. Most of its certifications take around 300 hours to complete, according to the organization. 


Free 7-day trial, R414/month for a basic subscription

Treehouse offers hundreds of courses, tracks that combine related courses to teach a skill, and some months-long TechDegree programs for beginners to create a portfolio in Front End Web Development, Full Stack JavaScript, Python, User Experience Design, and PHP with Laravel. Each Treehouse course should contain videos, quizzes, brief instructions, and code exercises. You can search by topic, difficulty level, course name, or even by the instructor. 

The site offers a free 7-day trial for any membership, but it's $25/month after for its most popular basic membership and up to $199/month for its TechDegrees. 


Free month-long trial, R5,000/month after depending on the programme

Udacity offers courses that cover data science, machine learning, AI, cloud computing, and autonomous systems that range in experience level and duration. It carries about 190 free courses that don't offer certification, as well as what it calls "nanodegree programs" that are typically a few hundred dollars and include projects, mentor support, career services, and more. The site is also currently offering free access for one month. 

The site was founded shortly after two Stanford instructors, Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, decided to offer their "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" course for free online and saw a reported 160,000 enrollments in more than 90 countries.

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