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Where to Find
the Best Online Computer Programming Courses in 2021

Many of the top tech careers require you to have advanced computer programming skills. Whether you are learning programming to get into software development, data science, or game development, there are plenty of online courses in computer programming.

In this guide, we’ll look at the best online computer programming courses, whatever your level. We’ll cover introductory courses as well as more advanced courses created in partnership with top universities. This includes courses in different programming languages such as Java, Python, and C#.

What Is Computer Programming?

Computer programming is the act of building a program that provides instructions for a computer that it’s running on. The program provides instructions in a language that computers can interpret, which are called programming languages.

There are almost endless applications for computer programming skills. Computer programmers work as game developers, web designers, app developers, and software engineers.

What Will You Learn in a Computer Programming Course?

For most computer programming courses, topics include programming languages and how to write basic code. There are many different specializations in computer programming. Courses can also include basic mathematics and even training in machine learning.

Each course will usually focus on a specific programming language. Programming languages are used for different tasks. For example, web development tends to lean heavily on JavaScript, while Java and Python are frequently used for programming offline software.

Top Online Computer Programming Courses in 2021 at a Glance

Below are the best online computer programming courses of 2021. We’ve included introductory courses as well as more advanced courses aimed at people with previous experience.

These online courses vary in price, length, and provider. Many are free to take. For others, the price depends on how quickly you finish the course. The information in the table has been taken from the providers’ websites.

Provider and Course Price Length Certificate
Coursera
Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate
$39 per Month 32 Weeks Yes
Coursera
C# Programming for Unity Game Development Specialization
$39 per Month 16 Weeks Yes
edX
Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python
Free 9 Weeks Yes, for $75 Fee
edX
Software Development Fundamentals
Free 4 Weeks Yes, for $149 Fee
FutureLearn
Robotics with Raspberry Pi: Build and Program Your First
Robot Buggy
Free 3 Weeks Yes, for $49 Fee
Pluralsight
Pair Programming
Free 2.5 Hours No
Udacity
Programming for Data Science with R
$255 12 Weeks No
Udemy
Beginner C++ Programming – From Beginner to Beyond
$95 8 Weeks Yes
Udemy
Java Programming Masterclass for Software Developers
$110 16 Weeks Yes
Udemy
The Modern JavaScript Bootcamp
$85 6 Weeks Yes
Best Computer Programming Courses of 2021

Best Computer Programming Courses of 2021

Below we’ll look at each of these computer programming courses in more detail. These online courses range from beginner to intermediate skill level, so make sure to pick one that’s suitable for your experience. Keep reading to find out what makes each of these programming courses unique.

Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate by Coursera

Google developed this entry-level course to help aspiring programmers launch their careers. Many courses on this list cover Python because it’s the most popular programming language right now. Students in this course learn to write code in Python to automate systems administration tasks.

The first couple of modules start by building up your Python programming skills. You’ll then tackle version control using Git, troubleshooting and debugging, as well as deploying new versions of code to multiple computers using cloud computing. At the end of the six-month course, you’ll be ready to take on freelance jobs using Python.

C# Programming for Unity Game Development Specialization by Coursera

Microsoft’s C# programming language is a favorite for game development. This course from the University of Colorado Boulder combines training in C# and the Unity game platform. It is ideal if you are hoping to specialize in game development.

In this course, you’ll use C# from scratch in the Unity development environment. You’ll study the basics of object oriented programming, building games in 2D and 3D, and creating your own data structures and design patterns.

Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python by edX

This entry-level course from MITx will teach you the principles of computer science using Python. Instead of learning Python for a specific purpose, you’ll study the basics of algorithms, testing and debugging, and data structures.

It’s a relatively short course, designed to give students an introduction to Python and general computer science principles. This course is great for beginners who want to learn the basics before moving into a more specialized area of Python.

Software Development Fundamentals by edX

Created by the University of Pennsylvania online (PennX), this course will teach you the basics of computer science using Java. Students learn about Java syntax and keywords, before diving deeper into object oriented programming in this course. You will also learn how to troubleshoot your code and ensure smooth operation in different environments.

It’s a great option to build a firm foundation in Java and computer science. After completing the course, students can move on to the other courses in PennX’s CS Essentials for Software Development Professional Certificate program.

Robotics with Raspberry Pi: Build and Program Your First Robot Buggy by FutureLearn

In this three-week course at the intersection of engineering and programming, you’ll get the chance to see your code driving a real-life object. Students are given a hands-on project in order to learn to program in Python.

Students start by building a robot and then use Raspberry Pi to program its motors. You will then learn how to help your robot navigate the world with distance sensors, before progressing to giving the robot the ability to see lines. This course allows students with a basic understanding of Python to add some robotics knowledge to their arsenal.

Pair Programming by Pluralsight

Pair programming is an essential skill for working in software development or software engineering. In this course, students learn how to code alongside other people. Pair programming is an important tool to improve your code and share knowledge with other programmers.

This course doesn’t focus on any particular programming language. Instead, it focuses on common pair programming strategies. After just a few short hours, students should have no problem adapting to different working structures.

Programming for Data Science with R by Udacity

The R programming language is another popular programming language for data scientists. This Nanodegree program from Udacity teaches beginners how to code with R and SQL to accomplish a multitude of data science tasks.

Students start with training in SQL, a server-side language for building and maintaining data structures. They are then introduced to using the R programming language for data visualization. Finally, you’ll learn version control using GitHub. All of these lessons are taught via real-world projects, giving you a taste of daily life as a data scientist.

Beginner C++ Programming - From Beginner to Beyond by Udemy

C++ is another popular programming language with applications across multiple industries. Products like Adobe Photoshop, Google Chrome, and many video games were all built with C++. The language’s versatility is an asset to beginner programmers.

You’ll learn an up-to-date version of C++ from a university professor with over 25 years of experience in the language. You’ll be taught via quizzes, video lectures, and coding exercises. After completing the course you’ll be ready to specialize in any direction.

Java Programming Masterclass for Software Developers by Udemy

This course takes students from beginners to advanced programmers over 16 weeks of teaching. Students learn core programming concepts before being given an overview of everything Java has to offer.

You’ll learn about the Spring Framework, Java EE, and Android app development, as well as being taught industry best practices. The course is run by a professional developer with 20 years of experience. There’s a particular focus on making sure students are prepared for professional collaborative coding environments upon completing the course.

The Modern JavaScript Bootcamp by Udemy

JavaScript is one of the three building blocks of the modern Internet along with HTML and CSS. By developing your JavaScript skills, you’ll not only grasp the core concepts of object oriented programming, but you’ll also have the basic programming skills required to learn almost any other language quickly.

This course takes students through JavaScript with over 80 coding challenges. These challenges are part of three real-world projects that let students see first-hand how the language works. After finishing, students will be able to build web applications that can easily be transformed into mobile apps.

Computer Programming Certifications

Once you choose a specialization, gaining a professional computer programming certification is a great way to stand out to employers. The best certification for you will depend on your field and career goals.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

This certificate demonstrates that its holder is competent with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. Many of the largest companies on the planet rely on AWS for hosting and storage. This entry-level certificate shows you are confident using its technology and programming languages.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate

This certificate proves that you’re capable of using many of the technologies that make up the Microsoft ecosystem. There are 10 certificates available at the moment, in topics varying from developing web applications, to using SQL, to maintaining Microsoft servers.

Project Management Professional

Teamwork is a big part of the computer programming field. This certification verifies that you’ve learned techniques to successfully lead teams through the project development cycle. This is especially useful if you’re thinking of pursuing management roles in the future.

Next Steps After Your Course

After you complete your computer programming course, you can continue studying or use it to progress your career. If you’ve taken an entry-level course to learn the basics of programming, you could move on to a more advanced course in your chosen specialization. You could also consider enrolling at a coding boot camp to enhance your skills quickly.

If you’ve taken a course that’s led you to an intermediate level, you can start taking freelancing jobs to build your experience. When you’re confident with your skillset, you can start applying for jobs. If you want to pursue top-level or more specialist roles, you might also consider pursuing a degree to further hone and develop your skills.

Should You Learn Computer Programming?

If you have an interest in building desktop, mobile, or web applications, then you should definitely learn computer programming. The possibilities in this field are endless, and you can use computer programming skills in a wide range of sectors. Once you have basic skills in one language, it’s easy to switch to another language if you want a new challenge.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of general computer programming jobs to fall by nine percent between 2019-2029. However, this is because today most programmers take on more specialized roles. If you pursue a specialized field like software development or game development, the job outlook is extremely bright.

Find a training program that will help you start your tech career journey.

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