You know the saying “Why pay when you can get it for free?” but for computing education, there are of course still many benefits of pursuing an academic computing education at a proper college or university. However, once you begin studying some free popular coding courses, you will realise why self-learning has been a popular option for many coders out there.
Even if you do not possess any formal diploma or degree in computing studies, simply proving to employers that you can do work-level coding could open up new jobs and career opportunities to you, in which case your professional portfolio will carry more weight in showcasing your skills. After all, in the eyes of many modern employers, their interest lie in hiring employees that are capable of doing the job without needing to undergo much training. So, if you can prove to employers that you can start doing a job for them on day one itself, you are already ahead of the pack.
While some of the free education providers listed in this article still require a fee to obtain a certificate of completion but bear in mind that any new knowledge and skills that you gain from free online courses is sufficient to get you coding some relatively interactive websites and apps and it will also lay a solid foundation for more advanced computing studies.
In fact, if you are thinking of joining a popular coding bootcamp, it will not be a surprise at all to meet fellow students there who already know some coding. Therefore, wouldn’t you like to be able to keep up with them by going in with some coding knowledge too rather than give them a blank look when they start chatting “techy”? After all, you may meet nice fellas there whom you can collaborate with on a project.
Even if you are still at the stage of thinking about learning coding, just trying out a couple of free courses will help you decide whether or not this is the path that you should focus on. Many are probably tempted by the high wages that software developers are able to earn but if you are one of those who really cannot sit long hours at the computer, then being a programmer is likely not for you. Perhaps you will be better off just gaining some basic knowledge on website development and start a new business venture, in which case you may just hire a website developer to do the techy parts.
So, below are just some brief reviews of websites that offer free computing education which I do not have any affliations with. The list is merely arranged by alphabetical order and my reviews are based on personal experiences of having enrolled in some free courses offered by the websites. There is a chance that some of the information might not be entirely accurate by the time you read this article as market conditions really change very quicky these days but I hope it will help you shortlist your choices anyway to suit your own training needs.
||If you do not possess any computing background at all, this is a good website to start with some less technical computing courses or even try an outdated computing course e.g. eBusiness courses, software training courses or the Microsoft Digital Literacy – Computer Basics course. This will help you ease into a technical computing frame of mind before you advance to actual coding or programming studies.|
||Serious computing studies should be accompanied with a variety of computing textbooks even if many of the textbooks here are not updated. Some of the textbooks may come along with exercises, so you might learn more simply by following instructions written in plain text because you will be forced to experiment with your codes to get it working rather than have a software pointing out to you where your errors are.|
|CISCO Networking Academy|
||If you are serious about pursuing any studies in Information Technology, is there any reason not to get a free certificate from CISCO? One of the great things about starting your training journey with web coding is you will naturally pick up a bit of knowledge in computer networking too as both of these subjects go hand in hand.|
||If you find a paid course here that you like but really cannot afford the enrolment fees, then do not hesitate to apply for the financial aid. I applied for it myself with a couple of short courses when I had zero income and they gave me full access to the courses without asking for anything in return. It was a generous gesture indeed considering it was just a very simple online application.|
||The computing education taught here by reputable education institutions are comprehensive and it will get you up to speed with some real coding. With that in mind, mature students who have never studied any computing before or have not worked with Mathematics for a while may find the teachings a bit difficult to understand. If this is the case, try going for less technical computing courses like those offered on Alison.com
Once you are fairly comfortable with basic frontend coding, I would recommend enrolling for the Introduction to Linux. Linux systems are embedded in the majority of web servers around the world as well as in many electronic devices we use everyday (a web server is the computer that makes a website live on the World Wide Web), so it is worthwhile learning a bit about Linux even if you do not aim to be a full-fledged technical IT professional.
||This is one of the most effective ways to get a totally free coding education with a certificate. With commitment of completing the coding education here combined with a bit of initiative to learn outside of the course, what you will gain in the end should get you to a work-ready level. Even if the certificate is not recognised in your country, you can improve on the web apps built for the assessment projects and then use the apps as part of your portfolio showcase.
Watch a video interview with Quincy Larson, the Creator of FreeCodeCamp.org
||This website can supplement the technical computing learnings gained from other courses. This is also a good website to gain insights into the markets in United Kingdom and Australia as many of the courses are taught with videos and include interviews with local professionals.|
||The learnings here are great for beginners who are not yet comfortable with typing in their own codes as the preformed codes will help you to memorise the syntax of the codes that need to be in place in order for them to work. There are also Android and iOS mobile apps, so you may continue learning even when you are on the road. Perhaps this app could be your company when you have to wait for that friend who is never on time.|
|Mozilla Development Network|
||Mozilla understands that learning web development can be challenging for a complete beginner, and this is why their tutorials begin with explaining the basic concepts of computing and how the Web works from a non-technical perspective. As you go down the learning route with Mozilla, some of their tutorials require learners to build a small website from scratch, so absolute non-IT beginners might find that challenging or even frustruating when things do not work. Don’t get discouraged if this happens to you, just take a break and study other simpler tutorials before you come back to it.|
|OpenLearn – The Open University|
||Even if you do not have any ambition to get serious on coding or programming, improving your digital literacy will still be a valuable asset in any modern urban workforce. For those who aim to be a technical IT professional, this is also a good website to gain some knowledge on how computer systems work underneath the hood. Shifting to studying concepts and theories is a great way to take a break from coding and programming every now and then to keep the ‘computing’ mind fresh and active.|
||This website will probably pop up quite often in the results whenever you search for a coding solution online and their codes examples are very easy to understand. This is also a good website to get a quick refresher and test out codes whenever you are stuck with something.|
If you have studied any courses from these websites, feel free to share your experiences in the comments but if it was a negative experience, please try to refrain from publishing any foul language. Feel free to share too if you found a job or gotten a promotion by self-learning coding, so others will be more motivated to continue their self-learning journey.
IT Essentials Trainer for the Non-Techy
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