Founded in 2012, Coursera has grown into a major for-profit educational-technology company that has offered more than 1,000 courses from 119 institutions. While you can pay for certain programs to receive a certificate, there are a number of free introductory programming courses in various specializations from universities such as the University of Washington, Stanford, the University of Toronto and Vanderbilt.

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On the other hand, if you’re a mid-career professional looking to transition into a tech career, a short-term coding bootcamp might make more sense than going into debt for a second degree. If all you want to do is build websites or push your Raspberry Pi to its limits, a combination of interactive tutorials and free online courses might be enough to get you going.

Your answer can help determine which programming language(s) you should master, as well as what sort of commitment (in time and money) your goal may require. For example, if your dream is to create the next great operating system or a killer alternative to PhotoShop , you would benefit from a formal computer science education that teaches you C++, as well as more complex topics like data structure, algorithms and memory allocation.


I recommend checking out CS Dojo, TheNetNinja, and Harvard’s CS50 YouTube channel. If you don’t have time to search for a perfect coding video or channel, you can also check out LinkedIn Learning’s vast video library for vetted and professional-looking tutorials. While the service’s $30/month subscription fee is nothing to sneeze at, you can binge-watch an unlimited amount of content and topics—making LinkedIn Learning a better deal than other on-demand online classes that come with annoying restrictions.
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