The best free programming courses during lockdown

Want to learn to program? These excellent free introductory courses from Codecademy and Coursera will have you coding in no time

So you want to learn to program, but you can’t leave the house. Fear not. You can take courses online that will teach you the principles of software development along with your first programming language. In my experience, it doesn’t really matter what language you learn first, so don’t agonize over that. The important step is learning to think like a programmer.

There are plenty of good programming courses available online, but they’re not all free. For instance, LinkedIn Learning (formerly has a bunch of good courses, but you need to pay for LinkedIn (after one free month). 

I’ve zeroed in on Codecademy and Coursera here because both offer high-quality courses in a variety of programming languages that you can take for free. However, they are different. Codecademy teaches programming concepts by stepping you through interactive exercises. Coursera courses, which are offered in conjunction with a partner college, university, or tech company, take a more traditional approach.

I’m not recommending one over the other. I suggest you give both Codecademy and Coursera a try and see which works best for you. You might very well find that they are complementary. 


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