Tech courses are one of the most in-demand areas of study, with students clamoring to get into the best programs to start their careers. But what if you don’t have the time or money for a traditional college education? Don’t worry—there are plenty of online courses that can teach you everything you need to know about the tech industry without setting foot in a classroom.
Whether you’re hoping to change careers or simply want to learn enough for your coding projects, taking an online course is a great way to improve your tech credentials. Today, almost every job requires you to at least have some knowledge of technology—even future marketers and lawyers will need to understand the basics of coding to create and track digital campaigns or review contracts with technology clauses.
Most of the courses we mention below are available for free, but if you want a certificate to highlight for your resume, you will likely have to subscribe to a platform or purchase one course.
So which tech course should you take? Here are our top 5 picks for the best self-guided tech courses available right now:
Introduction to Python (DataCamp)
DataCamp is quite simply the best platform for online courses focused on collaborative learning. Note, however, that DataCamp focuses solely on data science. That means that their courses, while excellent, might not be the right fit if you’re looking for a more general introduction to tech.
That said, their introductory course on Python is an excellent place to start your journey into coding. Not only will you learn the basics of one of the most popular programming languages, but you’ll also get practice working with real data sets. If you want to get a taste of what data science is all about, this course is for you.
If you don’t have a team to learn with, don’t fret. “Introduction to Python” has had 4,063,058 students so far. The course’s popularity throughout the years means you won’t have any trouble finding someone to pair up with.
Codecademy is an excellent platform for learners who value interactivity as a way to take in new information. The platform is famous for gamifying its courses with lots of activities and exercises to supplement your understanding of the course material, a godsend for those who have trouble learning solo.
Python for Everybody Specialization (Coursera)
For learners who want to be sure that the time they spend on an online course is well-spent, “Python for Everybody Specialization” at Coursera is a great investment.
This comprehensive course covers all the basics of the language, from installing Python and writing your first program, to employing functions and loops like a grizzled pro. You’ll also learn how to work with data, handle errors and exceptions, and create user-friendly programs using web scraping and tuples.
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to confidently write your own Python programs applications. While the course does not require any prior programming knowledge, it does require a serious time commitment owing to the breadth and depth of the material covered: roughly eight months at the suggested pace of three hours every week.
“Python for Everybody Specialization” has 1,243,148 students currently enrolled and consistently receives high ratings from its participants. If you’re looking to hit the ground running with Python, this is the course for you.
AI Programming with Python (Udacity)
The “AI Programming with Python” course at Udacity is designed to give IT professionals the skills they need to dive deep into this specific programming language.
Udacity is renowned for its “nanodegrees”, which are intensive, project-based courses that teach specific job skills. “AI Programming with Python” nanodegree is one of these, and it focuses on teaching students how to use the Python programming language for AI-powered applications.
Udacity does not provide hard counts on the number of students who have taken this course, but its 1,222 student reviews—the average rating is 4.6/5—would suggest a fair number of students have found the course helpful.
Due to its advanced concepts, this course is most suited for IT professionals who want to improve their career prospects by branching out into other specializations. You will need knowledge of basic algebra and programming concepts before taking this course.
Machine Learning A-Z™: Hands-On Python & R In Data Science (Udemy)
Machine Learning A-Z™: Hands-On Python & R In Data Science is a course offered by Udemy that promises to give students a well-rounded understanding of many different machine learning models. The course is hands-on, meaning that students will get to practice using Python and R to make predictions, create powerful analyses, and build robust machine learning models.
The course also covers in-demand topics such as reinforcement learning, natural language processing, and deep learning. By the end of the course, students should be able to confidently select the best machine learning model for each type of problem they encounter. With its comprehensive coverage and practical approach, Machine Learning A-Z™ is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about this rapidly growing field.
860,744 students have taken the course so far, with an average rating of 4.5/5 from nearly 160,000 student reviews.
Which One is the Best for You?
Learning tech solo can be intimidating but with the five courses we mentioned above, you’re guaranteed to find at least one that will fit both your learning style and needs. All of these courses have information resource pages that can help you determine if they’re a good fit for you.