The best free online development courses


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As technology advances quicker than ever before, so too do the skillsets required to operate that technology. Digitally skilled candidates have never been more sought after. Last year, demand for developers increased by 13 percent in the UK alone.

10 exciting design jobs currently live in the UK.

Designers who have a good understanding of UX and development processes have a distinct advantage when it comes to enhancing their skills and securing top roles.

So whether you’re looking to build out your professional skills or transition into a new career, learning to code is a good place to begin.  

Expand your developmental horizons and boost your employability in the process with these free online development courses. 

See our roundup of best paid and free UX design courses

MIT OpenCouseWare - Introduction to Computer Science and Programming

Aimed at students with little to no programming experience, this course is an introduction to computational problem solving. It focuses on the Python programming language and teaches students a basic set of algorithms, the process of writing and debugging a program, computational formulas for problem solving and how to use computational tools to understand data.  

The course materials include a series of lecture videos, handouts, slides and course files as well as self assessment tools such as unit quizzes. No technical experience is required to complete this course but as a lot of it deals with formulaic solutions, a logical or mathematical mindset would be an advantage.

Coursera - Ruby on Rails: An Introduction

Created by University of John Hopkins, this course explores how to build web applications using the Ruby on Rails framework which facilitates quick prototyping. There are three modules to complete – ‘Setting up the Development Environment’, an ‘Introduction to Ruby’ and an ‘Introduction to Ruby on Rails’. By the end of this course, participants should be comfortable building a meaningful web application and using a Heroku SaaS to deploy it to the cloud.

To complete this course you need to pass all graded assignments and the required study time is about 2-3 hours per week for three weeks.

Udacity - Android Development for Beginners

An enthusiasm for learning is the only prerequisite for this course by Google. It caters for beginners looking to take their first steps in a career in development. Students will be guided through the process of building apps for Android and on completion will have built two apps of their own. The course is led by industry professionals and offers interactive quizzes, learn by doing exercises and a valuable student support community. It takes on average four weeks to finish. Should you wish to advance to more technical studies, there are four courses following this one which offer more granular learning such as dealing with multiple app screens and data storage.

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Alison - Web Page Development

This course is a great introduction into the fundamental languages and programmes required to build a website. It takes between three and four hours to complete the course assessments and a score of 80 percent or above is required to pass. The course covers how to identify and use important features such as anchor tags, entities, presentation tags, tables and links. There are three modules students need to master: HTML which deals with the basics of code, CSS which is the styling of web pages and Adobe Dreamweaver which covers how to build web pages.

edX - Agile Development using Ruby on Rails - The Basics

This syllabus comes from the University of California, Berkeley and is best suited to students of an intermediate level. The course leverages agile techniques to teach students how to code long lasting software as a service (SaaS) using Ruby on Rails. It’s six weeks long and requires 10-12 hours of study per week. The format includes weekly coding projects and quizzes to get participants up to speed with development techniques such as testing, paired programming, behaviour driven design and user stories.

Coursera - Introduction to HTML5

This course, offered by Coursera, is created by the University of Michigan and is designed to give you a foundational knowledge of development. It takes three weeks to complete with a required study time of 2-3 hours per week. The syllabus covers the fundamentals of coding as well as validation and accessibility. To pass the course students need to submit a final project which involves building a simple webpage with links and images.

Udacity - Intro to HTML and CSS

Using a combination of instructional videos, interactive quizzes, independent exercises and expert insights, this course teaches you about the underlying structure of the internet: HTML. It takes approximately 3 weeks to complete and comprises four lessons: HTML syntax, HTML syntax problem sets, CSS syntax and CSS syntax problem sets. The self-paced learning format means the course is suitable for developers of varying skills levels.

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