Love it or hate it, every new year many people decide to make that year even bigger and better than the last. This is often associated with the “New Year, new me” ideology. Everyone has their reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with this way of thinking but I know we can all agree that it never hurts to better yourself or learn a new skill. One of those skills might just happen to be web development.
There’s no secret that the average salary for a web developer is pretty decent. Sure it may not seem like a lot to some, but sadly, there are many people in the world who never see this much money in two years, let alone one.
So, if you’re looking start a new career, change careers, make extra money on the side, or just want to learn a new skill, here are some promising beginner courses to help you get started in web development for the new year.
Best of all, they’re all free and can be completed from the comfort of your own home.
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With Coursera, you have the option of purchasing a course or auditing it for free. With auditing, you do not get access to graded material, but it provides a stress-free experience since you don’t have to worry about grades.
You also get to work at your own pace.
If you want to learn about the structure and functionality of the World Wide Web, creating web pages and forms, and even dabbling with basic web applications, this course is for you.
Even though this course only scratches the surface of interactive web pages and web applications, there is another course for beginners who want to learn even more (frameworks, managing data, middleware, user interface). If interested, be sure to check out Web Application Development: Basic Concepts.
This is actually a Coursera Specialization (much like a career diploma) which combines five courses and costs you $49/month. Luckily, you can also complete each course individually for free.
When you click on “Enroll Now,” Coursera really tries to sell you on the Specialization but you can rest assure that each course can still be audited for free by clicking on “audit” at the bottom.
This course gives you a brief intro of the Internet and then some history of HTML 1-4. You’ll then move on to HTML tags and attributes. Finally, you’ll create and publish a simple web page with links and images (here’s an example).
What’s an HTML web page without some CSS styling? No one likes a boring, colorless website. This next course focuses on syntax, accessibility design, advanced styling, pseudo-classes, pseudo-elements, transitions, and positioning.
With so many different ways to view websites, learning responsive design is a must. You don’t want your website to look good on a desktop computer and laptop but horrible on a smartphone or tablet. Likewise, you don’t want to make a website that’s only functional on mobile devices.
As explained on the site, “this course expands upon the basic knowledge of CSS3 to include topics such as wireframes, fluid design, media queries, and the use of existing styling paradigms such as Bootstrap.”
If you want to go even more in-depth into responsive design, you should also check out Coursera’s Responsive Website Development and Design Specialization.
This final project is only open to students who have completed the above four courses in the paid Specialization; as an auditor, you won’t have access to it.
Alison is committed to free learning, so all of their courses are free. However, they do give you the option to purchase a Diploma certificate for each course. Alison has a large variety ranging from Business and Enterprise Skills to Personal Development and Soft Skills to Financial and Economic Literacy and much more.
If you’ve always wanted to build a website but doubted that you actually could, this course will give you the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to build your very first site. You’ll learn how websites work and will get very familiar with a web editor called KompoZer.
After creating a hosting account and choosing a domain name for your new site, you’ll also learn to create links, add images, and publish it to the World Wide Web.
This course is perfect for those who want to create a business site. It builds on the “How to Create Your First Website” course and adds a lot more to the mix such as styling with CSS, using Adobe Dreamweaver to create websites, setting up your website with Google Webmaster, email marketing, affiliate marketing, and Facebook marketing.
If you are looking to focus exclusively on HTML and CSS, this is a great course to complete after the “How to Create Your First Website” course. It goes over the basics of creating and styling websites and introduces you to Adobe Dreamweaver.
It’s perfect for those who aren’t very tech-savvy since it’s delivered in a non-technical and step-by-step manner. Similarly, there’s also a Web Page Design Using HTML5 and CSS3 course that just focuses on the powerful duo.
If you are eager to learn and love a challenge, this is for you.
edX is my personal favorite place for free courses from top institutions. They offer a large variety of self-paced courses with an easy-to-use, user-friendly interface. Similar to Coursera and Alison, edX courses are free but often have an option to add a Verified Certificate for a small fee (price varies per course).
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If you are a fan of The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), you’ll be happy to know that this course was developed by them in partnership with Intel. It teaches you the basics of HTML5 and CSS in order to create and publish professional looking websites.
You’ll also learn the basic building blocks of web design and style.
Microsoft partnered with W3C to create this course which focuses on the basics of CSS (fundamental elements, properties, selectors) to help give some style and an organized layout to your websites.
Although it’s recommended that you, at least, be a little familiar with HTML before taking this course, it’s not mandatory; they do provide you with the HTML codes when needed.
Here are a few other options that you may prefer or want to try out in addition to some of the courses above.
Udacity is pretty similar to Coursera and even has their own Specializations called “Nanodegrees.” You may even be interested in their Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree program if you want to learn how to build complex web applications. However, if you just want an introduction to HTML and CSS, this course for you.
Dubbed as “not your typical intro,” it follows a different approach. Instead of a focus on language syntax, it teaches you how to think like a front-end developer. You’ll learn to convert digital design mockups into static web pages as well as how to break down a design mockup into page elements. It also touches on responsive design.
Bento is another well-organized resource that has a similar setup to The Odin Project. Their goal is to teach you how to become a self-taught expert programmer. By going through their “Bento Core” program, a full stack web development curriculum developed by top engineers, you’ll learn the basics and even some advanced topics. There are five sections to complete: Web Fundamentals, Front End, Front End Continued, Back End, and Databases.
Coding Dojo prides themselves on supplying the “most rigorous, comprehensive full-stack software development training programs to meet the career goals of both aspiring developers and industry veterans.”
While they do offer extensive courses at offline campuses for a fee, you can also benefit from their free Algorithm Platform. This collection of online lessons and challenges allows you to learn and practice coding fundamentals from home.If you still haven’t decided if this is the best career path for you, this immersive course will help you make a final decision.
Now that you have some of the best free web development courses for beginners at your fingertips, it’s best to get started right away. If you’re like me, continuously putting a task or goal off usually leads to forgetting about it altogether and ultimately, failing to complete it.
Good luck on your journey to a better you!