How To Get A Free Introduction To Computer Science and Programming

One of the best things about learning computer science is that there are so many great resources designed to help you get started.

While I can’t stress enough the importance of diving in head first and learning to code by coding, at some point you’re going to need to have a more academic understanding of core computer science principles in order to be successful as a programmer.

In this post I’ll show you how to get a free introduction to Computer Science.

MIT Open CourseWare Computer Science Courses

mit intro to computer science courseMIT is a hands-down leader in online education. Their Open CourseWare project covers dozens of different subjects, with computer science having one of the most robust offerings.

The online resources include full courses taught at MIT, complete with video lectures, readings, and assignments. They also have a paid option that allows you to earn a certification for work done via the online platform.

Their courses are constantly updated and archived, so you’ll be able to find up to date information that is the exact same material MIT computer science students learn.

Their introductory courses are taught via Python.

Coursera Programming Courses

coursera intro to programmingAnother great resource to consider is Coursera. This is a free, not-for-profit website founded by Stanford computer science and math professors, but has grown to include courses on dozens of subjects from universities across the world.

Like MIT, there is also a paid option to earn a certificate of accomplishment, and more recently Coursera has added the additional feature of including “paths” for your learning, which is akin to outlining the required courses necessary to have an undergraduate major in the subject.

The biggest downside of Coursera, however, is that courses are not archived on the system. This restricts your options only to courses that are currently being offered. The benefit of this is a classroom-like structure that allows you to engage with the other students.

When To Use These Options

As I mentioned above, the best way to learn to code is simply to start coding. That means that these courses are not always the best route to get your coding skills up and running quickly.

However, if you’re serious about becoming a programmer, you’re going to eventually need to round out your education.

For that reason, I recommend using these resources as an introduction to the fundamental concepts of computer science, not to the act of coding itself.

If your goal is simply to start coding as quickly as possible, I suggest you read this post for more information on how to start.