Free Ways to Code Exclusively During COVID-19
The internet has decided just how we are going to spend our time during this long, unprecedented time that is impacting our lives for months to come.
As a result of unemployment and the ‘new normal’ of remote work, online education services are offering a bountiful number of free courses because of COVID-19.
By a bountiful number, I mean free courses in the thousands. I am not sure what has led to this trend of offering free online resources, but I can only imagine it is to tremendous benefit.
The Forbes article Is COVID-19 Our Tech Tipping Point? declares:
During the 2018-2019 academic year only 35% of postsecondary students in the U.S. took at least one course online.[…] Nearly overnight, of course, the number taking online courses is rocketing toward 100%.
My bet: these online course providers know what they are doing. They are driving the adoption of online courses while also accelerating the demise of on-site postsecondary institutions that thrive on location rather than reputation.
As someone who lands in the 35%, not just in 2018 but every year for over the last decade, I am an advocate for online classes and continuous learning. It is this drive for continuous learning that pushed me to start Books on Code and share the learning journey with you.
So here we are — with many amazing online courses for the taking. Let’s share the bounty while it is here.
If you are interested in free resources that are more permanent (but still bountiful), I have compiled a list of 72 free coding resources.
Codecademy is offering free access to Codecademy Pro to anyone who has lost their jobs during COVID-19.
According to Codecademy’s site:
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people now find themselves out of work. So to help them continue to develop their careers and skills in these uncertain times, we're giving 100,000 displaced workers access to Codecademy Pro thanks to the support of new Pro members.
While Codecademy has a free option, the pro option has valuable premium services that will help you reach the level you need, beyond beginner, to get the job.
These premiums services include community support, real-world projects, structured skill paths to find your way, and hours of exclusive content.
In order to get free access to Codeaademy Pro, you need to send in an application explaining your employment situation and why Pro will benefit you.
If you are not unemployed, Codecademy still offers a free option.
Udemy’s Free Resource Center (150+ free courses)
As of this writing, Udemy launched the Free Resource Center just this week. These courses are freshly-minted FREE, which makes them even more exciting. For a limited time, you can drop these courses into your cart, check them out, and them have them forever. I have shopping-spree fever just thinking about it.
Since living in quarantine, I have been thirsting for novelty. Everything that happens outside my window I am strangely and keenly interested in. Getting the mail and taking out the garbage has become an event. I’m going insane.
But with Udemy’s Free Resource Center, I have a taste of novelty from the comfort of my home. Looking at things and shopping, with no buyer’s remorse, is exhilarating.
Coursera’s Free Courses (1,500+ free courses)
Coursera made a statement about free online learning in its March 25th, 2020 blog post, Coursera Together: Free online learning during COVID-19:
Starting today, we’re making a selection of courses completely free for anyone, anywhere so it’s easier to keep learning. While many courses on Coursera are already available for free without a certificate, this promotion enables you to not only access lectures and quizzes, but also to earn a free certificate for courses that offer them. We’re planning to make this offer available through May 31, 2020.
Like Udemy, these courses are not free forever. You get a discount credit and need to checkout. Any classes you’re interested in now, snatch them up!
I love Coursera for its quizzes and homework. All Coursera classes I completed felt like an accomplishment, and I took pride in my certificates. Video-based courses offered by sites like Pluralsight, Udemy, and Frontend Masters simply don’t have that same feeling of accountability and accomplishment.
Coursera’s model has traditionally been this: you can audit the class for free, but you have to pay to take the quizzes, do the homework, and get the certificate. Free courses essentially mean the opportunity to earn the certificate for free. Sounds to me like more badges to add to my Girl Scout sash.
Coursera’s free programming courses can be found here using a search query. For the promotion, Coursera grouped its free courses into several landing pages such as Free courses to build cloud tech skills, Free courses for career development, and a personal favorite, Free courses for well-being. However, there is not specifically a landing page for programming or computer science. To find these free courses, you need to browse and find the free courses with the yellow “FREE” label.
Sample of Coursera’s Free Programming Courses:
This article is specifically about free programming courses, but I do not want to leave this article without mentioning other great resources that are free during COVID-19
O’Reilly Learning’s Unlimited Library of Books and Video Courses for 10 Days
O’Reilly Media is one of the largest and most established publisher of technical books with an astounding network of experts. If you look at your current library of technical books, I bet most of them O’Reilly already has digitized and available for unlimited learning. If you sign up for a free 10-day trial (which doesn’t ask for payment information), you can get access to a firehose of information.
Headspace’s Free Meditation Tracks
I already love Headspace, but I had mad respect for the company when it out-of-the gate offered free meditations. The free tracks are curated for dealing with the 2020 pandemic: meditation tracks for stress relief, walking at home, and relieving panic. If you can’t afford a Headspace subscription, the stress-relief track works well as an everyday meditation track. Believe me. It’s tried and true.
Free LinkedIn Learning
According to the blog post titled Free LinkedIn Learning Courses to Help You Navigate the Impact of COVID-19:
People are coping with a range of uncertainties and realities that require learning new skills. In some cases, that means learning new ways to cope with stress or remotely manage a team. In others, it means learning entirely new skills in the face of a tough job market.
To help navigate these challenging times, LinkedIn Learning is also offering free learning paths to help.
If you find yourself in a position where you are suddenly working from home, managing stress, or looking for a new job, the free resources from LinkedIn Learning may be valuable. LinkedIn Learning may be particularly valuable for helping you navigate the challenges of today's job market, with advice on recovering from a layoff and deploying strategies to protect you in a recession. There’s also a great course on keeping motivation and momentum during a job search, since the emotional investment can be the most draining aspect of a job search.
Thank you for reading this article. If you liked it, share it with fellow programmers. Let’s spread the free learning and the tools for coping during this time.
If you want to keep motivated in your journey to learn and grow as a programmer, join my email newsletter below for motivational updates and free content. I also offer a free email course, Get the Most From Technical Books (For Programmers), which is designed to help you transform your career with more speed and more joy.
Let’s keep surviving the life-at-home lifestyle together. To get more free resources on coding, this ultimate guide includes 72 free learning resources. I will see you there. 👋😊