Programmers are in high demand and this trend will remain unchanged in the foreseeable future as well. If you want both job security and the flexibility to work remotely, then programming jobs could be a stellar option. The best part getting ready for a career in programming is that you can learn several in-demand programming languages within the comfort of your own home -- and free of cost.
Online courses offer free classes (the University of Phoenix is not free but its online curriculum is amazing) for beginner level Java, Python, Perl, C++, etc. Besides these free online courses, you will find several websites that teach coding online.
To learn these courses online and become a programmer, all you need is a computer with Internet access, time to spare and a passion to learn. If you have these things, then a programming career could be well within your reach in a short time.
And where can you find these free online classes? A good place to start is Edx.org, which offers online courses (with certificates) in various programming languages.
Top programming languages to learn for free
If you are wondering where to begin, check out these top four programming languages, which are in demand and can be easily learned online without having to pay for them.
Java is the most popular programming language, according to the results of a survey of skills in demand on Indeed.com. The TIOBE Index also ranks Java at the top of its list of popular coding languages. The pay for expert Java programmers can go well beyond the $100,000 mark.
Installed in an estimated 7 billion computers worldwide, Java is commonly used to develop applications for the Android platform. Acquiring Java programming skills can open up a whole world of programming career opportunities for you.
And yes, you can learn it free of cost, online. Begin your journey with a course on Java fundamentals. After that, you can either work on sample assignments or take up an advanced course, which is also free. Oracle supports those who wish to master Java through:
- In-depth documentation
- Learning tracks
You can also join free online groups through which you can:
- Learn new advanced skills
- Interact with other coders
- Find employment
Over 9 million professionals work on Java globally and finding or meeting a few in any part of the world will be easy. For instance, there are Java Developers groups on LinkedIn, (such as this one), that frequently help beginners sharpen their skills.
SQL is designed to work with databases. Almost every software application involves storage, manipulation, and retrieval of data. Therefore, SQL is among the most sought-after skills in the programming domain. Indeed.com lists more than 20,000 SQL jobs, where the average pay exceeds $100,000 a year.
Microsoft’s Transact-SQL has a terrific beginner’s level self-paced online course in SQL. You will learn to do basic SQL operations and functions including posing queries. Within a short period, you could find yourself working around databases. Several other free tutorials are also available online. To test your knowledge, use popular open-source database management system, MYSQL. You can also sign up with Transact-SQL Querying community.
C, C++, and C#
C has been around for nearly half a century. C is counted among the most popular programming languages of all time. The TIOBE Index of programming language popularity ranks C second, after Java. C++ and C# follow close on its heels at ranks three and four.
C++, also a Bell Labs product, is an extension of C and is frequently used to build applications that can run on multiple hardware platforms. C# (C sharp), a Microsoft product, is an advanced object-oriented programming language.
LearnCOnline is a solid place to begin learning C. Cplusplus.com offers excellent C++ tutorials and sample codes. Microsoft runs several free beginners level courses on edX.org for C ++ and C#. You can also obtain Microsoft’s complete C# documentation and tutorials in their online developer community network.
Python was created in 1991 but it has gained prominence in the past few years. The many reasons for this sudden surge in use of Python language include:
- Latest architectural methods (for example, micro-services, containers, etc.).
- Developments in artificial intelligence.
- Python 3 being highly advanced such that it can be used at every stage of the development cycle, not just in research.
The number of visitors posing questions related to Python in Stack Overflow is an ideal indicator to measure the language’s growing prominence. David Robinson, a data scientist with Stack Overflow (not the NBA Hall of Famer), reports that Python is the fasted growing programming language today.
If you are thinking long-term, then you may consider learning Python. Sites such as YouTube and Instagram are built using it. Many universities are also using it as their starter language. Right now, the time is ideal to learn Python and enhance your employability.
You could start with the beginner’s guide on Python.org and then move on to other free online courses.
Free online reading materials
E-books have traditionally been the preferred means to learn programming languages. Many of these e-books are available for free. MIT’s free online textbook, “Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs,” teaches programming fundamentals without focusing on a language. Assignments and instructions are bundled with the textbook, making it easier for students to learn and understand difficult concepts in computer science.
Smart online tutorials
For those who can spare only a few minutes a day, taking up an interactive tutorial online is the best choice.
Keep an open mind about acquiring skills
We have only talked about the top four programming skills. But you don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to these. You could stand out in a crowd by adding more languages to your skill set and resume.
Acquiring programming skills was never easier than it is today. Make the best use of the opportunity and aim for a career that offers you flexibility with respect to work profile, daily work hours, and location while paying you handsomely for your skills.
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