6 Best Online Computer Science Courses For Beginners


updated Jun 6, 2022


In a previous article, we looked at the essential benefits from learning Computer Science basics and how it can help you learn coding faster.

Thus, if you want to learn how to code to start a career in tech and make money coding, learning Computer Science fundamentals will help you achieve your goals quicker.

But with all the resources available, how do you find the best online Computer Science courses for beginners?

When you start learning programming, you already have a lot on your plate. You can’t waste your time or money on poor resources.

Thus, to help you save time and find the right resources fast, I’m sharing with you the best online Computer Science courses to start learning CS basics from scratch in this article.

If you want to understand how computers work under the hood and how you can write code that’s efficient and clean, you’re in the right place. The courses below will help you get a better overview of how computer programming and hardware work seamlessly together, and become a better developer in the long run.

Let’s jump right in!

Here are a few related articles you may find helpful, too:

Please note: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I may receive a small commission if you purchase through one of my links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Why learn Computer Science before learning to code?

The truth is: Computer Science isn’t sexy.

If you want to learn how to code as quickly as possible, understanding what happens inside your computer might sound too technical and even boring. You just want to get started with your first online coding course and create something awesome asap!

And hey, that’s perfectly normal. I felt the same way when I first started to teach myself to code.

But here’s the deal:

Understanding Computer Science fundamentals will help you become a better developer in the future.

Think of it like this:

  • Coding is all about making computer do what you want.
  • Computer Science basics help you know what your computer is capable of.
  • When you know how computers work, you can write better code and more efficient programs.

And you don’t have to dive too deep into the world of computer science. You simply want to understand the basics so you have a good idea of what’s happening inside a computer when your programs are running.

If you’re still on the fence, let me walk you through a few good reasons to take time to learn Computer Science fundamentals when you are new to tech.

Reason #1: You will become better at solving problems

At its core, Computer Science is all about understanding what computers can do for us. No computer on this planet is all-mighty – the hardware inside always has its limitations.

Therefore, your programs should take those limitations into consideration.

You want to write efficient code that executes fast, so you need to design your programs to be easy on the scarce resources of a computer. This will help you become better at solving problems.

Related: CS 101: What Is a Computer?

Reason #2: You will learn how to code faster

When you start learning how to code, you’ll come across more than enough technical terminology. Every new coding lesson will be packed with cryptic jargon you’ve never heard before.

That’s when the road can get a bit rocky. You start feeling confused and even overwhelmed, trying to figure out what that terminology means.

Here’s the good news: Learning Computer Science fundamentals will familiarize you with most of that terminology. And when you learn it separate from coding itself, you’ll see better progress. Even though it takes some time to learn CS basics before coding, your efforts will pay off, trust me.

Recommended: 10 Practical Tips For Learning Coding Faster

Reason #3: You will write better code

And with “better” I mean more efficient. After all, we all like our computers to run smoothly without any unnecessary waiting around.

But although your smartphone has way more processing power than a computer just a few years ago, your programs still need to be efficient.

Again, understanding Computer Science fundamentals will help you on this. You’ll learn how to make the most of the limited resources of any computer out there. You can optimize your code and make sure it doesn’t use any more resources than necessary.

The best online computer science courses for beginners in 2020

Can you teach yourself Computer Science online?

Heck yes!

Computer Science online courses are obviously much more affordable than the tuition fees for a 4-year degree. But they’re also more hands-on, meaning you’ll apply what you’ve learned to real-life projects from the get-go.

Even though you can’t go into as much detail as with a college degree, you can still learn everything you need to know to become a better programmer.

Of course, I’d be lying if I told you that online courses could replace an entire college degree. They are two entirely different things.

But if you want to learn how to code to become a full-time developer or start freelancing to make money from coding, using online resources is perfectly OK.

The best online Computer Science courses for beginners

All in all, online courses are the best way to learn coding and Computer Science from scratch.

But most beginners feel overwhelmed by the plethora of resources available online. With hundreds to choose from, how can you find the best online Computer Science courses when you’re just starting out?

I know you don’t want to waste your valuable time or money on the wrong resources. Therefore, I’ve put together a small list of beginner-level courses for learning Computer Science fundamentals for you.

I’ve tested and hand-picked them all to help you find the best Computer Science online course to learn more about coding and tech faster. Let’s jump right in!

Recommended articles:

1: Computer Basics (Treehouse)

Learning Computer Science Basics - Computer Basics Treehouse 01

Computer Basics at Team Treehouse is an excellent introduction to Computer Science for beginners.

If you’re in a hurry, this short course is perfect for you. You will learn a bunch of Computer Science basics in just about an hour. You’ll take a look at the underlying concepts of how computers work and what’s happening behind the scenes when you run your computer programs.

You’ll learn the basics of data processing, how memory works, what binary means in CS, and how computer software works.

And when you’re ready with this course, you can start a coding course on Treehouse right away. They produce all of their courses themselves, so the quality of the contents is far more consistent than with many other learning platforms.

If you’re not familiar with Treehouse yet, you can give them a try with this free 7-day trial.

2: CS101 Bootcamp (Udemy)

Learning Computer Science Basics - CS101 Bootcamp Udemy 01

CS101 Bootcamp is another short but powerful beginner-level course on Udemy for learning Computer Science fundamentals.

You don’t need any technical experience with Computer Science to take this course, so it’s perfect for absolute beginners. As long as you’ve used a smartphone or a computer in the past, that will be sufficient for this short 2-hour course. These two hours will pay themselves back sooner than you think, trust me.

During the course, you’ll even write you very own basic programs and apps. At the end, you will understand the fundamentals of databases, mobile apps, and the basics of software programming. Not too shabby for a 2-hour course!

3: Computer Science 101 (Udemy)

Learning Computer Science Basics - Computer Science 101 Udemy

Computer Science 101 on Udemy is a more thorough, comprehensive Computer Science online course for beginners.

When I took this course, I felt stupid not having found it any sooner. That said, it’s my #1 recommendation to teach yourself Computer Science online.

If you want to become a better, more efficient programmer, this course is perfect for you. You’ll learn a lot about Computer Science, both in theory and practice, with no prior experience needed.

When you’re finished with the course, you walk away with a super robust understanding of what Computer Science is all about and how to amp up your coding with your new CS skills.

4: Computer Science E-50 (Harvard College)

Computer Science E-50 of Harvard College is my favourite free CS basics course for beginners.

If you’re on a budget, give this course a try. Being a Harvard College course, the quality is amazing. The professor does a great job at explaining everything in detail using practical examples. Thus, you’ll never feel left behind, even though you’re watching the lectures alone.

You’ll be taken into the lecture halls of Harvard, where you can enjoy full-length lecture videos and solve exercise sets that help you apply what you’re learning.

5: Computer Science E-75 (Harvard College)

Computer Science E-75 by the same professor is among the best online Computer Science courses for beginners.

At the time of writing this, the most recent content is a few years old (from 2012). Nevertheless, you’ll learn Computer Science fundamentals that are still up-to-date.

To start off, take a look at the very first lecture on how HTTP traffic works. It’s packed with super valuable, helpful information for anyone using the Internet.

6: Intro to Computer Science (Udacity)

Learning Computer Science Basics - Intro to Computer Science Udacity

Intro to Computer Science at Udacity is another one of my favourites.

The course focuses on learning Computer Science basics from scratch with a bunch of different resources. You’ll go through video lectures, quizzes, practical exercised, and much more.

And the best part: You’ll learn the basics of Python at the same time! The course includes plenty of practical projects where you can apply your new skills to solve real-life problems with code. Therefore, if you’re thinking about learning Python, this course is the perfect place to start.

What I loved the most about the course were the numerous exercise sets. You get a chance to really test your skills starting from the very first lesson. And don’t worry if some of them fee a bit difficult. In case you get stuck at any point, you can easily get help from your fellow students in the course forum.

Read also: 13 Simple Tips For Finishing Every Coding Course You Start

Final Thoughts: The best online Computer Science courses for beginners

If you want to learn programming to start a career in tech, understanding Computer Science fundamentals will help you achieve your goals faster.

When you know what’s happening inside your computer helps you write better, more efficient code. This will make you a better programmer, possibly opening doors to better, more lucrative opportunities in the future.

Thus, pick one of the best online Computer Ccience courses from the list above and start learning Computer Science basics as soon as you can. Your efforts will pay off, trust me.

If you’re not sure which course to choose from the best online Computer Science courses above, check out Computer Science 101 on Udemy, for example. It’s an all-in-one course for absolute beginners (like me not long ago) to learn everything you should know about CS.

And once you’re done with Computer Science tutorials and courses, check out my post with the best websites to learn coding and web development. I’ll see you there!

Here are a few related articles you might find helpful:

If you found this post on the best Computer Science courses helpful, just drop me a line in the comments below!

P.S. If you likes this article, please share it with others so that they can find it, too! Thanks!

I’ll see you in the next post! Happy coding!
– Mikke

6 Best Online Computer Science Courses For Beginners

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About Mikke

Hi, I’m Mikke! I’m a blogger, freelance web developer, and online business nerd. Join me here on MikkeGoes.com to learn how to code for free, build a professional portfolio website, launch a tech side hustle, and make money coding. When I’m not blogging, you will find me sipping strong coffee and biking around town in Berlin. Learn how I taught myself tech skills and became a web dev entrepreneur here. And come say hi on Twitter!

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24 October 2022 1:40 pm

Thank you so much for this! I am currently in a Bootcamp struggling learning this new information. So happy I found your website.

4 June 2022 11:00 am

Thanks for the resource!

Irie Nature
16 August 2019 5:18 pm

Thank you. I signed up for one of the Udemy CS101 courses.

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