7 Best Programming and Coding Courses: A Beginner’s Guide

7 Best Programming and Coding Courses for 2023_ Beginner’s Guide _ MediaOne Singapore

Alright, let’s have some real talk here. I’ve got a graveyard of half-completed Udemy courses — I might as well call it my wall of shame. And that’s just Udemy. If I start counting the programming courses I abandoned on YouTube, we’d be here all day. 

I bet you didn’t know, but the average finish line for online courses is a laughable 15%. Why’s that? Well, when you’re starting, you want quick-fire results. You want to become the next Bill Gates overnight. You don’t need to know everything under the sun, and frankly, a lot of these marathon courses are just fluff designed to make you feel like you’re getting bang for your buck. 

But what about the precious time you’re sinking into them, huh? You start a course, you’re all motivated and excited to learn something new. You take the first few lectures, and it starts to get dull. And then you abandon ship only to return a few weeks later with no clue where you left off. Sounds familiar?

So, what’s the solution? 

Well, your approach is all wrong, to begin with. And then the course itself. No matter how legit or thorough it is, if it’s not designed to get you from A to B, it’s a waste of your time.

Alright, buckle up. Here is the list of my top 5 online courses that are the real deal. These courses will elevate your programming game, provided you’re ready to sacrifice a few hours a week to learn something. 

And just a heads-up, some of these courses come with fancy certificates from big-league universities like Harvard and Princeton. So, as you level up your coding skills, you’ll also be jazzing up your resume with some high-profile endorsements. 

So why the wait? Let’s dive straight in:

#1. CS50: Introduction to Computer Science

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BAM! At number one, we have CS50x from none other than Harvard University, the big H! This baby isn’t just about memorizing codes and algorithms. It’s your golden ticket to the secret society of programming, ready to welcome nerds and newbies alike, even if you’ve never written a line of code before. 

Taught by the legendary David J. Malan, this is your chance to learn how to think like a coder and solve problems quicker than you can say ‘algorithm’. We’re talking about diving deep into the sexy world of abstraction, data structures, software engineering, and web development, getting your hands dirty with languages like C, Python, SQL, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. 

The best part? You’ll be solving problems straight out of real-world scenarios in areas like biology, finance, and gaming. And guess what? The offline version of this course, CS50, is the biggest crowd-puller at Harvard. 


You’ll be awarded an ultra-glam certificate if you ace nine problem sets (read: programming tasks) and a grand finale project. 

Don’t forget this is a self-paced course. You can take your sweet time. In fact, if it makes you feel any better, the average student takes 8-10 months to complete it. 


You can take the course for the grand old price of nothing, zero, zilch, nada. But hold your horses. If you want the shiny Verified Certificate, it will cost you $199. 

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And that’s not just a piece of paper; it’s your all-access pass to the full course material, activities, tests, and those oh-so-helpful forums. And here’s the kicker: You must tackle the nine brain-busting assignments and clinch a passing grade to get the certificate.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to get your brain ticking in algorithms and crack coding problems with the efficiency of a ninja. 
  • The exciting world of abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development
  • Get cozy with languages such as C, Python, SQL, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML
  • Be part of a buzzing community of enthusiastic learners at different stages of their coding journey, just like you. 
  •  The opportunity to showcase a final programming project, your very own masterpiece, to your peers

Follow this link to enrol: 


#2. 100 Days of Code” by Dr. Angela Yu

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Udemy might not have the bragging rights of Harvard, but it sure has a course that can give its Ivy League counterpart a run for its money.

As someone stepping into the world of programming, the hurdle isn’t the intricacies of coding but maintaining a steady rhythm in your learning journey.

How often have we kickstarted a new learning venture with a bang, only to be distracted by life’s twists and turns and eventually end up on a coding hiatus? Been there, done that! That’s where the magic of “100 Days of Code” by Dr. Angela Yu comes into play. This course isn’t just about learning to code; it’s about building a coding habit, one hour at a time, day after day. 

And yes, it’s a paid and extensive course, but don’t let that deter you. It’s the lone paid course on our top 5 list – and for good reasons, too. The course is structured around daily coding challenges and hands-on projects to ensure you stay hooked and consistent.

Primarily focused on Python, it also opens doors to web development and data science, giving you a taste of the diverse realms of programming. 

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Coming to the million-dollar question — or rather the 19-dollar question: what’s the cost? 

With Dr. Yu’s course, you can get lifetime access to all the content for just under 20 dollars. Yes, you heard that right — 19 dollars and 99 cents.

Course Link: https://www.udemy.com/course/100-days-of-code/

What You’ll Learn

  • Brace yourself to dominate Python by constructing 100 unique projects in 100 days. 
  • Dip your fingers into diverse domains like automation, app and web creation, game development, data science, and machine learning, all under the umbrella of Python.
  • Do you aspire to be a professional Python programmer? This course is your ticket! It whisks you through powerful tools like Selenium, Beautiful Soup, Flask, Request, Matplotlib, Pandas, Scikit, NumPy, Learn, and Plotly.
  • Boost your developer role applications with a prolific portfolio of 100 Python projects. 
  • But that’s not all! You’ll be capable of crafting entire websites and web apps using Python, harnessing Python for data science and machine learning, creating games such as Blackjack, Snake, and Pong with Python, and even designing Desktop applications and GUIs with Python. 


You’ll be awarded with a certificate of completion on completing the course. 

#3. Algorithms — Princeton University

After mastering programming, it’s only natural that most of you would want to turn that skill into a career and start earning some moolah. 

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One surefire way to start stacking up those Benjamins? Land a gig as a programmer at a tech company. But hold up  — you’ll have to ace the coding interviews before you can snag that dream job. 

Here’s the kicker: the skills these interviews test aren’t the same as what you’ve learned so far. Most questions revolve around this famous course, “Data Structures and Algorithms,” or DSA, a staple in most university computer science programs. Maybe you’re in the same boat as me and don’t have a computer science degree, or perhaps you just didn’t get the hang of DSA in college. Fear not, my friends! The Algorithms course by Princeton University is here to help.

 In this comprehensive online course, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of algorithms and data structures and how to apply them in the real world. From sorting algorithms, linked lists, stacks & queues to binary search trees and hash tables, this course covers it all — theoretically and practically.

How to Enroll:

Here’s the link: https://www.coursera.org/learn/algorithms-part1

You can enrol for this course at Coursera. 

Course Fees

The course is free.

What You’ll Learn:

This course is your one-stop-shop for all the essential knowledge a committed programmer needs on algorithms and data structures, underlining their applications and performing a deep dive into the scientific performance analysis of Java implementations. 

Part I unveils the mystery behind elementary data structures, sorting, and searching algorithms. Shift gears in Part II, where we explore the exciting world of graph-and-string-processing algorithms. The cherry on top? All these features are available for free. Although it doesn’t offer a certificate upon completion, the knowledge you’ll gain is priceless.

#4. Meta’s Professional Certificate for Front-End Development

Are you keen on dipping your toes into the exciting pool of web development? Let me introduce you to the “Meta’s Front-End Developer Professional Certificate” on Coursera. This course is a godsend for those seeking a structured learning path. And guess what? You can even audit the courses without parting with your hard-earned cash. 

Kickstart your journey as a front-end developer with this course. Acquire skills that are in high demand in today’s job market and secure a credential from Meta. The best part? No diploma or previous experience is needed to dive in.

What You’ll Learn

  • Prepare to master the art of crafting responsive websites using the trinity of web development: 

HTML for structuring content, CSS for aesthetics, and JavaScript for interactive elements. 

  • Delve deeper into the realm of JavaScript libraries and frameworks with React and witness how it revolutionizes user interface development. 
  • Get to grips with the Bootstrap CSS Framework, the magic wand that transforms your web pages into responsive masterpieces. 
  • Don’t forget to explore the world of GitHub repositories and version control, essential tools in every developer’s arsenal. 

And that’s not all! Hone your problem-solving skills and ace your coding interviews with the preparation this course provides. Lastly, showcase your newly acquired expertise by creating portfolio-worthy projects that could be your ticket to your dream job.

Course Fee

Shelling out $273 might sound like a stretch for an online course, but let’s break it down. 

This course is brought to you by Coursera and is accessible via a Coursera Plus subscription. At $39 per month, you might be thinking you’ve been tricked into a math class instead of a coding course. But trust us, this is as good a deal as those Black Friday sales. 

On average, learners strut out with their shiny new Meta Front-End Certificate after a 7-month stint. So, get ready to sign up and start flexing your coding muscles.

Why Choose This Course:

This course comes highly recommended for its comprehensive curriculum delivered by seasoned professionals from the industry. It offers everything a budding front-end developer needs to kickstart their career, featuring in-depth modules on React, UI/UX design, and preparing for coding interviews

The Dev’s Leap:

There’s often a noticeable gap between junior and senior developers, with the latter expected to maintain the robustness of the code, manage user requests, and have a deep understanding of system design. While it sounds like a lot to handle, don’t fret! The course includes an introductory video on scalability to help you conquer these challenges like a pro.

How to Enrol:

To start your coding journey, head to Coursera, click ‘Sign Up’ and follow the instructions. Once you’re done, hop on to the Meta course and prepare to show off your programming skills.

Here’s the Course Link: https://www.coursera.org/professional-certificates/meta-front-end-developer

#5. Python for Everybody Specialization: The University of Michigan

The Python for Everybody Specialization, emanating from the prestigious halls of the University of Michigan, offers an unparalleled curriculum tailored for absolute programming novices. 

It comprehensively covers fundamental programming tasks, such as data retrieval, parsing, and storage from diverse sources. The professor spearheading this course exudes an infectious energy and engagement level, making learning as entertaining as stand-up comedy. 

What’s more? This course also presents optional resources like interviews with industry stalwarts, adding an extra layer of interest to your learning journey. Plus, thanks to its roaring popularity, there’s an active community forum buzzing with staff and students, ready to tackle any programming conundrums you might stumble upon. Quite the party, right?

Course Syllabus:

Course 1: Everybody Can Code (Python Introduction):

  • Setting up Python on Windows and Mac
  • Crafting your first Python program
  • Dipping toes into variables and expressions
  • Conditional statements – Decision-making Python style
  • Constructing your own Python functions
  • The Python way of looping and iteration

Course 2: Python’s Playhouse (Data Structures)

  • Mastering the art of working with Strings
  • Dealing with Files – Python style
  • Lists, Dictionaries, Tuples – The Python triad
  • Getting friendly with the JSON format

Course 3: Python’s Web Expedition (Accessing Web Data)

    • Harnessing the power of Regular Expressions (Regex) to mine data
    • An overview of networks and sockets (HTTP and APIs)
    • Web page data extraction and parsing – The Python way
    • XML data parsing – Unraveling the mysteries
  • Parsing JSON data fresh from REST APIs – Python makes it easy

Course 4: Python’s Database Adventures (Databases Interaction)

  • An introduction to Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) – Python style
  • A beginner’s guide to relational databases and SQL
  • Designing effective data models for databases
  • Exploring the relationships between database tables
  • Geocoding and visualizations — Python adds colour to data

Course 5: The Python Grand Finale (Data Retrieval, Processing, and Visualization)

  • Building a Python-powered search engine
  • Spidering, modelling, and visualizing email data
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Course Duration:

2 months at 10 hours a week

If you’re kicking back and taking it easy, you’ll likely wrap up this course series in about eight months. 

Got some extra hours to spare beyond the suggested three per week? You’ll zip through the content quickly. But don’t be fooled — mastering the art of programming is no sprint. It’s a marathon — it will take a fair chunk of time no matter what.

Course Fee

Course Subscription and Rating:

This Python programming course comes with a delightful rating of 4.8, a testament to its quality and effectiveness. The course is free to begin with, but a monthly subscription of $49.99 is required. Fear not, future Python whisperers, as the skills you gain will be worth every penny.

How to Enrol:

Follow this link to enrol: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/python?

#6. C# Programming for Unity Game Development Specialization —  University of Colorado, Coursera

Unleashing your inner game developer can be a thrilling and enjoyable avenue to mastering programming, whether or not you aspire to join a game studio or independently launch a game. 

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Due to its attractive freemium model and stellar cross-platform compatibility, Unity has emerged as a favourite among game engines. Unity leverages C# for programming, a versatile language also employed in web development, mobile and desktop apps, and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

This Coursera offering stands out from the plethora of C# Unity courses available online as it delves deep into C# programming and Unity, unlike others that only prioritize Unity. Nonetheless, the heavy focus on Unity might make it less suitable for those not keen on dipping their toes into game creation.

Course Outline

The learning path is broken down into four major courses, ensuring you’ll go from novice to ninja in no time.

Introduction to C# Programming and Unity

  • Taking baby steps with your first C# console application
  • Escalating the game with your first C# Unity script
  • Getting friendly with C# data types, variables, and constants
  • Meeting and greeting classes and objects
  • Diving into the pool of Unity 2D basics

More C# Programming and Unity

  • Mastering control and switch statements in C#
  • Taming the beast of time with timers
  • Causing a stir with spawning objects in Unity
  • Getting experimental with Unity systems
  • Becoming a mind reader with handling mouse and keyboard input
  • Running circles with loops and iteration
  • Stacking up knowledge with arrays and lists

Advanced C# Class Development

  • Raising the curtain on abstraction
  • Adding to your toolkit with class methods
  • Stringing along with string operations
  • Tuning in to managing audio in Unity

Intermediate Object-Oriented Programming for Unity Games

  • Handling exceptions like a pro
  • Getting down to business with file data
  • Unraveling the magic of polymorphism and inheritance
  • Being on high alert with event handling
  • Adding a dash of style by creating menus
  • Levelling up a basic game from last week. 

This syllabus will have you coding C# in your sleep and dreaming in Unity before you know it.

Course Duration and Fee

With a solid rating of 4.6, this beginner-friendly course is free, but only on Coursera’s 39.9/month plan. The course will take you three months at a 10-hour/week pace, and you’ll end with a shareable certificate at the end of your endeavour.

How to Enroll?

Here’s the link to enrol in the course:  https://www.coursera.org/specializations/programming-unity-game-development

#7. The Complete JavaScript Course 2023: From Zero to Expert


Apart from Python, Javascript is another optimal choice as a beginner’s language due to its user-friendly nature, lenient syntax, and wide range of applications. Javascript is a good starting point if you envision yourself as a web or mobile app developer. After all, it is primarily interpreted by web browsers such as Chrome.

 This Udemy course provides a thorough initiation into Javascript for newcomers. It marks its distinction by focusing on the language and immersing learners in creating numerous real-world web applications. Additionally, the course equips you with the essential tools and skills to become a top-notch Javascript developer.

Here’s the reimagined syllabus for the Javascript course, designed into a nifty list for easy digestion:

  • Immersion into Javascript basics: Variables and values
  • The diverse universe of data types
  • Taming the beast: operators in Javascript
  • Unraveling the mystery of strings
  • The art of type conversion and coercion
  • Introducing the trio: logical operators
  • Conquering conditional and switch statements
  • Demystifying functions
  • Diving deep into array operations
  • The realm of objects: a journey into Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)
  • The circuit of iteration and loops
  • HTML and CSS: a crash course for the brave
  • Manipulating web page information with Javascript: the practical guide
  • Building bridges: example projects
  • Behind the curtains: Understanding how Javascript works
  • Exploring data structures: from Arrays and Sets to Maps
  • Advanced functions: For the Javascript ninja in you
  • The secret life of numbers, dates, and timers
  • Building an example app: The ultimate test
  • Asynchronous Javascript: the beauty of Async/Await and AJAX
  • The future is here: modern Javascript development and tooling.

This syllabus will help you speak fluent Javascript and empower you to build dynamic and interactive web applications. Buckle up for the exciting ride. 

Upon completing this course, you’ll be conversant enough with Javascript programming to graduate to framework courses like React, Vue, or Node. Dipping your toes into these frameworks will allow you to apply your newly acquired Javascript skills, propelling you to undertake more intricate client-side and server-side projects. The world of programming is your oyster—go forth and code.

What’s Included in the Course

This course comes jam-packed with goodies that will turbocharge your journey into the programming world. You’ll have 68.5 hours of on-demand video at your disposal — because who needs sleep anyway? 

And for those who like to get their hands dirty, they have eight coding exercises to make your brain sweat. But wait, there’s more! You’ll also get 22 articles to fill your mind, 18 downloadable resources for those late-night coding sessions, and mobile and TV access for learning on the go. And the cherry on top? 

Full lifetime access and a certificate of completion to hang on your wall and make your mom proud — talk of value.

Course Cost

This Javascript course is available at a discounted rate of just $84.99 on Udemy. That’s a steal compared to the hundreds of dollars other courses charge for the same content.

How to Enroll:

Here’s the course link: https://www.udemy.com/course/the-complete-javascript-course/

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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