Ready to become a computer whiz with the 30 Best Online Courses for Software Development?
Yes? Yes, of course, you want to be the next best programmer, software engineer, or software developer. You want to be the teenager who quickly rises through the ranks or the near-retiree who suddenly finds their calling. First, though, you have some work to do—a lot of it. But we’ll make it easy, with the 30 best online courses for software development.
- Duke University Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization
- University of Minnesota Software Development Lifecycle Specialization
- University of Pennsylvania Computer Science Essentials for Software Development
Disclaimer: Some courses may include an affiliate link. Courses were chosen first based on the methodology with affiliate links only added after the ranking was complete.
So what does a software developer do? How is it different from any other behind-the-computer job? First, it’s a three-part process: a capable software development team includes at least a programmer, software engineer, and software developer. Confused? We’ll explain it to you.
Software Development: The Breakdown
Programmers, in short, write the code to program computers for specific tasks. They receive instruction from software engineers and developers, using languages like C++, Java, and Python to implement the suggested changes.
Software Engineers build software and systems to overcome issues or accommodate a need. Working pragmatically, they follow the scientific method and work from a broader perspective than the on-the-ground programmers.
Software Developers are the overseers of the software development lifecycle. They manage development teams, test software, and suggest adjustments and improvements. They often implement philosophies and methodologies to enhance the software development process.
A software development team can comprise many more roles and professions. Frequently, the job titles and functions you find are ambiguous. But these three are the principal roles we’ll address in this post.
Let’s Develop Software!
The software development process is complex and complicated, but we know you can do it. As long as you find your niche, stay there, and try hard, you’ll flourish in no time. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
Getting an education or going back for more education can be a costly endeavor, sometimes with hit or miss results. That is why we at Online Course Report take our jobs seriously and provide you with a ranking of the best online courses for Software Development based on weighted factors. With the amount of time and money you will be investing in these courses, we want to be as transparent as possible about the criteria we use to rank our courses. Some of the criteria and questions we asked ourselves when formulating our ranking include:
- Price: Is the course reasonably priced for the amount of content taught?
- Content: Is the content of the highest quality and conveyed in an easy to understand way?
- Proven Track Record: Does the course have a proven track record of producing competent students?
- Learner Satisfaction: Are the students who take this course satisfied with the type of education they received?
- Jobs After Completion: Are students able to land an SQL-related job after completing the course?
What Are the Best Software Development Courses?
Software engineers play a critical role in the software development process. Using a combination of real-world skills and computer wizardry, software engineers lay the foundation for excellent software. This online course will teach you core programming concepts and equip you to write programs to solve complex problems.
This free online course revolves around Java, one of the most in-demand languages in software development. In the five courses, you’ll learn about programming fundamentals, solving problems with software, and principles of software design. This class is a fantastic choice for beginners who want a long, focused online software development course.
The best way to overcome complex challenges is to break them down—they’re usually far more manageable in individual parts. And, as we’ve said, the software development process is complicated. Given the process’s value and required timeliness, most companies adhere to proven techniques and best practices for traditional and agile software project management.
In this free, online three-month class, you’ll learn all about software development processes, methodologies, agile software development, critical tools of the profession, and engineering practices for building high-quality software. By the end of the course, you’ll have the knowledge to understand and explain the trade-offs among the methodologies regarding environmental, organizational, and product constraints. And you’ll be able to prove it to the world.
As you may know by now, there are many popular methodologies and philosophies in the software development world. Some, like the waterfall model, are static—it’s like the factory line. I have my job, you have yours, and there’s little collaboration between us. Others, like the agile model, are far more dynamic.
This free specialization concentrates on the critical principles and practices of agile management. You’ll learn to manage each part of the agile development process, including running design sprints, leading teams, and fostering a culture of experimentation. Agile isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a person who loves to adapt, adjust, and analyze every part of a process, agile will suit you well.
Are you interested in programming, but you want to start slow? You’ve heard about learning C++, and there’s no way you want to swim in the deep end just yet. Still, though, you want to learn a language. How about Scratch, an easy-to-use and easier to learn visual programming language? Scratch is a children’s-focused programming language that has been translated into over 70 languages.
Whether you want to use Scratch in the future is up to you, but that’s not the point of this free online class. Chiefly, this class uses Scratch to orient you to the fundamental principles of computing. Through that, you’ll learn to think like a software engineer.
Isn’t it incredible that some of the world’s finest, most respected institutions create free, high-quality online courses? This three-month, dynamic online software development course will teach you about R. R is a programming language and a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It focuses on visualizing and organizing data.
In this course, you’ll gain crucial skills for handling complex data, building R packages, and developing custom data visualizations. You’ll also learn critical software development practices that you’ll use for your entire career. While this class is challenging, it can suit you as a beginner, too, as long as you’re determined to complete the course.
In some ways, computers allow for more freedom and accessibility today than ever before. In other ways, computers and the internet have become exclusive: you have to pay high rates for software, subscription services, and Wi-Fi in general. Don’t get us started on net neutrality. So we are at peace that open source—free and open to everybody—software exists.
Want to be part of that movement to restore equality to computers and the internet? This free, online software development course will share the skills and knowledge you need to develop open-source software using Linux, git, and more. By the end of this class, you’ll have a better understanding of the Linux environment, and the methods and tools required to use it successfully.
Do you want to climb the ranks from a software programmer to a manager? It’s a difficult task—beyond sitting in front of the computer all day, software managers have to lead teams of developers and interact with clients. But we believe in you.
This course is too much of a good thing. It contains the secrets to software product management, software processes, and client needs. The course revolves around the agile development process, so you’ll learn about the dynamic methodology, too. To complete the course, your capstone will test you on management techniques in realistic scenarios that you will face as a software product manager.
In this four-month free online course, you’ll learn the ins and outs of Java. Additionally, you’ll gain experience with BlueJ and Eclipse, which are Java development environments. You’ll also learn how to program with graphical user interfaces and design programs to manage data. Sound like a lot? It is, but if you’re dedicated to the course, you’ll gain heaps of practical information.
Online classes are excellent. From the comfort of our own homes or a cafe, we can access the resources that can alter our lives and careers. No need to commute, small talk with our smelly peers, or miss our pets and loved ones at home. For all of this, though, online courses lack one critical component of education: mentorship.
Without mentorship, how can we connect hard and soft skills? How do we know where to go when a course finishes? This $12.99 course focuses on the hard and soft skills of software development. Taught by a software development expert, you’ll learn how to become a successful software developer, even if you have no prior experience.
There are so many steps to software development. Frequently, too, there are discrepancies between what a client wants and what the software development team produces. It would make sense, then, to capture the objectives, goals, and wishes of the customer upfront and early-on in the software development life cycle (SDLC).
For $11.99, you’ll have access to this excellent online class that focuses on software requirements gathering skills. You’ll learn how to design software for multiple departments, manage the customer’s expectations from day one, and choose the right path to delivering software on time and on budget. If you want to optimize your SDLC, this is the course for you.
Software developers have access to a burgeoning, highly compensated, and accessible segment of the job market. It’s pretty alluring to be able to learn everything you need to know for six-figure jobs on an online website, right? For some people, though, that’s not enough. They need to understand that the profession is a match, too.
This free online course is the first segment of a broader, in-depth course, which we will review next. This initial course teaches the fundamentals of object-oriented programming in Java, as well as the best practices of modern software development. The class is quick, detailed, and free unless you want an online certification.
#12. Professional Certificate in Computer Science Essentials for Software Development by the University of Pennsylvania
Are you ready to go all-in? You’re sure that software development is the right career for you, and you want an excellent, comprehensive course to teach you everything you need to know? If so, this course is for you. For $536.40, you’ll have access to four extensive courses that will take around four months to complete.
Software engineers are in high demand, and for a good reason. Without them, the software development process wouldn’t exist. Simple, right? If you want to learn about software engineering, this free course will suit you perfectly. Again, this is one component of a larger, more comprehensive course, which we’ll detail next.
In this free class, you’ll learn how teams design, build, and test multi-version software systems. Additionally, you’ll learn the skills to apply an agile software development process to specify, design, and test multiple versions of complex software systems. If you think software engineering is your calling, this is the course for you.
This is an introductory self-paced course from UP Valencia X. It is one of five courses in an information systems series. You will learn about software project management. After completing this online course you will be able to better communicate with computer and telecommunications specialists in your business. You will also be prepared to take the CLEP ISCA exam.
This free online software development course offers a certificate for $75. You will complete the course in 3 weeks spending 3-6 hours per day.
Software engineers are always in demand, but why aren’t there enough of them? Principally, their jobs are difficult and complex. As a software engineer, you must handle increasingly challenging products and shortened cycles simultaneously. But if you can think on your feet and improvise well, software engineering may be right for you.
This two-month long class will teach you the basic concepts of object-oriented software engineering. Additionally, you’ll learn and apply UML modeling, patterns, and project management techniques that are used to develop complex software systems. While the course is free, you can pay $49 to receive a verified certificate.
The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) comprises many phases, phrases, acronyms, and jargon. If you want to navigate and master the SDLC, you first need to understand the tower of words that govern it. Additionally, you must understand the phases that make up the life cycle. Then, you’ll be able to master software development without getting lost in complex words.
This $11.99, two-hour course focuses on the SDLC, the phrases you’ll have to understand, and the goal and breakdown of each phase. Each mini-unit comprises a short lesson and a quiz to verify that you absorbed the course contents. Upon completion of the class, you’ll receive a certificate to show off to your future employers.
Scrum might sound like a pirate’s favorite exclamation, but it’s a bit more technical and modern than that. Scrum is an agile process framework for managing software development processes. If you want to be a Scrum master, project manager, or product owner, this online class is for you. And you don’t need to know anything about Scrum to begin.
For $11.99, this online software development course will convert you into a Scrum master, imparting the knowledge you need to run multiple projects at once. Additionally, you’ll be able to explain Scrum to your team members, managers, and customers. If you’re passionate about managing the design process, this class is for you.
If you’re walking into a non-touristy neighborhood in the heart of Mexico, you’d be hopeless without knowing Spanish. And if you’re walking into a room of software developers, you’d be lost without the knowledge of a programming language. Computer languages dominate the profession, and without an intermediate understanding of a language like Java, you’d be in over your head.
This free, four-hour online software development course will teach you elementary Java skills. You’ll learn crucial Java techniques, and you’ll gain the ability to write basic Java programs. This class won’t make you a Java expert, but it will give you a comprehensive orientation to the program and its abilities. If you want to start slow, try this course.
Methodologies make up a large chunk of online software development classes. Why, you might ask, aren’t these courses exclusively dedicated to programming languages and technical information? Well, as you’ve read, the SDLC is multi-faceted and challenging to follow. And without a tested methodology, the work cycle becomes incomprehensible.
Understanding the vital Agile ideas is critical to finding success in the software development world. This free course will teach you about the origins of Agile, its principles, methods, artifacts, and roles. Different people have varying opinions on Agile, but this course will objectively teach you the methodology fundamentals, allowing you to make the judgment yourself.
#20. The Software Architect Code: Building the Digital World by Universidad San Carlos III de Madrid
Software architects and designers comprise some of the most in-demand, highly esteemed roles in the software development world. They’re the people on the front line, turning ideas into software and providing the products that consumers seek.
The Software Architect Code is an eight-week introductory class focusing on software creation. You’ll learn about the creative process, the complex collaboration required for success, and you’ll gain the skills you need to succeed in the profession. This course also accommodates people who work in peripheral roles, which would be enhanced with software knowledge. This high-quality course is free, but you can add a verified certificate for $50.
As the class title suggests, you don’t need to know anything about C++ to enroll in this class. With that said, this online course may not be very accessible. Many expert programmers consider C++ to be one of the most challenging languages to learn and master. So why do people use it? Chiefly, because it’s versatile and applicable in many contexts, including software development.
If you want to give C++ a try, Introduction to C++ is the class for you. It’s free, taught by industry experts, and designed with a focus on making C++ as simple as possible. The class isn’t long, either. It should take around four weeks to complete, as long as you set aside four hours a week to it.
Software developers use C++ to build, improve, sustain, and support the multitudes of software applications and products. Given the language’s difficulty, many beginner and intermediate programmers steer clear of it. Because fewer people feel prepared to learn the language, its demand increases. On Codecademy, you can learn C++ from top to bottom.
This 20-hour course will give you an intermediate understanding of the programming language. The course comprises eight units: Hello World, Variables, Conditions and Logic, Loops, Vectors, Functions, Classes and Objects, and References and Pointers. There’s no doubt C++ is challenging, but, broken down into bite-sized pieces, this is one of the best online classes to learn the language.
Java is one of the most versatile and compatible programming languages on the planet. By knowing and understanding the programming language, you’ll have access to a wide gamut of opportunities and careers. From software development to mobile apps to large systems development, Java is a critical tool that will enhance and improve your professional life.
In this 25-hour course, you’ll learn about Java, from variables and data types to object-oriented Java to string methods and debugging. Along the way, you’ll be put to the test with seven Java projects that require and test your Java knowledge. Comprehensive yet concise, this Codecademy course is one of the best Java courses out there.
Python is the fastest growing and most popular language in the world. It’s versatile, concise, easy to read, and useful in software development, web development, and data science. Codecademy, which has taught over 45,000,000 computer lovers, is one of the best places on the web to learn about computer science.
In Learn Python 3, you’ll learn about syntax, functions, control flows, lists, dictionaries, files, classes, and more. On the interactive platform, you’ll learn by writing, reading, and testing your knowledge in real-time. The class lasts 25 hours, enough time to make you a Python 3 expert without tiring you too much.
Mistakes happen. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned expert, you’re going to make mistakes, whatever you do. This goes for dating, sports, personal relationships, and software development. The farther along mistakes remain ignored, though, the more affected your software may be.
Our relationship with computers is complicated, and, depending who you are, it’s anywhere from endearing and fruitful to downright scary. Whatever your belief, though, it should be clear to you that programming matters. Without it, much of the world’s industries would cease to function, from gas stations to software enterprises.
Programming Fundamentals is the first part of the four-part course that you’ll see next. Programming is about solving problems—code-breaking for the 21st century. And whatever language you choose to learn, the fundamentals outlined in this course will provide critical information that you’ll need along the way. This class will introduce you to the Seven Steps, a problem-solving process that you’ll use time and again in your programming career.
Behind everything you type, and everything you see on the computer, stands, (or sits), a software developer. Some of them created applications, while others worked to solve issues and communicate with the customer to create the ideal product. C is a crucial language for computer scientists who want to enter the software development field.
Through the four courses that make up Introduction to Programming in C, you’ll learn to develop algorithms and read and write the C code to implement them. The four classes are Programming Fundamentals; Writing, Running, and Fixing Code in C; Pointers, Arrays, and Recursion; and Interacting with the System and Managing Memory.
In the software development world, Agile is everywhere. Whether you’re a product owner, Scrum master, project manager, or team member, it is crucial to be familiar with Agile. While every team uses a custom Agile methodology, the same essential fundamentals inform each team throughout the whole process. Without knowing the critical Agile fundamentals, you’ll be lost.
In this course, you’ll learn about the principles and methodologies in and around Agile. Additionally, you’ll learn how to configure Jira to match your team’s Agile process. The course takes about 12 hours to complete, and it’s well suited to unoriented beginners. And, like all Coursera classes, it’s free.
The Agile methodology appears everywhere in the software development world. And it’s not some archaic system that exists without reason; Agile is a dynamic, trusty methodology. And it’s not only for IT projects or developers—it’s a methodology that’s applicable far and wide.
In this $13.99 class, you’ll learn the key concepts and tools of Agile development, Agile project delivery, and Agile project management. Furthermore, you’ll understand the importance and meaning of user stories, daily stand-ups, retrospectives, and kanban boards. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to apply agile to your job, and you’ll have a certification to boot.
Here’s a word bank: Waterfall, Agile, Kanban, Scrum, product backlog, Scrum roles, events, and artifacts. Do you know what these words mean? Do you know that artifacts are more than the clay pots buried somewhere below your feet? In this $11.99, three-hour online course, you’ll learn how software development works.
Initially, the course concentrates on the SDLC. Then, it looks at the methodologies that make up the SDLC. Next, you’ll learn about Agile, Scrum, and DevOps. Although the class isn’t long enough to provide you a comprehensive understanding of each methodology and process, it will offer you enough language and knowledge to get around.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Software Development Master?
Let us get kitschy here: Jimi Hendrix never stopped practicing his guitar, and Albert Einstein never thought his job was finished. Especially in the computer world, where everything evolves at such a fast pace, there is no way to stop learning and remain on top of things. So, to poetically answer your question, your work is never over.
Okay, okay. All you want to know is how long it would take to gain the skills required to excel in the software development world. Really, it depends. It depends on what you’re doing and how quickly you learn. Do you want to learn management techniques or programming languages? If it’s the former, you need to gain real-world experience. If it’s the latter, you should learn at least a couple of programming languages to flourish in the software development world.
Our estimate? Give it about five years until you can rise through the ranks, and a decade or two until you become an expert. Of course, though, you may be one of those geniuses who figured everything out in a couple of weeks. If you are, let us know, and you can teach us.
But the good thing is, you don’t need to be a software development expert to accomplish tasks. Nor do you need to be an expert to receive a substantial salary. Thankfully, software development pays. So start slow and don’t feel like you have to rush your way up—entry-level salaries are more than enough for most people.
What’s the Difference Between Software Development and Web Development?
These two are adjacent, often inter-related professions. A professional who does one job often understands or does a little bit of the other. And many of the skills, like programming, are interchangeable. Still, though, they’re different enough to require different skills and mindsets. While the fundamental skills are the same, the backdrop is different.
Here’s a quick rundown of differences between the two professions:
- Software developed applications are client-based, while web developed applications are client-server based.
- Software design is simple and straightforward. Web design brings together web content and graphic design.
- In software development, coding can be done without script language. In web design, scripting is mainly used for developing apps.
- Developed software doesn’t require a host, while web applications must be hosted on the internet or intranet.
- Software developed applications mostly refer to desktop or mobile applications. Web developed applications refer to web applications or websites.
- In software development, applications are designed for one specific platform. In web development, applications are designed for cross-platform use.
- Software development is mostly static, while web development features dynamic pages.
As you can see, while the names and structure of the work are related, they are not the same. To add to the facts mentioned above, software development features more methodologies like the waterfall model, Agile, prototype model, DevOps, and iterative model. Web development doesn’t feature these methodologies.
What Do I Need to Know to Enter the Workforce?
Chiefly, you’ll need the hard skills required to develop software, as featured in this course review. It won’t be enough, however, to only tell your interviewer that you took an excellent online software development course. No, you need practical skills, proof that you can work with a team, and examples of your work.
In order to succeed in a job interview, and reach your early career goals, consider the following popular interview questions:
- Can you tell me about the software you’ve helped develop?
- Which software development methodology are you most familiar with?
- Tell me about an issue you encountered in a software development team, and how you resolved it.
- How do you find and test bugs in an application?
- What are your career aspirations?
These interview questions will give you an idea of the experience, knowledge, and courage companies seek. So start there—find an internship to develop software, pay attention to software development methodologies, and learn how to find and test bugs in an application. From there, you’ll gain the varied experience required for software developers.
List of Courses:
- Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization by Duke University
- Software Development Lifecycle Specialization by the University of Minnesota
- Agile Development Specialization by the University of Virginia
- Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming by the University of Edinburgh
- Mastering Software Development in R Specialization by Johns Hopkins University
- Open Source Software Development, Linux and Git Specialization by The Linux Foundation
- Software Product Management Specialization by the University of Alberta
- Object Oriented Programming in Java Specialization by Duke University
- Software Development From A to Z – OOP, UML, Agile and More by Udemy
- Software Development: Better Requirements Gathering Skills by Udemy
- Software Development Fundamentals by the University of Pennsylvania
- Professional Certificate in Computer Science Essentials for Software Development by the University of Pennsylvania
- Software Engineering: Introduction by the University of British Columbia
- Software Development by the University of Columbia
- Software Engineering Essentials by the Technische Universität München
- SDLC Overview (1 Hour) – Software Development Life Cycle by Udemy
- Scrum Advanced: Software Development & Program Management by Udemy
- Java Programming For Complete Beginners by Alison
- Agile Software Development by ETHZurich
- The Software Architect Code: Building the Digital World by Universidad San Carlos III de Madrid
- Introduction to C++ by Microsoft
- Learn C++ by Codecademy
- Learn Java by Codecademy
- Learn Python 3 by Codecademy
- Programming Fundamentals by Duke University
- Introduction to Programming in C Specialization by Duke University
- Agile with Atlassian Jira by Atlassian
- Agile Crash Course: Agile Project Management; Agile Delivery by Udemy
- Software Development Lifecycle & Methodologies by Udemy