14 free or affordable online courses to learn Python, offered by MIT, Harvard, UPenn, Google, and more

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  • Python is one of the most popular programming languages, used in everything from AI and machine learning to data analysis.
  • Below are 14 online courses and certificate programs you can take to learn Python code, offered by schools like MIT and Harvard and companies like Google and IBM.

It’s no secret that coding-related jobs are on the rise and that careers in data science and software development are among the ones with the highest average job satisfaction, according to Glassdoor.

For that reason, you may have heard of Python, one of the most popular programming languages in the world. Its uses range from data analysis to AI and machine learning, and its code is used by companies like Google, Reddit, Wikipedia, Amazon, Instagram, Spotify, and many more.

Luckily, there are many online resources to get started in learning about Python, from relatively short, free introductions to months-long intensive (yet comparatively affordable) certificate programs. Many are offered by prestigious universities like MIT, Harvard, UPenn, and the University of Michigan, or by top companies like Google or IBM, giving online students access to lessons and projects that can help them work towards a future career in Python development.

14 online courses and programs to learn Python:

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)

Length: 7 weeks (2-4 hours per week)
Cost: Free; $49 for a certificate

As the name suggests, this University of Michigan course is designed for anyone with a grasp of the simplest math skills and moderate computer experience. Students learn what a program is, how to use variables in programs, and how to create loops, so they can move on to more complex Python training.

Learn Python 3

Length: 30 hours

Cost: Free 

Codecademy is one of our favorite e-learning platforms to learn coding skills, and its Python 3 course takes you through 11 lessons to learn the fundamentals, including loops, strings, dictionaries, and more. You can also take paid specialized Python courses through Codecademy, like building chatbots or using it for financial analysis.

Learning Python

Length: 2 hours and 27 minutes

Cost: Free

The introductory course to LinkedIn Learning’s Master Python for Data Science path, Learning Python offers quick, digestible video lessons to cover everything from installing Python all the way through parsing and processing HTML.

Introduction to Python Programming (Professional Certificate)

Length: 5 months (9-10 hours per week)

Cost: $536.40; Individual courses can be audited for free

Led by Georgia Tech, this three-course program starts with the fundamentals of computing in Python and ends with learning about object-oriented programming, recursion, and search and sort algorithms.

Python Basics for Data Science

Length: 5 weeks (2-5 hours per week)

Cost: Free; $99 for a certificate

Part of IBM’s Python Data Science professional certificate program, this introductory course teaches total programming and data science beginners how to write Python scripts and perform some basic data analysis.

Computational Thinking Using Python (Professional Certificate)

Length: 5 months (14-16 hours per week)

Cost: $135; Individual courses can be audited for free

One of MIT’s free online offerings, this two-course program is designed for users who have zero experience in computer science or programming to leave with the ability to start writing programs using Python and some simple algorithms.

Computer Science for Web Programming

Length: 6 months (6-14 hours per week)

Cost: $358.20; Individual courses can be audited for free

Harvard’s two-course computer science program teaches new users how to start building their own web apps using Python as well as other coding languages like JavaScript and SQL. The program offers hands-on projects so students can start to get comfortable with computer programming relatively quickly.

Crash Course on Python

Length: 6 weeks (32 hours)

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $49 per month to continue after trial ends

The first part of Google’s professional certificate in IT Automation with Python, this crash course is perfect for those who know nothing about Python going in. Students will go from a broad Python overview and its importance to writing Python scripts and creating short Python objects.

Python 3 Programming (Specialization)

Length: 5 months (7 hours per week)

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $49 per month to continue after trial ends

Ideal for students who’ve completed UMich’s Python for Everybody or who have some knowledge of Python, this five-course program teaches the fundamentals of Python 3, from understanding APIs to using the Python imaging library.

Data Science Fundamentals with Python and SQL (Specialization)

Length: 6 months (4 hours per week)

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $39 per month to continue after trial ends

IBM’s four-course program walks students through a data science overview before diving into Python. By the end, students should have a firmer grasp of Python, SQL, open source tools, relational databases, and statistical analysis.

Introduction to Programming with Python and Java (Specialization)

Length: 4 months (6 hours per week)

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $39 per month to continue after trial ends

For those interested in UPenn’s online Master of Computer Information Technology (MCIT) program, this course is a good way to sample some of the learning materials before applying. It starts off with Python basics and moves through object-oriented programming and data structures in Java.

Statistics with Python (Specialization)

Length: 3 months (4 hours per week)

Cost: Free with 7-day trial; $49 per month to continue after trial ends

If you’re looking to learn Python for statistical analysis, the University of Michigan offers this three-course program to teach you the basics of Python as well as statistical modeling techniques like linear and logistic regression; linear models; multilevel models, and Bayesian inference techniques.

2021 Complete Python Bootcamp From Zero to Hero in Python

Length: 22 hours

Cost: $84.99 (Note: Udemy often has big sales, so it can be worth it to check back in a few days).

This popular, up-to-date Udemy bootcamp covers Python 2 and 3, teaches you how to create GUIs in the Jupyter Notebook system, and even has you build fun games like Tic Tac Toe and Blackjack using Python.

Machine Learning A-Z™: Hands-On Python & R In Data Science

Length: 44 hours

Cost: $59.99 (Note: Udemy often has big sales, so it can be worth it to check back in a few days).

One of Udemy’s best-selling courses, Machine Learning A-Z covers Python skills in the context of data preprocessing, classification, deep learning, and other important aspects of machine learning for students who wish to pursue a career in this subsection of data science.

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