I needed to discover the best places to learn Python online way back in 2018. Back then, I had an Instagram account that I was trying to grow. All the social media gurus said the best way to do it was to like and comment on pictures in your niche hashtags. It took forever to do manually, and I had a background in data science using R. So I thought to myself: there has got to be a way to automate this.
There was – but there was a catch. I loved R, but R couldn’t do what I needed. The more research I did, the more I realized Python was perhaps the best language to do what I needed.
Luckily there were already GitHub repos full of code I could more or less copy-paste. I thought I could skip the “learning” part of Python and jump straight into the action. But I instantly ran into issues. I’d never used terminal before, I had no idea what packages were, how to set up a virtual env, the difference between Python 2 and 3, or how to “pip install” things. It was a mess. I spent about five frustrating hours at my laptop looking for random modifications that would magically get my code to work. But nothing I did worked.
Ultimately, I realized I needed to actually learn the basics of Python. I was long past school age, so I needed to learn Python online. It paid off - learning how to code in Python was a tremendous advantage in the job market when I worked in that field.
Four years later, it’s actually easier than ever to learn Python online because you have a multitude of options. This article covers the 14 best places to learn Python online, split up into DIY, corporate options, free tutorials, and paid-but-worth-it spots.
If you want to learn Python online, here are the 14 best places:
Learn Python online with some DIY
If you have a lot of time, no money, and buckets of motivation, there’s no better place to learn Python online than by doing it yourself. That’s how I did it back when I was a student. It was hard, yes, but it paid off. I knew Python well enough to use it to get a job.
Here are three places to look for help:
Every day I stumble across a YouTube video filled with so much helpful and valuable information that I’m astounded it’s free. Creators are better teachers than your lecturers ever were, and you’ll pay a hell of a lot less than you would for a college degree if you go to YouTube University.
Let’s talk videos for beginners:
- FreeCodeCamp.org’s four-hour Python tutorial. Notable comment: “I started my professional journey 3 years back from this python series and today am a Data Science Trainer. All the credit goes to this guy for setting up the base so strong. Thank you so much for sharing so valuable content for free. God bless you abundantly!” – Nehal Verma
- Programming with Mosh’s six-hour Python tutorial. Notable comment: “This course has literally changed my life. 2 years ago i started learning python from this course and now i am a software engineer intern at a great startup. Thanks Mosh♥️” – Techno Maestro
- Edureka’s 12-hour Python tutorial. Notable comment: “they explained a thousand times better than my cs class teacher. hats off to you guys! keep it up!” – Yash Garg.
There are more, and these really only get into the basics of Python. If you want more advanced YouTube Python tutorials, I recommend looking up Python interview questions and searching for the answer on YouTube. These will help guide you in a practical way through Python. For a whole bunch in one place, I really enjoyed Simplilearn’s 37-minute video on Python interview questions and their explanations.
This is a much more hands-on way of doing things, which is more frustrating but also more rewarding. Fair warning, it’s a very slow place to start. I read so many README’s until it finally started making sense to me.
Here are a few fantastic resources to get started:
- Akuli’s repo for people who want to learn Python online and hate reading. Jumps right into code.
- ProgrammingHero’s repo for people who prefer to learn by doing. Includes 100 Python questions and answers, organized from easy to advanced.
- Ujjwalkarn’s repo for learners who have specific Python tasks in mind. Includes a curated list of tutorials specifically for Data Science, NLP and Machine Learning.
You can browse the list of Python tutorial GitHub repos yourself - there are over 100 to check out.
The Python website
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the place where it all started. Python.org is a great place to learn Python online, and they have a tutorial geared for beginners. To be honest, it’s a great place to start but not a good place to end. The great thing about Python being open source is that its practitioners have taken it far beyond where its creators could have ever imagined. Check it out, get your bearings, then look at another resource to continue your journey.
A simple path to your career in backend development
- Daniel Gerep from Cassia, Brasil
Learn Python online with corporate resources
Sometimes it’s nice to do things yourself. Other times it’s nice to let a well-funded corporation with a lot of talent and resources guide you. Maybe learning Python online is one of those times.
If you’re struggling to get to grips with the vast amount of info available online, use a corporate guide to get started. Especially Microsoft and Google have a vested interest in teaching the next generation of people to use Python. That means that their resources are likely to be great, and they’re 100% free.
Google’s Python class is a free class for people who only have a little bit of programming experience. It has text, it has videos, and it comes with code exercises to really get your hands wet with python. This material is what Google itself uses to introduce python to its own employees. They do recommend that you have some programming experience in some language, enough that you can tell your variables from your if statements.
Microsoft similarly has a class geared for beginners in Python. They mostly offer videos, but there are some examples and code exercises. This course is meant to be the foundation and – they encourage you to go out and learn on your own when you’re done.
Learn Python online with free guided tutorials
Maybe you don’t trust big corporations. Maybe you would just prefer to get a different view of things. No matter what the reason, if you’re looking for a free guided tutorial that doesn’t come from Big tech, there are plenty of options to choose from.
The upside: these are all free too. The downside: some of them are freemium. They’re designed to get you to a certain point but no further because then they wouldn’t make any money. Have a look and choose which one of these is a good place to learn Python online for you.
FreeCodeCamp is one of the greatest places to Learn Python online for free. Their entire mission is to try to get as many Pythonistas out in the world, as fully empowered to code. They have over 3,000 hours of curriculum for you to get stuck into.
In case that sounds overwhelming to you, the good news is that they put together a great orientation guide that walks you through where to start.
Codecademy is one of those freemium resources I mentioned. They have 11 courses that are totally free. Then they have 44 courses that cost money. It’s just $20 bucks a month if you pay annually ($40 if you pay monthly) so it may be worth it if you’re really looking to bone up for a job, but otherwise, just get started with the free ones and let that guide your learning.
Udemy is more of a platform of courses, some of which are Python. Some of those Python courses are free. (Some are paid, but very cheap.)
Here’s a list of all of their free and paid courses. You can have a look yourself and see which ones take your fancy.
Coursera and edX (free to audit)
Coursera and edX are very similar to Udemy, except instead of regular instructors, they’re actually college accredited courses. So if you need a certificate, you have to pay. But if you’re just looking to learn, any of their courses are free to audit. This means you don’t get access to quizzes, and once you complete the learning you don’t get a certificate either, but you’ll still have the knowledge that you learned through the course itself.
Educative.io is another online learning platform that usually costs money. However, for reasons best known to themselves, they do offer a totally free course to learn Python 3 from scratch. It takes 10 hours, it doesn’t have a chance to go that deep, but it’s a decent primer.
Get backend development jobs by learning CS
I was a field service engineer and I wanted to become a backend developer, but work and family limited my options. Since completing the backend-focused computer science track on Boot.dev, I now have a job offer in hand and I'm starting my career as a software developer!
- Özgür Yildirim from Germany
Learn Python online with paid tutorials that are worth the money
Free does the job, but sometimes you get what you pay for. A lot of those freemium places to learn Python online just end up wasting your time because they’re trying to funnel you into making a purchase. If you’re struggling with the freemium options, or you need a certificate, these online tutorials are worth the money.
Boot.dev’s Python course is a great place to learn Python online and includes exercises and tutorials. There isn’t much passive content, so it’s awesome for folks who prefer to learn with a more hands-on approach. The course takes about 20h to complete. You can pay $29/month or $16/month when billed annually.
“I was a field service engineer and I wanted to learn to code, but work and family limited my options. Since completing the Python track on Boot.dev, I now have a job offer in hand and will be starting my career as a software developer in the coming months.” - Özgür Yildirim from Germany
Udemy paid courses
As I mentioned, Udemy offers paid courses, too. Udemy is almost always running some kind of sale. You can scoop up a course for just $10-$25 at any time of the year. The Python Bible, for example, is currently $16.99 and very highly rated – 4.6 stars, with over 40k reviews. It guides you through 11 projects, with coding exercises, nine hours of on-demand video, and four articles.
“I think this is the best course for those who want to get their feet wet in python. I got the foundation I wanted, which will allow me to start dissecting the python scripts that we have at work. From there, I can see where I would need to focus. Thank you, Ziyad!!” – Edgar, who rated it 4.5 stars.
Coursera and edX’s paid options
You can learn everything you need to learn by auditing these courses, which is the free option. But sometimes getting a programming certificate is worth it. Certain employers will like the look of them on your resume. Plus, getting access to the quizzes is helpful too, which you only get if you pay for the courses.
Codecademy’s paid option
Codecademy keeps their freemium option pretty sparse on purpose. Once you finish those eleven free courses, I recommend you at least look at their paid courses. Codecademy Pro costs $40/month (or $19.99 if you get billed annually), but comes with real-world projects and more step-by-step guidance.
“Wrong attitude - Pro will make me learn this. Right attitude - I’m really learning this - I need more and more to do so I can learn more - How can I better use what i’ve already learned- Pro will help me scratch my learning itch. It is a knowledge multiplier, not a knowledge firestarter.” – Fight_dragons on the Codecademy forum.
What are the best places to learn Python online?
Ten years ago, options to learn Python were limited. You’d have to go to college and get a whole-ass degree. Or you could learn from a textbook. (Some Python textbooks ARE worth checking out, by the way.) The online learning scene has really exploded in the last decade or so, which makes Python accessible, easy, and rewarding to learn online.
I’m an R lover first and foremost, but Python holds a special place in my heart for the sheer abundance, enthusiasm, and generosity of the online teaching community. You can find a tutorial or guide for any learning style, no matter where you are in your Python learning journey.
I wanted to leave you with a few more resources to learn Python online that will help supplement you no matter which of these places you choose.
- StackOverflow. If you have a question, 10,000 other coders before you have as well.
- Discord. I love learning in a community, and the best Python communities are found on Discord IMO.
- Reddit. Another place to find friends and help.
Learning online doesn’t have to be solitary. Find your group and don’t struggle alone. No matter which of these places you go to learn Python online, have fun with it. Python is an awesome language.