10 Best Free Online Learning Sites for Design, Web Design/ Development
10 Best Free Online Learning Sites for Design, Web Design/ Development

Web development has become one of the most critical skills in today's economy. That's because, behind every mouse click, there's a computer program that's making things happen. However, learning to code is neither easy nor effortless.

What is more impressive is that all of them offer courses, be them full or beginner, for absolutely nothing. You get all the information for free, though some do insist that you start up a free account before you begin so that you may track your progress and buy more advanced courses later.

Go from a manager to a web designer in your own time and at your own pace using free Internet courses. Here are ten online free web design courses you can take to help you become a web designer.

What Qualifications Are Needed to Be a Web Designer?

In web design, traditional hard qualifications like university degrees don’t carry as much weight as in other industries.

It’s a rapidly changing industry, so a 10-year old degree doesn’t mean you’re a great web designer today.

Instead, web designers are typically judged by their catalog of recent work showcased through their portfolio site.

And it’s not just the previous projects in your portfolio that help highlight your skills.

You can convince potential clients you have the necessary design and development skills with the site itself.

To get inspired by real portfolio sites using cutting-edge elements of front-end design and development, you can examine previous award-winning projects on Awwwards.

What are the free online sites for design, web design/ development?

1. Udacity

2. Codeacademy

3. MDN Web Docs

4. WebFlow University

5. freeCodeCamp

6. Alison Online

7. W3Schools

8. TheNewBoston

9. Coursera

10. Udemy

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Top 10 Best Free Online Sites For Design, Web Design/ Development In the World

1. Udacity

Photo: oto
Photo: oto

Udacity offers great free online courses in partnership with such leading IT companies as Google, AT&T, Github, Amazon, etc. The course levels vary from beginner to intermediate to advanced as Udacity offers a variety of courses, from simple HTML5/CSS courses to compact web development courses with Javascript, Backbone.js, etc.

Udacity puts an emphasis on practice, which anyone who has ever studied computer science or web development knows is a big plus. The classes are all interactive, with videos and quizzes to test yourself and check your level of understanding every once in a while. Most of the courses are also supported by a big helpful community of students. Some courses also require building mid-course projects for an even more practical learning experience.

Since Udacity offers non-degree courses only, it doesn’t provide certifications.

2. Codeacademy

Photo: codecademy
Photo: codecademy

Codecademy is like the Bible of web development newbies. Based on the 15 most popular development languages in the world, these free courses contain the core basic knowledge you need to get started. Most of the courses start at the zero level, defining variables and giving simple introductions to coding. I’d say if you’re looking to learn web development for free, this is the best option.

The HMTL/CSS courses are followed by JS courses, which then lead to more advanced Node JS courses. Here you can also find back-end classes, such as Ruby or Ruby on Rails courses.

Each course in Codecademy is divided into separate sections. Each section has its small units and each unit contains supporting exercises to test your knowledge. Most of the courses also include a final test for checking your level.

However, Codecademy only offers certificates upon graduation from Pro Intensive programs, and the free courses don’t include certification.

That being said, knowledge and experience these days are so valuable that if you have them, certification becomes trivial. My advice would be to get some practice taking courses on Codeacademy and then hone your skills by taking on freelance projects. Don’t charge a lot at first because you need the experience. After all, you did learn web development free, so not getting much return on this initial investment of time at first is to be expected.

Read More: How to Create A Website: Step by Step for Beginners

3. MDN Web Docs

Photo: twitter
Photo: twitter

MDN Web Docs is a valuable online resource created by an open community of developers which is updated regularly by employees of Mozilla, Apple, Google, & Microsoft. You can easily search for what you are looking for and find pragmatic explanations from credible professionals. They even include entire lessons for learning web development.

Any feature can be used by Web developers creating sites and applications now and in the near future. If it is implemented by multiple browsers and either accepted as standard or is progressing towards standardization, then yes, definitely. If it is still very experimental and not implemented in multiple browsers and/or liable to change, then it is still suitable for inclusion, but may not be seen as a priority for the writer's team to work on.

Their Hacks Blog is also a great reference for the web development industry.

4. WebFlow University

Photo: university.webflow
Photo: university.webflow

Ultimate Web Design Course is a free course offered by WebFlow university, an online learning platform hosted and developed by the CMS and design tool WebFlow.

It includes over 5 hours of video lessons and is a great introduction to all things web design.

Topics:

  • HTML & CSS basics
  • Web structure
  • Buttons
  • Typography
  • Media elements
  • Components
  • Styling basics
  • Layout basics
  • Advanced layouts
  • Responsive design
  • CMS & dynamic content
  • SEO

Pros:

  • An up-to-date cutting-edge introduction to web design.
  • Easy to follow instructions.
  • Over 5 hours of video content (much longer actual learning if you go along).

Read More: 10 Best Free Online Learning Sites for Math, Data Science and Engineering

5. freeCodeCamp

Photo: topdev
Photo: topdev

In 2019, freeCodeCamp released a 4-hour introductory course to responsive design on their YouTube channel.

The course will teach you how to create a single, 3-page responsive website, as well as the basics of responsive design, CSS, and HTML5.

Topics:

  • Responsive design basics
  • Mobile-first design
  • CSS units
  • Em vs px vs rems
  • Flexbox
  • CSS styles
  • Responsive containers
  • Media queries
  • Responsive navigation
  • Page structure
  • Widgets

Pros:

  • Get a deeper understanding of how to create a proper responsive design with HTML and CSS in 2022.
  • Get to know important CSS units and advanced HTML tags.
  • Over 4-hours of neatly-divided video available for free (no signup) on YouTube.

6. Alison Online

Photo: hsewatch
Photo: hsewatch

Alison calls itself a “new world of free certified learning.” It says its goal is to make it possible for anyone to study anything, from anywhere, at any subject level, for free. However, it is a for-profit company, so the site does offer premium subscription plans that unlock additional features.

The site is full of different types of courses that often lead to earning a test-based certificate. This can add a new qualification to your resume. Having a certificate in a subject can actually go a long way to secure a job or freelance opportunity. But while it’s free to take any of the courses on Alison, there is a charge if you want a certificate. The pricing starts at about $20 for a digital certificate and ranges up to over $100 for a framed diploma.

Alison has a large number of free graphic design courses available. That means there are options to suit designers of every skill level. For instance, there are graphic design courses that focus on defining all the basic terms and principles, such as this certificate course in Visual and Graphic Skills. There are also courses that teach you how to apply those principles by providing case studies and practice exercises, such as this one on Design Principles.

There is also a range of more specific classes to help you learn to use the tools and software needed for graphic design, such as this class on Photoshop Essential Tools.

All of the courses on Alison are basically presented in slideshows. So instead of having to scroll through a long page of information, everything is broken up into easily-digestible chunks. However, the downside is that every time you move on to a new topic in a lesson, the page reloads and you have to watch an ad for 8 seconds (unless you’re willing to pay the $9 a month for a premium plan).

While it’s not perfect, Alison does offer a great free resource for those seeking to learn graphic design.

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7. W3Schools

Photo: hocspringmvc
Photo: hocspringmvc

W3Schools is a place where you can actually learn web development and become a pro. W3Schools offers classes online only. This school offers training in 18 qualifications, with the most reviewed qualifications being HTML5, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) Developer Certification and Frontend (HTML. Time to complete this education training ranges from 1 hour to 1 month depending on the qualification, with a median time to completion of 1 week.

However, if you’re an absolute beginner and are still looking to understand the very basics, W3Schools could be very helpful. You can find HTML, CSS, JS, BootStrap and XML tutorials there.

Each tutorial is written in a simple and non-techy language so that people who have absolutely no experience in coding can understand. The topics are supplemented with a set of simple tasks inviting the user to put their knowledge to use.

8. TheNewBoston

Photo: medium
Photo: medium

TheNewBoston is for all those who prefer video classes. It’s a Youtube channel containing endless video courses of HTML, CSS, PHP, Node JS, Python, and other popular languages and frameworks.

However, it should be noted, that the videos of the channel are for beginners and mainly bear introductory nature.

Each video is a short, 3-10 minute on average, answer to a very specific question/topic, such as the installation processes, setting up code blocks, running the code, etc.

9. Coursera

Photo: cellphones
Photo: cellphones

Coursera is a huge online course catalog where you can easily find the web development class you’re looking for. The courses are designed in partnership with distinguished universities and educational institutions, corresponding to the demands of the best educators and best practices.

The sophisticated filtering system allows the student to choose not just the field and topic, but also the degree and level of the course, the institution that offers the online course, the language, length, etc.

The topics and levels vary from a simple HTML/CSS/JS beginner course offered by Johns Hopkins University to more in-depth Ruby on Rails and Angular JS courses for intermediates.

Finally, what’s cool about Coursera, is that upon graduation you get an online certificate as formal proof of completion and can attach it to your resume.

10. Udemy

Photo: linkedin
Photo: linkedin

Udemy features videos by independent teaching contractors with prices depending on the length of the video, the teacher, and the field. Essentially, Udemy is a competitive classroom marketplace. This means classes are rated, and the quality of the class is illuminated by ratings just like on Yelp. There are frequently sale specials on the site, so watch out for deals on the classes you want. Many of the courses on Udemy are free, too.

The Introduction to Graphic Design is a great place to start. This free graphic design course covers topics including the design process, basic elements, the five main principles of design, and how to see the design through new eyes. It aims to teach participants what real designers do, and give them an understanding of what makes good design. The course description says that students don’t need to have any specific software or any prior knowledge of design.

And when you’re done with the introduction, there is a wide variety of other online graphic design courses available for free on Udemy. The site makes it easy to browse through them as you can set the search filter to show only free courses. Just some of the topics they cover are software guides, tips for common projects, and in-depth tutorials.

Why Learn Web Development Online

As a web developer, your credibility is more about the strength of your portfolio than it is about your credentials. Your employment opportunities will often come from concrete skills and samples of your work rather than a degree from a university. It’s not that a proper college education isn’t important or valuable as a web developer. Rather, it’s to say that if attending a university isn’t in the cards, you can learn everything you need to know about web development online. The web development industry continues to grow exponentially so you won’t find a shortage of resources. The most important thing to do is start.

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