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As one of the most popular programming languages of all time, Python is a relatively easy to learn system.

However, it can be hard to find the right Python tutorial for your skill level, time, and schedule – especially if you’re new to the language. There are plenty of online courses and certification pathways you can enroll in, but many of these are exorbitantly priced.

Both Microsoft and the Python Institute sit among the two most common Python learning organizations, but they aren’t your only options. You can get Python-certified without spending a dime – all by checking out these free resources.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is Python?

If you want to begin or switch to a career in software or web development, there’s nothing wrong with learning the basics of JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. These three programming languages are often considered the “holy grail” of programming.

However, if you really want to stand out to potential employers, you should consider mastering additional programming languages. That’s where things get tricky. There are dozens of coding languages out there, so it’s tough to figure out which ones are worth learning. In a perfect world, you’d learn all of them.

But let’s be realistic – you have limited time and money. Unless you plan on locking yourself up in your basement in front of a computer screen for the next thirty years, you need to pick a programming language that will give you a good return on your investment.

Python is one of the best coding languages you can learn. Knowing how to use Python is a skill that is highly marketable to employers because it is general-purpose. You can use it for web development, but you can use it for other kinds of programming and software development, too.

This versatile language can be used for desktop app development as well as for creating system scripts. It can be used for mobile app development and to process big data. It can also process and perform mathematical computation.

That sounds like a lot – and many beginners are often so overwhelmed by this breadth of services that they shy away from every learning Python in the first place. But don’t let it scare you. Despite its versatility, Python is remarkably easy to learn, and doing so can dramatically increase your chances of getting hired for a programming-related career.

You don’t have to pay any kind of Python certification costs to get started either – you just need to consider a few of the resources we’ll tell you about in this article.

Why Would You Want Python Certifications?

Python is considered a rising star in the world of programming for several reasons. Not only can this language handle a wide range of tasks, but it is also very user-friendly, making it a good choice for beginners. The code syntax utilizes English keywords so just about anybody can get started.

If you’re a beginning coder, data scientist, software engineer, or mobile app or web developer, Python is the way to go.

Let’s be clear – you don’t have to be certified in Python (or any programming language, for that matter) to get a job. Unlike other professional fields, like teaching and nursing, certification is not a necessary credential to demonstrate to employers and job boards that you know your stuff.

However, getting a Python certification can prove that you are competent in a certain programming language, Python included. Your best bet to do this is to choose a certification course that not only will give you evidence of completion at the end but will also allow you to write some programs of your own.

That way, when you head to your first job interview, you’ll have some samples of code that you can discuss with your potential employer.

How to Get a Python Certification

There are many ways you can train yourself in PYython. Unfortunately, if you want a more formal, credit-bearing course, you will usually need to enroll at a university that offers courses in that area. Most of the time, that will mean paying for the course and any associated fees (like registration and enrollment fees).

However, you can also get a Python certification for free from a variety of websites. Do a quick Google search, and you’ll find hundreds of “the best” free Python certifications. Not all are made alike, though – and many of them will not provide you with the level of instruction you need to fully grasp the ins and outs of this complex programming language.

Therefore, you might want to consider some of these Python coding online course options instead. That way, you’ll know you aren’t wasting your time on a resource that ends up being boring at best (or a complete waste of time at worst).

How to Get a Free Online Certificate in Python?

Best Places to Get a Free Python Online Course Certification

University of Michigan Python Online Programming Course – Coursera

The University of Michigan, in partnership with free online course guru Coursera, offers one of the best online certificates in Python. In this program, you’ll learn how to both analyze and program data with Python.

Not only will you learn foundational programming concepts (including networked application program interfaces, data structures, and databases) using Python, but you’ll also get the unique opportunity to work on a final capstone project. Capstone projects are typically reversed for credit-bearing college programs, but this course affords you the opportunity to synthesize everything you have learned in one final project.

It’s a beginner-level course that’s perfect for people who have little to no programming experience. You’ll master the concepts covered in the lessons first by writing your own Python program and then by experimenting and playing around with various techniques.

One of the best features of this class is that it is designed in a fun and more interactive manner than you might be used to. If stuffy, monotonous college classes aren’t your thing, don’t worry – this Python certification really stands out from the rest. Although all the content you need is there to be successful, it’s divided into a set of three clear, helpful courses (five in total) with an increasing level of difficulty.

Once you master the first class, you can move on to the next. You don’t have to progress unless you’re sure you’ve mastered the content, too, so you’ll have maximum authority over your own learning.

University of Michigan – Applied Data Science with Python Certification – Coursera

The University of Michigan offers a second Python certification course with Coursera. It goes beyond the basic Python level and includes more intermediate-level course topics for students who have progressed beyond the basic level of instruction.

You’ll be able to complete a variety of projects, assignments, and assessments, with courses set in a particular order (although you can go out of order, if you’d prefer this for some reason).

It’s not a great class for beginners, as you’ll need to have mastered some basic programming and Python study materials and skills. You’ll also need to have a working knowledge of things like machine learning and text analysis, too. Nonetheless, it’s a great course for serious programmers who are interested in pursuing additional certifications in machine learning.

The course covers all the basics of the Python programming language, including the numpy library, lambda, and reading and manipulating CSV files. You’ll also learn how to chart with the matplotlib library and how to use Python as you’re getting started with machine learning.

You will even learn how to work on manipulation and text mining basis so you can get a clearer picture of how text structure is handled by Python. Another unique feature of this class is that it will let you perform detailed social network analysis so you can see how things might be handled in unique real-life situations.

Python Bootcamp – Udemy

Udemy, another popular website that offers all kinds of free classes, has a massively popular online Python certification. It is offered completely free of charge and has had more than 230,000 students to date.

This class is taught by expert trainer Jose Marcial Portilla. He is considered a master trainer when it comes to data science and programming and has two degrees from Santa Clara University. Portilla really knows his stuff- he has trained employees at major organizations like The New York Times and Cigna, just to name a couple.

With this class, you’ll receive nearly 13 hours of on-demand video along with seventeen articles that you can return to later on as a quick point of reference. You’ll master all elements of the Python language, including both Python 2 and Python 3, and you’ll even learn how to create favorite games (like blackjack) with Python, too.

This course will go beyond the basic level to teach you about some more advanced python features (like working with timestamps) and how to use object-oriented programming, too.

IBM Python Certification for Data Science – Coursera

As you may have already noticed while reading this list, Coursera is truly one of the best places to look if you are looking for free Python certifications.

This program consists of a set of nine Python (free!) online course modules that will help you build the skills you need to work on a wide array of industry projects. You’ll cover everything from data visualization to libraries and open-source tools.

It’s more of an introductory course, but it’s a great first step if you’re interested in learning more about Python For data science as well as general programming.

You don’t have to have any prerequisite skills or knowledge in Python to get started – according to reviewers, this course will take you from “zero to programming” in a matter of a few hours. If you’re looking for a quick jumping-off point to a successful programming career, this course is the way to go.

You’ll have access to all the favorite course elements, too, including detailed assessments with helpful feedback, fun projects, and clear instruction on the fundamental techniques of Python.

Interactive Python Learning – LearnPython.org

This free Python training was designed with the goal of helping regular people learn how to code for free. If you are a hands-on learner, you will absolutely love the format of this class.

It’s offered at an introductory level, making it a good fit for beginners. You’ll learn about basic concepts like functions, dictionaries, loops, and variables. Once you’ve mastered those basics, you’ll move on to more challenging concepts like partial functions and serialization. You’ll also get a basic taste of data science fundamentals.

You don’t have to have any knowledge programming to begin, nor do you need any specific computer configuration. You’ll be able to contact an instructor at any time while you are taking this class, too.

Python for Managers – Columbia Business School

Python has applications in just about every industry, but one of the most relevant areas is in business. If you’re a manager and want to quickly acquaint yourself with the basics of Python, you may want to consider this course, offered by the Columbia Business School.

It offers one of the best platforms to learn Python programming, as Columbia is home to some of the world’s finest instructors. You’ll learn Python in a way that is tailored specifically for managers and leaders in a business setting so that you can communicate better with your teams.

It’s an eight-week program, so it’s a bit longer than some of the other classes on this list. It does also have some fees associated with enrollment, but financial aid is available. Plus, you can test-drive the course for free to make sure it’s the right fit for you.

The benefit of this course is that it can be credit-bearing if you follow it the whole way through. You’ll learn a variety of skills that translate directly to a business setting, too, so you can analyze data and figure out how to best use it to advance the success of your business.

Introduction to Python – Datacamp

Datacamp is a programming education giant, offering dozens of valuable and interactive programming courses for aspiring programmers at all levels.

This interactive course will acquaint you with the basic concepts of Python and will also expose you to advanced concepts such as functions and Python lists. You will also learn how to store, access, and deploy data in lists – essential if you are going to be working with large amounts of data.

You’ll be able to get a certification of completion when you finish, too.

It’s a highly hands-on course, letting you use your own scripts and create your own first variables to help acquaint yourself with Python’s basic data types. You’ll also learn about the various PYthon packages that will help you master this language to the greatest extent possible.

University of Michigan – Python 3 Programming Certification – Coursera

You read that right – another free online Python certification offered as a partnership between the University of Michigan and Coursera!

As if the two other Python certification programs weren’t enough to encourage you to check out the University of Michigan, this one should really do the trick. It’s a specialization that will teach you about the fundamentals of programming in Python 3. You’ll cover all the basic concepts, starting from scratch (perfect for beginners!).

You’ll go through basic concepts like loops, conditionals, and variables before you move on to more challenging topics like lambda expressions, keyword parameters, and class inheritance.

You’ll cover both the theoretical and practical applications of Python in this online Python training – and you’ll be able to practice as you go along with the lectures. Since it’s a beginner-level course, you don’t have to have any prior experience. You’ll learn how to debug programs and how to use classes to represent data in a natural way.

Courses are offered in a flexible schedule so you can jump around or rearrange your studies to make them fit in your busy lifestyle.

The coolest feature of this program? By tenant of it, you’ll be able to write programs that query and extract information from internet APIs.

Learn Python 3 – Codecademy

This isn’t a lengthy or comprehensive course by any means, but it still offers you everything you need to know to get started with Python without any prerequisite experience.

It’s updated with the most recent version of the programming language and is offered in an effective, simple format so that most beginners can do well with the material. You’ll learn the basic features, data types, and syntax of the language and be able to engage in tons of programming exercises to sharpen your skills.

Not only that, but you’ll get interactive code examples so the lessons are fun and easy to understand. Codecademy has other free Python courses you can try, too, if this one whets your appetite!

Free Python Courses dnC certifications – edX

edX offers a variety of free and low-cost college courses. One of the most popular certification options for students is to explore one of the many Python courses that this giant offers. You’ll be able to take classes in Python from top universities like MIT and Harvard.

Not only will you be able to cover all the basics of how to write programs in Python, but you’ll also learn how to create algorithms, debug Python code, and learn the foundational principles necessary to write advanced data analysis, too. There are all kinds of quizzes, practice exercises, and hands-on projects you can complete to help enhance your learning, too.

Almost all of these courses are free without any hidden charges, and when you’re done, you’ll get a certification of completion from edX that you can then use on your resume. You will be able to move through the courses, which are entirely self-paced, at your own speed, too.

Python Tutorial – Python Software Foundation

The Python Software Foundation is a leading authority when it comes to this programming language, so it makes sense that this is one of the first places you’d want to look when you are trying to find a free online certification in Python.

This tutorial is quick. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the programming language, regardless of your level of experience. The Python Software Foundation also provides learners with a list of introductory books, code samples, and text editors you can use to boost your understanding of the language, too.

Tips for Mastering the Python Language in an Online Class

If you’re thinking about giving Python a try, there are a few tips you should follow to help make it stick.

First, practice makes perfect! If you’re going to master Python (or any other programming language, for that matter) you need to hone your craft whenever you get the chance. Consistency is key! Even if you can only commit to 20 minutes a day, it will make a world of difference when it comes to your mastery of the content.

When you’re taking any of these online classes, don’t slack off just because they’re free. Instead, take detailed notes that you can reference later on. Some beginning programmers even write their code out by hand to start to boost their understanding and “muscle memory” when it comes to mastering Python.

 

Finally, whenever possible, look for a course that offers interactive learning experiences. You’ll learn best by doing – so make sure you choose a Python certification that gives you plenty of opportunities to practice.

There are plenty of reasons to master Python. According to Indeed, there were more than 50,000 Python-related job openings around the country at the time of writing this article. Even jobs that aren’t directly situated in the programming realm often use Python in some way, shape, or form. Master Python, and you’ll be well on your way to earning a high starting salary.

It doesn’t take long to learn, either. The average Python course duration is just six to eight weeks. You will be job-ready in just a couple of months! Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Unlike most things in life where that is the case, that’s not the case when it comes to mastering Python. You’ll be able to master this programming language in no time by accessing some of these free online programs – even if you have zero experience to start.

The flexibility of online learning is something that appeals to just about every learner. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom looking to make the most of her spare time or a high school student wanting to take a few online courses to get ahead, the distance learning environment is one of the best.

Online education is becoming increasingly popular for students everywhere – but do you have what it takes to be successful? For many people, there is the assumption that distance learning requires unique learning styles and abilities. True, online classes are easier for some people than for others.

In general, though, as long as you know what to look for when you are choosing your next online education opportunity, you’ll find that you can make the class you choose work well for you.

Here are some tips on choosing an online course – and what you should be looking for as you start your next adventure.

What Are the Advantages of an Online Degree?

Technology has completely changed the traditional learning environment. Distance learning, also referred to online learning, e-learning, or simply “taking online classes,” presents a great opportunity for many students all over the world.

Not only will you be able to access education no matter where you live, but you can sometimes save some money by taking online training courses, too. The flexibility of online learning makes it possible for you to take classes without having to arrange transportation, housing, or any other factors – you just have to show up to take the class.

In fact, many students choose to take online courses during school breaks or in conjunction with in-person learning. Not only can an online education accommodate a wide variety of learning styles, but they can help you meet your professional development goals, too.

12 Tips on How to Choose an Online Course

 

1. Figure Out What Your Goals Are

Your first step in choosing the right online course is to decide what your ultimate purpose and goal in taking an online course even is.

If you’re a working professional, your main priority might be to increase your skills so that you have a better chance of landing a good job opportunity. What are the skills that are preventing you from obtaining the career of your dreams? Make a list of the key attributes you think you might need to be successful in your dream job.

What areas can you expand upon? Which topics do you feel as though you don’t have enough knowledge in?

Other qualities you will want to consider are whether you want a course that is endorsed by a professional body – or one that will just help you pass the time. Do you know what topic you want to study, or what kind of credential is necessary for career advancement? You might want to answer the following questions (and add a few of your own as you conduct your research):

● Am I learning for work, or just for fun?
● How long can I spend working on this skill?
● Do I need to develop a specific skill or have prerequisite knowledge before jumping into this topic?
● What am I interested in?

 

Once you’ve identified these areas, you can start looking for courses that will best build these skills. Spend some time searching for course topics and titles that might help you fill in the gaps. Make sure you read each and every course description in detail and then make a shortlist of the key classes that will help you improve your career.

After you’ve put together an idea of which classes might be best – you should have a few – you need to narrow things down even more. Which course will best meet your needs? If you want to take more than one course, ask yourself whether you have the time and willingness to engage in multiple classes.

If you don’t think you can participate in more than one class at once, remember that you can always return to them later, when you have more time (just bookmark them or make a detailed list so you don’t forget which ones you were interested in).

Don’t feel like you need to settle, either. For example, if you can’t bear the thought of choosing between two subjects you love, why not consider a joint program, a combined honors program, or a degree with both a major and a minor option? That way, you can take classes in anything you’d like – and you won’t have to compromise.

You might even find that your separate areas of interest are more closely related than you initially thought. Many universities offer joint degrees or degrees with focus areas. For example, you might pursue an online degree in law with a focus on criminology. Or you could take a criminology degree with a focus in psychology.

Whatever you choose, make sure you take the time to explore all of the opportunities that are out there. 

2. Find the Right Course Provider

The best part of taking an online course is that you can study from home – but that doesn’t mean that just any course provider is wild o. You’re going to have to narrow down your selection to find the right online course provider.

The world is your oyster! You can travel virtually at just about any school in the world without having to leave your home. Make sure the course provider is legitimate. You don’t want to get scammed. Ideally, especially if you are taking a class to provide you with some sort of credential or certification, you need to make sure your course provider is accredited.

There are several different accrediting bodies in the United States that actively work to ascertain whether a course provider or university is legit. Do your research as to which accrediting bodies work within your specific disciplines.

What degree will you be eligible for after taking this course (if any)? Will the credits be recognized by other universities or institutions if you just want to take one or two online courses and then roll them over to get your degree? You will want to identify the end goal and then work backward to determine which courses apply.

Remember, your individual goals might vary, but accreditation is important. You want the work you put into your course to count!

3. Consider The Course Length

The beauty of taking an online course is that it’s ultimately up to you as to how long you want to study. You can choose to take classes part- or full-time depending on your goals and your situation. Many campus-based or traditional programs take up to three years to complete, but online programs can take far less.

When you’re pursuing a full online degree, you can often complete the requirements in a year or less (depending on what kind of program you’re enrolled in, of course). If you’d rather study only occasionally, though, some online degrees will enable you to take up to seven or eight years to get your work done.

Before signing up for any class, consider how much time you have to commit to your coursework. Not only that, but how many years do you think you will need to complete your degree? Either way, you will want to choose a course that provides you with enough time to do so – but also lets you meet your goals in a reasonable amount of time.

While some universities and course providers do give their students as much time as they need to get their courses completed, some have stricter time limits that ultimately must be adhered to in order for the certification to remain valid. Check on all of these details before you enroll.

4. Independent vs. Blended Learning

Many online courses are designed specifically for learning that is fully independent. You’ll be handed the course materials and have the ability to go off and study at your own pace. You could also be given recordings of seminars or lectures and that’s it.

In other classes, though, you’ll combine traditional online learning with more interactive experiences. For some, you might be required to attend campus. For others, you might simply have to log in at a certain time where you can engage with an instructor, tutor, and/or fellow students at a preselected time.

The most common way that online course providers offer their courses is in a mostly independent setting – you’ll log in when it’s convenient for you to complete your assignments. Sometimes you may have to interact with your peers in an online discussion board or something of that nature.

Just commit to what you have the time to commit to attend scheduled classes, if you’d prefer a blended learning model. If you don’t know whether your schedule is flexible enough for this, you might want to look into a class that is fully independent.

5. Student Support Services and Facilities

Studying online can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be – at least, not if the online course you choose has all of the support and networking opportunities you need.

Many people assume that online courses simply aren’t a good option for extroverted students. However, if you are able to study at a university with good support, it might not be a big challenge for you as you think.

Look for an online course that offers support via email, phone calls, or other channels. Read course reviews to see how (and how often) feedback is provided from your instructor. Is it offered at regular intervals, or only at the end of the course?

You will want to see what kinds of academic support are offered in terms of tutoring and technological services, but look beyond the academic level to see what kind of personal support is available, too. Can you get support and advice for things like your finances and health and wellbeing? Is counseling available?

Another important piece of support is career and employment support. Does your course offer help in looking for jobs? Will you be able to participate in things like networking or career fairs? How about internships, cooperative learning, or other hands-on work experiences? What does the alumni network look like?

Let’s not forget access to students’ activities, either. For some students – particularly those who don’t have a lot of time on their hands and just want to acquire the basic credentials necessary to advance their careers – this might not be a dealbreaker. For others, though, being able to access resources like student clubs and activities is a much-needed feature to stay sane during the pressure of an online class.

Finally, what kind of resources and facilities will you have access to as an online learner? Some courses provide everything you need to be successful, solely online. You can pull up your books, video lectures, presentations, and all other interactive activities via your course module or study portal. In other cases, you may need to pursue physical resources like textbooks. These aren’t always offered in an eBook format and you may need to buy them yourself.

As an online student, your course provider might allow you to come to campus to use computer and library facilities. That is not always the case, though, so be sure to do your research if it matters to you.

6. Entry and Admission Requirements

Every course will be different in terms of what qualifications are necessary to be admitted. At a bare minimum, you need to make a list of classes for which you think you could be qualified. Are prerequisite courses necessary? Do you need to have work experience in the field?

You also need to consider what sorts of admissions requirements the course or program has. Some online courses may require only an internet connection, while others may need you to have a degree in the field or some work experience – meaning you’ll need to submit things like transcripts, a resume, or test scores. Be prepared so that you aren’t caught off-guard when it comes time to enroll.

7. Marketability of Your Course

When you take any course, but particularly an online course, it’s important that you keep your end goals in mind. While you can certainly take a course just for fun, most people take online courses to enhance their future career opportunities.

What will your online course help you accomplish? If you are taking the time to study for an online degree, you’ll want to make sure your course will help you make a career change or boost your employability in the field.

You might want to look into the school’s career placement rates or employability statistics. That way, you’ll know whether the course is worth your investment (both time and money).

8. Cost

Cost is going to be another major consideration when it comes to signing up for an online course. Many online courses are now offered for free through platforms like Udemy and Coursera. Others are offered at a substantial discount when compared to their on-campus counterparts.

Whatever the case may be, it’s not always a good idea to go with a cut-rate or low-cost course. Make sure you look for the course that is right for you and your professional goals – and not just your checkbook.

That said, this is a significant concern for many students, so take the time to research funding opportunities before you enroll. You can often fund your degree with financial aid resources like grants, scholarships, and even student loans. Many online courses offer payment plans so that you can pay for your course and any associated fees in equal, more manageable installments.

If you can’t find any information on financial aid for your course of choice online, feel free to reach out to the administrators at your school of choice. They’ll be able to give you more information on what kinds of financial support and funding options are available to students in your particular situation.

9. Faculty Qualifications

Another important feature you need to consider when shopping around for an online course is the qualifications of the instructors. How much experience do these teachers have in teaching the subject at hand?

Ideally, a professor teaching a university-level course should have a Ph.D., and a teacher at a community college should have a master’s. But a degree isn’t the only credential you need to look for.

You also need to make sure the instructor who is teaching your class is experienced in the discipline that he or she is teaching. Does she have work experience in the subject? Has she passed any related credentialing exams? Make sure you take the time to research what sorts of credentials and background are desired for someone in this field.

10. Format of Course

How is the course designed? A good course will include plenty of opportunities for ongoing learning. Some classes include the same elements each week, requiring you to listen to a lecture and then complete a preset chunk of assignments.

While that works well for some people, for others, it’s downright monotonous. Make sure the course is formatted in a way that works well for your learning style and personality. Some include various multimedia elements that can make taking a course way more fun.

You will also want to consider how technologically savvy you need to be to take this class. If you can, see if you can demo the course before you enroll. That way, you’ll be able to decide what kind of technology is used and whether the course materials are accessible to people who struggle with technology – or those with diverse learning needs.

Many programs offer transcription or captioning services to help you out if you struggle with technology. These are also helpful if you like to return to a lecture to review the material later or if you have trouble understanding what the instructor said (this is often caused by poor audio).

You’ll want to make sure the course you select is easy to navigate, technologically, and also that there are options for you to get immediate support when necessary. Make sure there aren’t too many technological features to the course, though, either – some classes require fancy technologies like plug-ins and apps that can cause you some serious frustration when they don’t work as they should.

11. Methods of Assessment

An important decision you will need to make when signing up for any course, but particularly an online course, is how you will be assessed. In some online classes, you’ll be assessed through your coursework or through project-based tasks. In others, you’ll only be given exams. If you know that you struggle with traditional exams, you might want to look for a class that’s a bit more nontraditional in its assessment approach.

It is important to note that some online courses, despite offering fully online course delivery, do require students to travel to campus to take exams. If that’s the case, you will want to plan accordingly so you aren’t caught off guard at the end of the term when exam time rolls around.

12. Consider Your Peers

How big is the class? When you’re taking an online class, it’s not just about you – but it’s also about your fellow classmates. Consider the student to teacher ratio for the course and look for classes that are small enough to allow you to easily interact with your instructor, yet not so small that peer learning is impossible.

A course with plenty of opportunities for you to interact with your peers is ideal. Often, the best experiences you will have in an online course come not from the experiences you have with your instructor, but the conversations you have with your peers.

The Most Important Tip for Choosing an Online Course

By far, the single most important tip you need to consider when choosing an online course is what other students have to say about it.

Be sure to check the reviews and testimonials of past students when you are signing up for your online course. That way, you can get a clear understanding of whether the course is one that’s worth signing up for – and whether it’s right for you.