Over the past several years, there’s been a dramatic rise in online tech education. With the increased availability of online learning resources, a movement to make computer science and coding affordable has also occurred. Startup companies, traditional universities and nonprofits alike are now offering free online courses as a non-conventional way to educate the tech workforce. These online courses are an effective way to earn the tech skills needed to build a portfolio, earn a degree or just learn for the sake of education, but they often fill up quickly due to popular demand. For those that prefer a more conventional learning environment, there are still many traditional universities offering comprehensive tech educations. Here are five top IT schools and tech education options from both sides of the spectrum that we believe are worth noting:
1. Girl Develop It
Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization was developed by a woman that wanted to share her knowledge of coding with the female world (which is still largely dominated by men). Girl Develop It creates affordable coding programs for women that simply want to learn how to code. For around $60 per class, CSS, HTML, WordPress and many other coding essentials are on the curriculum. Scholarships are also offered through Girl Develop It. And while the program doesn’t offer a degree, it does provide the skills to code and build websites, which can be used for career advancement.
2. University of Southern California Online
If those who prefer the more traditional route, the University of Southern California offers online programs for various tech and IT degrees, including Computer Science and Computer Engineering undergraduate degrees. The average annual tuition is around $1600 per credit, which is competitive with other online university options. Plus, there’s scheduling flexibility: students can take one or two courses at a time and earn degrees at their own pace.
3. Code School
With a philosophy of learning by doing, Code School quickly immerses users into the world of coding. After viewing brief courses that cover the basics, users are provided with a real, hands-on coding challenge that must be solved in order to pass. This online platform is great for individuals who want less lectures and more actual codes to crack. Code School courses are based on monthly fees (around $29 per course), so you can learn as much or as little as you want.
4. General Assembly
Launched in 2011 by established entrepreneurs and startup companies that were tired of traditional education, General Assembly offers intensive and focused courses on specific topics such as web development and software engineering for developers. Another factor that makes General Assembly unique is it’s on-campus and online presence with full and part-time tracks available. But don’t let the fact that it was created by startups and entrepreneurs fool you—most of these courses are very demanding and last two to three months at a time. Tuition fees start at around $3000 per class, and payment plans are available.
5. Carnegie Mellon University
Arguably one of the top engineering schools in the United States, Carnegie Mellon University offers a series of free courses that are open to everyone as part of their Open Learning Initiative. Tech-centric courses include Media Programming, Principles of Computing, STEM Foundations, and STEM Readiness. It’s hard to beat education from a top school that comes for free, but for those looking for more advanced, campus-based classes, look to pay up to $40,000 per year (full-time).
Beyond the Classroom
Looking at this list, it’s obvious that traditional schools aren’t as prominent as they once were. With tech giants like Google placing increasingly less emphasis on college degrees combined with the average college graduate’s debt upon graduation, free and affordable online courses backed by reputable industry educators make a lot of financial and practical sense. Education is just one of many ways to increase the chances for landing your dream job. Let us help you uncover possibilities in your career search.