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How to Learn Computer Science Online: Best Options for All Skill Levels

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By Scott Winstead

how to learn computer science

Are you interested in trying to learn computer science?

Computer science is an increasingly popular field, but it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you’re not in school and don’t have any formal training.

The good news is there are plenty of excellent resources available online on sites like Brilliant for those who want to learn computer science on their own without the expense or inconvenience of traditional classes.

In our guide below, we’ll offer some helpful tips and guidance on how to learn computer science online, pointing you to the best resources and courses so you can save time and money while building a valuable skillset that can help you in your career.


Why Learn Computer Science?

In today’s increasingly technology-driven world, it’s more important than ever to have a basic understanding of computer science.

Even if you don’t plan on becoming a programmer or computer engineer, learning the basics of computer science can help you to better understand how the technology that you rely on every day works.

But if you do want to put your skills to use in your career, the job market for those who know computer science is booming.

There are a number of high-paying jobs available for those with the right skill set, and learning computer science can also give you an edge in other fields where a basic understanding of technology is becoming increasingly important.

As computers become increasingly integrated into every aspect of our lives, being able to code can give you an edge in many different fields, from marketing to medicine.

Whether you’re looking to improve your career prospects or simply want to be able to create your own websites and apps for fun, learning computer science is a smart choice.


Tips Before You Start Learning Computer Science

Before you dive into computer science, there are a few things you should know.

First, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what you can achieve.

Computer science is a vast and complex field, and it will take some time and effort to become proficient.

Don’t expect to be able to learn everything in a couple of weeks or even a couple of months.

Second, you’ll need to figure out what niche within computer science you want to focus on.

Computer science is a broad field that covers everything from programming to software engineering to networking to artificial intelligence.

You’ll need to decide which area you want to focus on before you can start looking for resources and courses.

Otherwise, you’ll likely become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available.

Finally, you should make sure you have the necessary prerequisites for learning computer science.

While some of the basics can be learned without any prior knowledge, if you want to really get ahead, you’ll need to have a strong foundation in math.

If you’re not confident in your math skills, it may be a good idea to brush up before you start learning computer science in earnest.


Online Courses Offer the Best Way to Learn Computer Science

You might think that you’d need to enroll in a traditional college to get a good education in computer science, but that’s not the case.

In fact, a lot of computer science professionals have learned through online courses.

Online courses offer a number of advantages over traditional classes.

They’re usually more affordable, more flexible, and more convenient.

You can save thousands by taking online courses compared to paying to enroll in college courses, and you can take the classes on your own schedule whenever you have the time.

There are a number of excellent courses available that can teach you everything you need to know about computer science, whether you’re brand new to the field or you just want to brush up on your skills.

Here are some of our favorite online course providers for those who want to learn computer science:


Brilliant | Learn Interactively Brilliant | Learn Interactively

Brilliant is an online learning platform offering interactive, engaging courses in math, science, and engineering taught by experts from top universities and organizations, including MIT, Duke, Google, and Microsoft.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Brilliant is an excellent online learning platform that has a wide variety of hands-on, interactive courses in different subject areas, including computer science, mathematics, physics, and more. New content is added monthly.

What makes Brilliant truly unique as an online course site is its focus on interactive learning.

Instead of just watching videos or reading materials, Brilliant’s courses have users actively engage with the material in a number of ways, including solving problems and taking quizzes.

This interactive approach to online learning keeps students more engaged in the material, and helps them better absorb and retain information.

When it comes to learning computer, Brilliant has a great collection of courses for all levels, from beginner to advanced, including:

  • Computer Science Fundamentals
  • Algorithm Fundamentals
  • Data Structures
  • Introduction to Neural Networks

Brilliant’s courses are taught by experienced instructors who are experts in their respective fields.

All of the courses are self-paced, so you can learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.

Brilliant pricing includes monthly and annual plans starting as low as $12.49 a month.

Click here to get started with Brilliant today.



Skillshare is one of the most well-known online course platforms, with a wide variety of courses available in different subject areas.

Skillshare’s computer science courses are some of the best you’ll find online, and there are lots of them to choose from covering everything from Python to AI and more.

Skillshare has a premium membership that gives you access to all 18,000+ of their courses at an annual rate.

Check out our Skillshare review to learn more.

Click here to try Skillshare free for one month.



Coursera is known for offering online classes from some of the world’s top universities and institutions like Stanford, Harvard, Duke, Google, and more.

Coursera’s computer science courses include a little bit of everything, from learning how to code to understanding artificial intelligence.

You can also choose to pay for individual courses as you take them if you don’t want to sign up for a monthly plan, and you can even audit courses for free without access to a certificate for completing the class or some assignments.

That said, your best bet if you’re considering Coursera is to sign up for their Coursera Plus subscription that gives you access to over 7,000 classes on their site for $59 a month.

For more info, read our full Coursera Plus review.

Click here to try Coursera Plus free for 7 days.


A Final Word on How to Learn Computer Science

Computer science touches nearly every aspect of our lives, from the way we bank and shop to the way we stay connected with our friends and family.

That’s why learning at least the basics of computer science is essential in today’s world.

Fortunately, there are a number of excellent online resources and courses, like those mentioned above, that can help you learn just about anything and everything you need or want to know about computer science.

If you’re looking for a great collection of computer science courses, we recommend Brilliant as they have some excellent classes and clearly-defined learning paths to help you get started.

Have any questions about how to learn computer science online? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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