How to Learn Computer Science Online

Explore the broad field of computer science, focusing on the development and implementation of complex tools, hardware, and software systems. Discover the best learning methods, tips for online success, and potential career paths including web development, software engineering, and data science.

Key Insights

  • Computer science is an extensive field that includes information systems, computation, automation, hardware and software design, machine learning algorithms, and data visualization.
  • Top positions for computer science professionals include Software Developers, IT Security Analysts, Data Scientists, and Product Managers, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating a 21% job growth rate from 2021-2031 for Computer and Information Research Scientists.
  • Online learning options for computer science range from free tutorials to live classes and on-demand/self-paced courses, offering flexibility for learners at every stage.
  • Noble Desktop offers a range of live online computer science courses, including bootcamps and certificate programs in JavaScript, Python, and Data Science.
  • For successful online learning, students should set and achieve measurable goals, maintain a manageable schedule, and avoid burnout by focusing on work/life balance.
  • Online learning can lead to comprehensive computer science training, preparing students for roles such as JavaScript Developer or Full Stack Developer, with potential salaries varying broadly depending on the specific position and level of expertise.

If you’re just starting to learn a new skill, you can find dozens of tips and resources online; learning computer science is no different. Computer science is a broad field focused on developing and implementing complex tools, hardware, and software systems. Industries as varied as information technology (IT), agriculture, and financial services rely on computer science for everything from data analysis to network engineering.

If you’ve always wanted to learn computer science, there are plenty of options at your fingertips. From free tutorials to live classes, your options are outlined here so you can decide how to learn in a way that works best for you.

What is Computer Science?

Computer science is an immense field that encompasses the study of information systems, computation, and automation. Hardware and software design, machine learning algorithms, and data visualization fall under the computer science purview.

On the theoretical side, computer science includes information theory, algorithms, and computational theory. The practical side of computer science covers hardware and software design and implementation. While data science has emerged as a discrete discipline in recent years, many computer science pros still consider it a subcategory of the larger computer science field. 

Read more about what computer science is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Computer Science?

Software Engineering Certificate: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, 0% Financing, 1-on-1 Mentoring, Free Retake, Job Prep. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

Computer science classes cover a wide range of subjects, encompassing anything from web development and software engineering to data science. Tools like Python and Java are popular among numerous career paths in this growing field, and as far as computer science applications go, the sky’s the limit.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Computer and Information Research Scientist job outlook is especially bright: they estimate a 21% growth rate between 2021-2031, well above the average growth rate of five percent. Top positions for computer science professionals include Software Developers, IT Security Analysts, Data Scientists, and Product Managers.

Areas of specialization for computer science professionals include programming languages like Java, the development and application of robotics, and the development of new systems, tools, and programming languages. In our ever-more connected digital world, computer science generalists and specialists can thrive both now and in the future.

Live Online Computer Science Training

Many students and busy professionals who want to expand their computer science expertise will enroll in an online bootcamp or certificate. Although some course providers offer programs at the beginner level, others may require familiarity with certain computer science concepts. Be sure to check course listings thoroughly before enrolling.

Live online computer science training offers many benefits: it’s hands-on and interactive like face-to-face training, but you can learn from the comfort of your home or office. Computer science bootcamps offer a dynamic, immersive learning experience with expert instructors who provide real-time feedback via teleconferencing. In many cases, they can see or even share the screen—with your permission.

Noble Desktop hosts a range of live online computer science courses, including bootcamps and certificate programs. Use their Classes Near Me tool to find live online computer science classes in your area. Training options include Noble’s JavaScript, Python, and Data Science Certificate programs. Additional courses include a Foundation of Computer Science & Engineering course from Holberton School, a Python for Data Science Immersive from Practical Programming, and NYC Data Science Academy’s Data Science with Python: Data Analysis and Visualization.

On-Demand Computer Science Classes

On-demand or self-paced learning can be another approach to beginning your computer science education. These courses range from free two-hour tutorials at the intermediate level to paid programs that take months to complete.

There are three types of on-demand/self-paced courses:

  • Paid - Paid on-demand classes require a fee but may offer built-in advantages like a money-back guarantee or lifetime access to course materials. 
  • Platform Subscription - With this training option, subscribers pay a flat monthly fee, in exchange for which they can access various on-demand courses. Limitations or exclusions may apply, and monthly fees can be pricey, so you should read all details (including any prerequisites) before enrolling.
  • Free - Free on-demand classes are few and far between, and some are only open to intermediate or advanced students. If you’re looking for a free introduction to computer science, you’ll find a wider variety of options among the online tutorials and seminars available from providers like Noble Desktop.

Like any learning model, on-demand courses have built-in drawbacks and advantages. A self-paced class can be a convenient way to begin studying computer science–especially for novices. But many students with on-demand learning experience report that the lack of accountability for assignments can make it challenging to stay on track. If you’re highly motivated and self-disciplined, however, this type of learning can offer valuable tools to prepare for more formal, instructor-led training.

On-demand computer science classes include JavaScript Essential Training from LinkedIn Learning, Advanced Java Programming from Cloud Academy, and Learn to Code with Ruby from Udemy.

Free Intro Courses & Tutorials

Are you considering a career in computer science but not ready to dive into a full-length course? If you’re looking for a simple computer science overview or cannot commit to a full-length bootcamp or certificate program, check out the many online resources you can use to start learning computer science for free.

Say you want to study to be a JavaScript Developer or Full Stack Developer. Consider beginning with the Intro to Full Stack JavaScript seminar on Noble Desktop’s YouTube Channel. In this free introductory course, you’ll learn about topics like React and the JavaScript MERN stack development, among others.

Want to learn data science as part of a broader computer science curriculum? Your education can begin with Noble’s data science video tutorials. These include Get Started in Data Science, Intro to Python Fundamentals, and Exchanging Excel for Python.

Additional free online courses include:

  • Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from the University of Michigan
  • Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate program
  • Neural Networks and Deep Learning from DeepLearning.AI
  • HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for Web Developers from Johns Hopkins University
  • The Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization program from Duke University.

Read about more free computer science videos and online tutorials.

Comparing Online Methods with In-Person Learning 

The bootcamp training model is one of the most popular ways to master computer science. If your preferred learning method is in the traditional classroom setting, consider an in-person program if there’s one available in your area.

Comparing and contrasting the main ways of training can be an excellent way to determine where you should start. Consider the following methods:

  • In-person
  • Live online
  • On-demand/self-paced

Most students report a higher level of engagement in live online or in-person courses. These programs are usually interactive, where you can get real-time answers to your questions from expert instructors. The opportunity to network with other students can also be invaluable here. One obvious benefit of face-to-face training, as opposed to virtual programs, is that course providers typically host computer labs with the latest software. If you have a problem with equipment, the instructor is always there to assist you.

On the plus side for virtual live bootcamps and certificate programs, many students today prefer online learning for their computer science education. Live online training offers benefits comparable to in-person coursework in terms of interactivity. You can still typically get answers in real-time, and the instructor can see or even control the screen with your permission. Learning from the comfort of home or office appeals to busy professionals, especially those with family or other obligations.

On-demand or self-paced courses offer a different approach to learning computer science online. These courses can range from one-hour videos available for subscribers to a platform to programs of 60 hours or longer. There can be downsides to on-demand training, like a lower level of engagement, lack of accountability for assignments, and no interaction with fellow attendees. However, many students like to begin with a shorter seminar that costs little as their introduction to the broader computer science field.

Tips to Succeed when Learning Computer Science Online

Learning computer science in the traditional classroom typically emphasizes student accountability, learning from an expert instructor, and networking with peers. If you plan to get your computer science training live online, you’ll need to have a plan that ensures you get the most benefit you can from it.

Some of the essential aspects of successful online learning include:

  • Setting and achieving measurable goals
  • Maintaining a manageable schedule for assignments and studying for exams
  • Avoiding burnout 

Virtual live training via teleconferencing can feel much different from the immersive experience of an in-person classroom. If your learning style matches up well with online training, you can learn much in a concentrated timeframe.

  • Goal-setting may be the most crucial aspect of successful online training. While a bootcamp or certificate program curriculum will include classroom instruction—typically in units ranging from six to thirty hours—there may be other perks to help you reach your goals. Many programs include 1-on-1 mentoring, money-back guarantees, and the option to retake the class to solidify your knowledge base.

Setting and achieving measurable goals throughout your training can make attending an immersive bootcamp much easier. A 150-hour program may look overwhelming, but if you break it into smaller segments, you’ll find that a course provider designs its curriculum with your success in mind.

  • Maintaining a manageable schedule is another key to successful online learning. Although the course will follow a schedule, time management on your own can make or break your success in an online live class.

Many students find that a comprehensive bootcamp or certificate program takes a significant time commitment beyond the time spent in class—especially those with busy professional or family obligations. Therefore, it’s essential to use free time wisely, including the time needed for studying and completing assignments. Some bootcamp participants break up study sessions into 15- to 30-minute increments, including a break between them. Experiment with timed homework or study sessions to find what works best.

  • An often-overlooked aspect of success for online learners is to focus on self-care. Time is always at a premium for those taking a course while working full-time, which is the case for many course attendees. Consider the importance of being at your best in and out of class. That means getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise. Studies show that executives who must function at a high level make these factors their top priorities.

With these ideas in mind, you can create a personalized list of tips that will help you maximize your time and get the most out of the online learning experience. Whether you study computer science to gain general knowledge or focus on a specific area for a career move, the knowledge and skills you gain from a bootcamp or certificate can benefit you for years to come.

Learn Computer Science with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

If you want comprehensive computer science training in an interactive environment, check out the Full Stack Web Development Certificate from Noble Desktop. This in-depth program gives participants all the tools they need to build webpages and apps, plus training in hosting, server, and network environments. Featured topics include HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and MongoDB, to name a few.

Is software engineering your main goal? Consider enrolling in Noble’s Software Engineering Certificate program. Here you’ll learn front end development with JavaScript and React along with back end development using Django (Python), all taught by instructors with expertise in the field. Small class sizes and 1-on-1 mentoring mean you always get individual attention and gain essential skills in Flexbox, Grid, and Bootstrap.

If you focus your computer science training on the subcategory of data science, Noble Desktop’s Data Science Certificate gives you the skills you need for an entry-level position. This immersive program provides training in essential tools from Python programming to machine learning fundamentals. It’s a great way to prepare to work as a Data Scientist, Data Analyst, or Machine Learning Engineer.

High school students preparing for the AP Computer Science exam can benefit from Noble’s live online computer science NextGen Bootcamps. These summer classes offer an ideal way to learn disciplines like web development, Python programming, or data science in a beginner-friendly environment.

Key Insights

  • The computer science field focuses on the development and implementation of complex tools, hardware, and software systems.
  • Computer science encompasses multiple subjects, including web development, software engineering, and data science.
  • Tips for online learning success include:
    • Setting and achieving measurable goals
    • Maintaining a manageable schedule
    • Avoiding burnout by focusing on work/life balance 
  • For comprehensive training, consider enrolling in a computer science bootcamp or certificate from Noble Desktop. Top programs include:

How to Learn Computer Science

Master computer science with hands-on training. Learning how to code in JavaScript, Python, and other popular languages can pave the way to a job in tech, such as web development, data science & analytics, or software engineering.

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