C# programmers are in demand. They made up nearly ten percent of all programmer job openings in 2015. More companies are taking advantage of C#’s seamless web integration, making their websites and applications meld into a streamlined user experience. Where can you acquire the skills necessary to enter this job market? Higher education can be expensive, and not all traditional universities provide worthwhile Computer Science programs; even fewer provide in-depth C# courses.
Open courses have revolutionized education. In fact, one MIT study found that students utilizing open education software learned their subjects slightly better than those attending traditional college courses. You can receive a quality technical education online, if you’re using the correct resources.
Here are the seven best places to learn C# online.
1. Microsoft Virtual Academy The best place to learn about Microsoft products is from Microsoft themselves. Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) provides a blend of online courses and live events. Anyone interested in Microsoft technologies like C#, regardless of educational background or current skillset, can enroll and receive official Microsoft Certification training at no cost. Unfortunately, the certification itself will cost you, but the resources to pass your certification test are available for free.
2. LearnCS.org LearnCS.org provides interactive tutorials that allow users to learn C# basics without downloading an IDE. You can practice coding directly in your browser. This is a great resource for those with little to no programming experience. Its browser interface gives you the opportunity to learn syntax and programming logic immediately and completely unhindered by the hassle of navigating the .NET development environment.
3. Udemy Udemy offers over 42,000 courses taught by recognized professionals and prolific teachers. It aims to bolster the skills of working professionals. Udemy allows their instructors to build their own courses, so your learning experience will be tailored by a single individual. Not all courses are freely available, however. The C# course for complete beginners, for example, is $30, and more advanced courses steadily increase in price.
4. edX edX offers courses provided by leading institutions, such as Columbia, and international organizations, like W3C, as one of the largest open education platforms. Many of the courses are free with the option of adding official edX certificates at varying costs. They offer two C# courses at the moment, both verified by Microsoft.
5. W3Schools If you have any web development experience, you are probably already acquainted with W3Schools. It’s one of the most popular web development reference sites, with hundreds of tutorials and interactive examples available for a wide variety of topics, including C#. Every resource is completely free. Although you won’t be receiving instructions or one-on-one guidance, W3Schools is an excellent choice for programmers and developers who are self-motivated.
6. Code School Code School is an online education platform for existing developers to broaden their knowledge base. If you already have some C# programming chops, Code School provides numerous .NET courses, composed of short video lessons and quizzes that serve to enrich your programming practice. Code School supplies users with hands-on projects, as opposed to simply supplying theory. Unlimited access to all of Code School’s courses will require a monthly fee, so it’s not entirely open. Some C#-related courses, such as the ASP.NET course, are available for free.
7. Pluralsight Pluralsight provides instructional videos for both technical and creative professionals. Right now, Pluralsight has six courses dedicated to C# programming. Access to Pluralsight’s courses requires either an annual or monthly fee. A year of unfettered access currently hovers around $300 with other services, such as mentoring, available at an extra cost. Pluralsight continues to grow and to partner with tech companies, so you may find the membership cost to be worth the investment.
Ultimately, how you learn is an experience only you can define. There are free and paid resources you can use online, but the fit itself is subjective. If you’re interested in learning C#, explore the seven educational platforms and services listed above. Test them out yourself and see which ones are tailored to your specific needs. You may find a mixture of paid and free resources is the right thing for you, or perhaps find success learning from an online manual like W3Schools. Either way, if you invest the proper time and energy, you will be able to learn even the most advanced C# topics online.