Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
How do you pick the best free Udemy classes when there are more than 80,000 online courses to choose from? Well, here are a few steps if you are only interested in the free courses:
- Decide your topic.
- Use the Udemy menu to drill down to the Categories.
- Search for course with the right keyword in the Search Bar.
- Click the All Filters button on the search result page.
- Apply the Free filter.
Then it’s just a few minutes of diligent sifting to find the course with the best ratings and a good number of enrollments. Use the video preview to check if the instructor’s rhythm agrees with you. The comments can also be a good pointer to the quality of any course.
I put these steps to the test in order to find the best free Udemy classes. Many of the top courses are around technology topics. And as you know, we really like to talk about tech. So here we are…
1. Before You Code: Programming 101
I am assuming you are a beginner. You have decided to test the logical side of your brain. So let’s start with the basic tools of the trade. This course does not teach you any programming languages, but instead offers a gentle introduction to the journey ahead. Like everything else, a coder sticks to some basic principles which you should always remember.
Also: Try the paid Pre-Programming: Everything you need to know before you code course if you manage to snag a discount coupon.
2. Learn Python Coding: Introduction to Python Programming
Machine learning is hot. But you can’t use machine learning unless you know how to program. Help yourself to the basics with this free guide. Python is among the world’s most popular programming languages, ranked at the top by IEEE Spectrum in 2017.
It is also flexible, as you can use Python for building desktop and web apps if you don’t want to go into machine learning. The Introduction to Python Programming covers the basics and does not ask for any prior programming experience.
3. Learn Machine Learning: The Top 5 Machine Learning Libraries in Python
As mentioned, machine learning is already shaping our lives. So grab the basics of machine learning before you dive into deep learning and AI. All three are interrelated and involve the specific set of techniques that enable machines to learn from data and make predictions.
Udemy has a big roster of excellent machine learning courses. But The Top 5 Machine Learning Libraries in Python course is a gentler introduction and comes at the unbelievable price of free. For instance, there are six lectures devoted to Scikit-Learn, which is the gold standard Python library for general-purpose machine learning and covers many common algorithms used in projects.
4. Learn Data Science: Introduction to Data Science Using Python
Data science uses statistical tools to extract patterns in big sets of data. It overlaps with artificial intelligence and machine learning, as intelligent algorithms are designed to learn more about the world around us. If you want to become a data scientist, your skillsets will include Python, R, Hadoop, and SQL. Start with this primer course (the first of a series) that will stoke your interest.
Also, look into these paid data science courses on Udemy too when you decide to go deeper into the field.
5. Get Introduced to Cloud Computing: AWS Concepts
If cloud services are the present and the future, then Amazon Web Services is at the vanguard. Amazon offers a training and certification path for learning practical skills to help manage the cloud for large enterprises. There are several in-demand niche areas like cloud architecture, container and docker technology, and even cloud backup and disaster recovery.
But this free Udemy course from Linux Academy can be the first step to gather the basic concepts. To make it easier, there are no technical explanations or definitions to memorize. It is visual and conceptual.
6. Simply SQL: Introduction to Databases and SQL Querying
I read somewhere that a data analyst who doesn’t know SQL won’t get far. But you don’t need to look that far; just see how databases are at the core of any business today. The Structured Query Language (SQL) is how you speak to databases. With SQL you can track your own data and make your own reports instead of relying on the tech department. You can even use SQL with Microsoft Excel.
This is an introductory course on Databases and SQL Querying. It is a simple walkthrough of SQL queries and how you can extract data from a database. It is just the right introduction for someone who does not have any knowledge of SQL.
8. Make Video Games: Introduction to Unity for Absolute Beginners
Unity is a complete software application for game development. An integrated development environment (IDE) like Unity is the less difficult way to design your own game. The harder way is to learn the black arts of programming languages like C++ and Java from scratch. Unity gives you many of the assets for game development along with a code editor. So the workflow is much easier.
This free Udemy course will show you that workflow, from the installation to the process of controlling game objects with code. Some experience with coding will help, but it is not essential. Also, this course is updated for 2018 with a bonus section at the end.
9. Take a Business Class: Introduction to Project Management
Take any industry, and we’ll bet that while this single skill may look good on your resume, its benefits will jump beyond that paper. If you are good at project management, you will also learn to be adept at managing risk, change, and people. Those are invaluable soft skills for today’s competitive landscape.
More than 100,000 students are enrolled in this course. You may not want to become a project manager just yet, but take this course anyway. It might give you a few insights into your own productivity.
Hard skills are the bricks. But soft skills are the mortar. You can flounder in your career if you do not develop soft skills like critical thinking and problem-solving. Today, a technology career also needs creativity and design thinking. Maybe some of these soft skills will help us save our jobs from the robots.
As the world changes every day, this course gives you a few hyperthinking tools that can help you frame a situation and think about it in a new way. With these critical thinking tools, you can take on challenges with more confidence.
Select Your Udemy Course and Dive In
These aren’t the only best free Udemy classes, of course. There are many more that are well-rated. The word “best” is relative and you will find your own picks once you work through the course roster. Free Udemy courses are a no-risk introduction to the subjects you are interested in; the only investment is time.
Do remember that learning online on your own needs a lot of self-discipline. So keep these tips in mind as you start your class.