Today we are going to talk about some of the best high school coding courses online. Teens are in the perfect place to learn programming, because their lives revolve around and depend on the use of technology, and compared to their parents’ generations, kids today are more tech savvy and likely to have an interest in programming.
While coding is intimidating, especially when starting out, pushing through the initial learning curve can yield a lifelong interest in coding, a field with interesting opportunities. According to the latest STEM stats, jobs in STEM tend to be higher paid than non-STEM jobs for college graduates. Whether taking the first steps into software engineering or coming from previous courses in computer science, we broke down some of the best online coding courses for high school students, as well as several free trials to consider, depending on your child’s interests.
Discover the best online high school coding courses
The best online coding courses, like Create & Learn’s, are taught live by professional programmers with extensive teaching experience. There are a lot of great options online for self study. We believe, however, that structured courses in small groups are best for beginner and intermediate students of any age, since one can often get overwhelmed by the details, options, and many programming languages from which to choose. Consider first your high schooler’s interest in coding. Are they total beginners? If so, Accelerated Scratch is a great place to start. Do they like graphic art and design? We have courses on digital design using Canva. Are they dedicated to video games? We have plenty of great options when it comes to game design for mobile apps and Unity. This list goes from beginner to advanced.
1. Accelerated Scratch
Studies have shown that kids, teens, and even adults can master coding concepts more quickly by starting with a block-based coding platform such as MIT’s Scratch. Scratch uses colorful blocks which click together, so that learners can build programs without needing to write code. In our live virtual Accelerated Scratch class, which caters to middle school students as well as early high school students, students will learn the most important coding concepts in eight hour-long sessions with a professional coding teacher. There's no risk in trying with our free intro session!
Best for: Beginners, Game Development, Animations
2. Python for AI
Python is one of the most interesting and in-demand programming languages, because of its ease of use and its wide applicability. Used all over the world for data science, web development, and machine learning, Python is taught in this course within a framework of its relationship to Artificial Intelligence, one of the most exciting avenues for computer science majors. Students interested in AI, Robotics, and automation will benefit from this course aimed at giving older students an introduction to text-based programming.
Best for: Beginners and Intermediate; Students keen on AI, Robotics, and Data Science
3. Build Your Web
Best for: Web development, Internet networking, Website design
4. Java Primer with Android
Students will learn the basics of Java syntax and more! Then, they'll conquer the type of Object-Oriented Programming that is critical for success in Android mobile app development. High schoolers will learn to design Android front-ends for the objects and programs they write. With this approach, students will see first hand what it means to develop modular, portable objects, and what software reusability looks like in real life.
Best for: Java Fundamentals, Android Mobile Development
5. AI Creators
AI Creators provides students with the opportunity to create simple and practical AI apps using a variety of tools - from the Python coding language and open source packages to commercial AI. By the end of class, students will achieve a firm foundation in key technical concepts used in coding AI, and creating models representative of a variety of data, including medical imaging datasets (pneumonia, Covid-19, and the like), and so much more.
Best for: AI apps, Python
6. Cloud Computing for Web Apps
Cloud computing allows developers to power most Internet websites and mobile devices today. In this class, students will learn how to build interactive web applications using the Google Cloud Platform and Firebase. These tools are used by pro developers, and by the end of the class your students will be able to host their own websites and launch web apps.
Best for: Intermediate Students, Learning Mobile Development
7. Unity Game Development
Unity is the most commonly used game design tool in the world. In this course, students learn how to use the engine that built popular games such as Angry Birds, among others. If your highs chooler loves games, this would be a perfect course to begin with. No previous experience in coding is required. This series of Unity classes instructs students through the core techniques of developing both 2D and 3D games in Unity.
Best for: Game development
8. Computer Science Principles
Discover a wide range of important fundamental topics in computer science such as binary, encryption, networking, and more. Developed by expert AP computer science educators, the class also meets the requirements for the APCSP exam as defined by the College Board. APCSP is a fairly manageable exam to pass for high school, and even middle school, students who have done a couple of years of coding and have a solid foundational understanding about computer science principles.
Best for: Computer architecture
9. AP Computer Science Java
AP Courses are a great way for high school students to get ahead in their academic career. In AP Computer Science A, students learn the fundamentals of Computer Science entirely within the Java programming language. A high grade on this AP exam allows students to get university credit in high school and it looks great on college applications. In this course, high school students will have the opportunity to work with a tutor on the core requirements of the course and how to get a 5 on the test.
Best for: Advanced students looking to succeed on the AP exam
10. Data Science with Python and Pandas
Data science is one of the most rapidly growing fields in tech. Data analysts learn how to analyze and research large amounts of data using languages such as Python and Pandas, and they are essential in communicating complex information to various stakeholders who may have little technical knowledge. Storytelling and communication are soft skills that make data analysts shine, and in this course, we work both on how to manage large datasets and how to communicate our findings with others.
Best for: Data Science, Python, Web Development
High school coding curriculum: What you need to know
High school is the perfect place for teens to get started in coding or delve deeper into its mysteries. Whether new or experienced, taking a coding course is a big step in finding out more about an exciting career in computer science. If you are serious about majoring in Computer Science then you should take every STEM course your school has to offer, and in particular you should think about doing AP Computer Science A, an AP Math class, and an AP science class to round out your application.
It’s never too early to start, and we suggest encouraging an interest in STEM and coding from the earliest age possible. If you need more guidance, you can check out our suggestions for helping high school students to learn coding and a guide from code.org for Middle School students.
Free coding programs for high school students
These free trials are a great opportunity to test the water and see if your child would benefit from having a live coding class with a professional educator without the pressure of committing.
1. Free High School Scratch Intro
In this free Scratch coding class, you will learn how to use Scratch, practice core coding concepts, and build an impressive project in just under an hour. It's great for both middle schoolers and high schoolers. You'll see their confidence and interest in coding soar!
2. Free Introduction to Python
In this free Python coding class, students take their first step with Python. Students will animate and draw with Python, and they will make their own story project to create a cool animation. This online, small group Python class is led by an experienced teacher.
3. Meta’s Engineer for the Week
Meta’s Engineer for the Week (EFTW), designed by the Meta team for students ages 11-18, provides a pathway for students to contribute to their communities. Create & Learn's live online classes for the program include 15 hours of fun training and hands-on coding experience, where students will design games and mobile apps. Their final project, focused on a project they care about, will be reviewed by a Meta employee. Students who complete the program will receive a Certificate of Completion!
Learn with the best high school coding courses
We hope this helps you better understand coding for teens. Consider starting slow. We strongly suggest working in a structured classroom environment when first trying online coding classes for teens, so that students don’t lose interest or get frustrated. Any student can become a successful programmer with a little patience and creative problem solving. Up next, learn how to start a coding club at your high school.
Written by Bryan Gordon, a Create & Learn instructor. After ten years of working as an English teacher, Bryan began studying Math and Computer Science over the past few years. Aside from writing and teaching, he likes cooking, gardening, playing guitar, and hanging out with his cats, Baguette and Wally.