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Programming jobs are as hot as ever and there is no end in sight. If you are looking for a secure job with the flexibility to work online from anywhere, programming is the way to go. One of the best things about the field of computer programming is that the most popular programming languages can be learned online for free. Introductory programming courses are available for learning Java, Python, Perl, C++, and pretty much everything else. In addition to free online courses, there are hosts of websites dedicated to teaching you how to code. To add top programming skills to your resume, all you need is a computer, some dedicated time and the desire to learn.

#1 – Java

A search of the most popular programming skills on Indeed.com shows that Java is at the top in terms of outstanding jobs with salaries above $100K. The Java programming language tops the latest TIOBE Index as the most popular programming language and is also the TIOBE Programming Language Hall of Fame Winner for 2015. Java runs on 7 billion devices and is used to develop native Android applications. A February, 2016 Indeed.com search for Java returned over 36,000 jobs paying over $100K per year with over 60,000 full time Java positions paying over $70K per year. Becoming an expert Java developer would no doubt put you in high demand and yes, drumroll please, you can learn it online for free.
$100K+ Programming Jobs by Language, Java 36,094, SQL, 24,411, C, 22,424, Python, 16,061, C++, 13,715, C, 8,444, Perl, 8,161, PHP, 3,825, Source:Indeed.com, February 2016, The number of $100K+ jobs appearing in the Indeed.com search result for each programming language.
Dive in with a free introductory 5-week online Java course to learn the basics. From there you can continue with additional free courses or simply work through practice assignments, progressively programming more advanced applications. Oracle provides extensive documentation, tutorials and learning tracks to help programming students and developers advance their Java skills. In addition to online documentation and study, students can join groups to learn more, network and find jobs. The Java development community is immense with an estimated 9 million developers and developer meetups can be found all over the world. One Linkedin Java Developers group has over 300,000 members with active discussions and tips for newcomers.

Select a Java course below to learn more.

Introduction to Programming with Java: Starting to Code with Java

Video transcripts of this course are available in English, Spanish and Portugese.

Introduction to Programming with Java: Writing Good Code

Video transcripts of this course are available in English, Spanish and Portugese.

#2 – SQL

SQL is the programming language for managing data. Since almost every programming application in existence interacts with data in one way or another, it’s understandable that SQL would be high on the lists of requested skills and high-paying jobs. Indeed.com lists over 20,000 jobs in SQL paying over $100K per year.

Verified, Microsoft DAT201x - Querying with Transact-SQL, Click to Enroll Now, edX, www.edx.orgStart learning SQL by enrolling in a free, self-paced online course in Transact-SQL from Microsoft. Learn how to write SELECT queries, learn various operators, functions and much more from expert instructors. In no time, you will be setting up and interacting with databases. SQL tutorials are available online and you can also practice setting up and interacting with databases using MySQL, a free, open-source database management system popular in web applications.

Enroll in Querying with Transact-SQL from Microsoft.

#3 – C

C was created in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs and is one of the most widely used programming languages of all time. It is second only to Java on the TIOBE Index of programming language popularity, with C++ and C# falling right below in the 3rd and 4th positions. C++, also created at Bell Labs, is a flexible extension of the C language that allows programmers to create applications that will run on a wide variety of hardware platforms. C#, pronounced C-Sharp, is modern, object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft.

If you are completely new to the C programming language, check out LearnCOnline.com for an introduction to the basics. Visit cplusplus.com for great C++ tutorials and examples. For expert-taught introductions to C++ and C#, enroll in free, self-paced online courses from Microsoft available on edX.org. Microsoft also offers full documentation and tutorials for C# on their developer network.

#4 – Python

What? I thought this article was about the top 3 most lucrative programming languages. Well, I’m adding in Python anyway because it’s fun and I think you will really enjoy learning it. Python was created by Guido van Rossum, a.k.a. Benevolent Dictator for Life, in 1989 and he gave the programming language its name based on his love of the Monty Python Flying Circus. If you’re totally new to Python, get started with the beginner’s guide on Python.org and then enroll in one of the free online Python courses below.

Don’t stop with just the top four. Add many more programming skills to your resume. See more free online computer programming courses at edX.org and further explore some of our Professional Certificates and MicroMasters programs!


  1. […] Java – Java is the top programming skills that is the most sought after on the most job searching websites such Indeed or Monster. They get paid over $70K+ just by being Java programming language certified which is not too difficult and time-consuming to achieve. Many finance students use Java in banks to codify their operations. Hence, finance students […]

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