Learning HTML and CSS, or hypertext markup language and cascading style sheets, respectively, is a good way to unlock opportunities in tech and nontech industries. Mastering these languages can help you advance in your current career – or change fields.
It often makes sense to learn HTML and CSS at the same time, experts say, because they work together to bring websites to life.
“HTML defines the content, and CSS defines the style,” says Christina Carrasquilla, senior lecturer in graphic information technology at Arizona State University. “So you can think of it like the structure of your bones – your bones are your definition of your content, and then how you dress and how you do your hair, that’s all your style.”
Where to learn HTML and CSS online depends on your goals and preferred learning style, experts say, as courses vary in length, cost and structure. Here are nine free and paid resources to kick-start your learning journey.
Codecademy offers some interactive lessons on HTML and CSS for free. A paid Codecademy Pro subscription – at $19.99 per month, billed yearly – gives you access to exclusive content, step-by-step guidance and unlimited peer support, among other features. Paid users who finish a course or path earn a certificate of completion that they can download. You can try Codecademy Pro with a seven-day free trial.
Laurence Bradford, the founder of the blog and podcast “Learn to Code With Me,” says Codecademy was among the resources she used to teach herself HTML and CSS several years ago.
“You may have to upgrade to get the full content, but that’s definitely still one of the foundational, great places to get started,” Bradford says.
Codecademy Pro users can enroll in career paths, one of which includes web development. There are also skills paths, including one on building webpages using HTML, CSS and GitHub. Most career paths take six to 12 months to complete, while the skills paths generally require two to three months.
The free lessons can be a good option for somebody looking to learn the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, while the career paths can be ideal for somebody changing fields.
This platform is a good resource for those interested in learning the basics of HTML or CSS or about specific components of either. For instance, there are courses on creating forms, responsive layout, and scrolling and parallax.
LinkedIn Learning is available to LinkedIn Premium users. You can purchase a monthly subscription for $29.99 per month, or a yearly subscription for $19.99 per month. Both options include the first month free. You can also pay for individual courses; prices vary. Most courses and learning paths are eligible to receive a certificate of completion.
“You could sort of mix and match and create your own course based on, ‘I need to do forms, or I want to focus on images.’ You can customize it as you want,” says Wendy Willard, author of “HTML: A Beginner’s Guide.”
The experience on LinkedIn Learning is more “self-determined,” Willard says, meaning you can jump around to different bite-sized videos as desired.
Coursera partners with colleges and universities around the world to offer online classes in a range of topics, including HTML and CSS.
Auditing many courses is free, but those who pay a fee can access additional features, including graded assignments and certificates of completion. Coursera’s annual subscription with unlimited access to courses costs $399 and has a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Coursera offers specializations, or collections of multiple courses for more in-depth study of a topic. For instance, introductory HTML and CSS courses are part of the Web Design for Everybody: Basics of Web Development and Coding specialization. The site also has opportunities to earn college credits and offers paths to full degrees.
College professors teach the courses, adding an additional layer of legitimacy to the certificates you earn, Bradford says.
“It’s something you can add to your LinkedIn or resume as a certification that holds more clout,” she says.
Treehouse offers expert-led on-demand video courses in coding and design, including courses on the basics of HTML and CSS and specific aspects of both – like using HTML to add audio and video to a webpage or creating a full-screen slider with CSS. Users practice in a browser-based code editor called Workspaces. You can enroll in a free seven-day trial before choosing a monthly subscription at $29.99 or an annual subscription at $19.99 per month.
The site is another one that Bradford used to teach herself how to code. She says it’s a good option because it offers individual courses as well as lengthier, more in-depth paths, which is helpful for someone thinking of changing career fields.
Udemy offers free courses with limited features, but those who pay get additional perks, including direct messaging to instructors and certificates of completion. Prices for HTML and CSS courses vary. A subscription is only available for businesses and those seeking specific tech certifications.
Courses are available on HTML and CSS basics but also cover more detailed topics, such as interactive videos and CSS animation.
“It’s really inexpensive to kind of work through some of their classes and is probably best for an adult learner,” Carrasquilla says.
Everything on Khan Academy is free. This resource can be a good option for adults and kids alike, Willard says. Khan Academy’s introductory courses on HTML and CSS include short video lessons walking users through the basics as well as opportunities for users to practice coding.
Willard says Khan Academy is especially useful for those starting to learn HTML and CSS, though they do offer lessons on more advanced topics. The site allows users to comment on video lessons and interact with each other.
“It’s pretty basic; there’s no ads or anything, no subscription required,” Willard says. “That’s why I say it’s good for students because you can use Khan Academy in an educational classroom without being worried about what’s showing up (in ads on) the right-hand side.”
W3Schools offers coding tutorials and reference guides on HTML and CSS. It’s free, but those who pay $95 can earn an HTML or CSS certificate after passing an online exam. Account holders can earn points for completing modules and taking quizzes.
It’s among the most popular HTML and CSS reference sites, Willard says. Users can learn the basics through tutorials or study more specific topics ranging from HTML colors and tables to CSS overflow and box sizing.
This self-paced option can work well for somebody who doesn’t want to be guided by an instructor.
FreeCodeCamp is a nonprofit community that teaches coding online, including HTML and CSS, through self-paced challenges and real-world projects. It’s free to use, and that includes its certification offerings, which take about 300 hours to complete.
FreeCodeCamp offers multiple certificate programs, with one focusing specifically on responsive web design, and users can complete individual lessons in HTML and CSS as well. Bradford notes that freeCodeCamp’s courses are very comprehensive.
“I think for somebody who is considering web development as a career – a full-on career – that would be a good place to look,” she says.
MDN Web Docs
MDN Web Docs is a good option for self-starters because it’s more text- and image-based. This free online resource is ideal for somebody who’s analytical and good at reading documentation, Carrasquilla says.
Beyond online coursework, there are other steps you can take to enhance your knowledge of HTML and CSS.
Create webpages. One way you can apply your basic understanding of HTML and CSS in the real world is to find somebody who needs a webpage created and work with that person to customize a site, Willard says.
“Don’t just make something up for yourself because (then) it’s not real-world,” Willard says.
Practice, practice, practice. One way to test your skills is by going to a webpage on a browser, then right-clicking and choosing “Inspect.” This allows you to look at the HTML behind that page.
“You can dig around in there, and you can actually go ahead and make edits. It doesn’t really change it for anybody else to see; it’s just for you to see,” Willard says. “You can play around with that.”
Carrasquilla also recommends code-editing sites such as CodePen and JSFiddle, which allow you to write HTML or CSS in your browser and see the effects as you build.
Get involved in the coding community. Carrasquilla recommends getting involved with web design and tech groups, where you may be able to participate in virtual or in-person events to practice coding.
“One of the things you might do then is get involved in a hackathon or an Adobe Creative Jam,” she says. “That’s kind of a design-for-good situation.” At these events, you can spend a few days solving real-world problems using your budding coding skills.