Best Online App Development Courses

by Liz Hurley

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The market for mobile apps keeps growing. And it’s no wonder, considering about 85% of the world’s population owns a smartphone.

It’s easier than ever for you to start building your very own app. With a ton of online courses, and a bunch of tools and programs that require little to no technical expertise, app development is open to all.

With so many great courses to choose from, it can be tough to find the best app development course for you. Which is why I’ve compiled a list of the top app development classes for every type of need.

So go ahead and give this article a read. You might just find yourself creating Silicon Valley’s next big thing.

What is the best online app development course?

My top 10 picks are:

  1. Learn Swift (Codecademy)
  2. Meta React Native Specialization (Coursera)
  3. Android Basics with Compose (Google for Developers)
  4. Develop Apps for iOS (Apple Developer)
  5. CS50's Mobile App Development with React Native (edX)
  6. The Complete Android 12 & Kotlin Development Masterclass (Udemy)
  7. Build a Mobile App with Google Sheets on Glide and No Coding (Coursera)
  8. Build an Intermediate iOS App with SwiftUI (Codecademy)
  9. How to Make a Social Networking App – Android App Development (Udemy)
  10. iOS Developer (Udacity)

Learn Swift from Codecademy is my top choice. This is because so much effort has been put into making the learning space intuitive and fun to use. It doesn't just teach you all the app building essentials, but makes that process as engaging as possible.

A close second is Meta’s React Native specialization (from Coursera). Designed for absolute beginners, this course teaches React Native, a language that works across different platforms, so you don’t have to be hemmed in from the start. 

It’s flagged as taking 8 months to complete. But it’s possible to finish a lot sooner to save money on the monthly cost. It's thorough, in depth and yet its bitesize lessons mean each step along the way is anything but daunting. 

In the third slot is Google’s very own Android Basics with Compose. It makes sense that a course made by Android developers themselves should be as up-to-date and comprehensive as Android app classes get. What gives it a slight edge over Apple’s similar course for iOS is that it requires no prior coding skills. And Android provides access to a larger audience.

However, no two app development courses are the same. With multiple programming languages, platforms, app-making methods, and learning levels, my mini reviews will guide you to the specific course that’s just right for you.

Best free online app development course

Best online app development course reviews

1. Learn Swift (Codecademy)

codecademy app development learn swift

Platform: Codecademy | Teacher: Kenny Lin | Length: approx. 25 hours

Have an app idea you want to try, or just curious and don’t know where to start? Codecademy has you covered. With over 45 million users, Codecademy is one of the biggest online coding platforms, and it’s easy to see why.

It's packed with videos, quizzes, and the opportunity to start coding with live feedback straight away. And best of all, it’s free.

You’ll learn to:

  • Use Swift, Apple’s very own programming language, designed to be super easy to learn, even for a complete beginner
  • Design and make your first mobile app that doesn’t just work, but looks great too
  • Implement essential app design features from interactive graphics to clickable text content


  • Codecademy is designed for beginners and is as user-friendly as it gets
  • Over 142,000 people have enrolled on the course. With an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5: it really is the go-to for learning Swift
  • Swift is a programming language designed to be learnable for everybody, not just tech professionals


  • Only covers Swift, so if you are looking to learn another programming language, you might want to look elsewhere
  • Though the course is free, a lot of the best content, including assessments and example projects, is only accessible through a paid subscription to Codecademy

Who it’s for: Made for the complete beginner to app development, this course teaches the ins-and-outs of Apple’s very own user-friendly coding language Swift. This course is guaranteed to dispel any doubts that coding isn’t for you. 

Overall: It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular app development courses out there. As soon as you visit Codecademy, you realize just how much effort they’ve put into making the learning space intuitive and fun to use.

2. Meta React Native Specialization (Coursera)

Meta React Native app development course

Platform: Coursera | Teacher: Meta | Length: 8 months at 6 hours a week

A lot of app development courses teach a programming language only usable for one platform, like Android or iOS. Not so with this course. Designed for absolute beginners, this course teaches React Native which works across different platforms. So you don’t have to be hemmed in from the start.

A completion time of 8 months makes this course as thorough as a beginner course gets. Yet its bitesize video learning method means each step along the way is anything but daunting. 

You’ll learn:

  • Programming basics, including how to make a perfectly designed user interface for your app
  • The concepts and tools needed to move your apps across different platforms
  • To design and make your first app with React. So you’ll come out of the course with a fully finished project, as well as the general know-how


  • Taught by the team over at Meta, so you’re learning from the best
  • Features practice based projects
  • Finishing the course means coming out of it with your own app, and official certification – great for future employment


  • Though React is super flexible, if you’re looking to build apps for specific platforms (e.g. Android devices), it might be best to go straight to platform-specific programming languages
  • You pay for the course monthly, so if there's a delay in completion it could work out expensive

Who it’s for: If you’re completely new to app-making, and want to start from the very beginning, this course is for you. Allowing you to make and move apps between platforms, you’ll have the room you need to experiment and explore.

Overall: One of the more extensive courses on this list, these classes still manage to be completely beginner-friendly. They take you step by step through the process of making apps using React. 

With a Coursera subscription, you’ll be able to access the best this course has to offer, as well as the thousands of other courses on all sorts of topics.

3. Android Basics with Compose (Google for Developers)

Android basics app development course

Platform: Google for Developers | Teacher: Google | Length: estimated content totaling 110 hours

Android is the world’s largest mobile operating system, with an estimated 2.5 billion registered devices. Have an app idea you want to reach a large audience but don’t know where to begin? There’s no better starting point than a course taught by Android developers themselves. 

A complete beginners course, Android Basics takes you through how to use their coding language Kotlin, and their toolkit Compose. And it's all completely free. You don’t even need to sign up, you can start learning instantly.

You’ll learn to:

  • Write several programs using Android’s very own coding language Kotlin
  • Make apps users can interact with, like all the apps you use yourself
  • Understand the ins and outs of app and data management, so you can build an app for the long term


  • Offers content for all kinds of learners. From videos and quizzes to coding tasks with live feedback. So you can learn by making mistakes, which is all part of the process
  • Taught by the people who helped make the tools they teach, so you’re guaranteed up-to-date info taught by those that know it best
  • Completely free


  • Takes you deep into Android-only tools, skills that might be hard to transfer to other platforms
  • The sheer amount of content can be slightly overwhelming, so it’s good to remember it’s self-paced, and you can dip in and out as you wish

Who it’s for: Those with little to no programming experience who have the desire to build apps for one of the largest app markets. The sheer length of the course is sure to take you from zero skills and a desire to make an app, to making that app a reality

Overall: Made by Android developers for the next generation of Android developers, this course is sure to provide content at the forefront of new programming developments. With only the expectation that you can turn your computer on and off, this course and its over 100 hours of content is sure to bring your app project idea to life.

4. Develop apps for iOS (Apple Developer)

Develop apps for ios

Platform: Apple Developer | Teacher: Apple | Length: estimated completion time of 14 hours 20 minutes

It wouldn’t be fair to not include Apple’s rival course to Google. Again completely free, this course is for slightly more experienced developers that are new to iOS app-building. Android might have the most users, but iOS users are on average more engaged – and spend more money – with their apps.

If you want the prestige of getting your app idea made for Apple devices, then this course might just be for you.

You’ll learn to:

  • Use Apple’s own programming tool Swift to make professional looking apps that’ll impress your users
  • Build an app that can handle a growing user base, so you can not only dream big, but plan big
  • Use Pro app design, navigation, and how to build different forms of media like audio and text


  • If you are already a developer, this course cuts straight to what makes iOS and its tools different, so you can quickly pick up the skills you need
  • Each step is only minutes long, so you can go at your own pace – the density of the course means you’ll cover all you need to know in no time
  • Gives access to lots of resources, including video tutorials, for further development


  • Heavily text based and quite dense, so you have to be a little proactive. Each step being bitesize makes it a lot easier, though
  • Only a beginner course in the sense of being a beginner to iOS, some previous development knowledge is required

Who it’s for: Those who have maybe already built an app elsewhere, and want to break into the Apple market. If you have a little tech know-how, and want to take those skills to a professional level – this course packs all you need in under 15 hours.

Overall: There’s few iOS development courses out there that offer such detailed and specialist knowledge at zero cost – and from the iOS developers themselves no less. This course wins the contest for most value contained within such a short amount of time.

If you have some development skills already, and want to get that app made on iOS fast, look no further.

5. CS50's Mobile App Development with React Native (edX)

CS50 mobile app development course

Platform: edX | Teacher: Harvard University | Length: estimated completion time of 13 weeks at 6-9 hours of weekly work

EdX is a learning platform that takes university-taught courses and makes them accessible for all. Hence the quality of the course materials here, taught by Harvard professors. 

With video lectures and step-by-step coding guides, this course is as engaging as it gets – offering those with a few coding skills the perfect introduction to mobile app-making.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use React Native, allowing you to build apps across different platforms to reach a larger audience
  • All the latest updates to the coding languages taught, so you don’t have to waste time filling in the gaps
  • How to maximize app performance to the highest standards


  • The course materials are completely free to access
  • Quality content, not only taught by Harvard experts, but signposted with fun quizzes along the way, so what you learn sticks
  • Provides access to various online communities like Discord and Facebook, so you can talk directly with classmates and help each other out


  • The course is archived, so it is no longer possible to get assignments marked by professors
  • Assumes pre-existing coding basics, so is not for a complete beginner

Who it’s for: Those with a little coding experience, who are looking to create apps that can reach the public. Teaching how to make apps across platforms, and going into the details of app management, this course is perfect for those looking to take their apps to the professional level they deserve.

Overall: With a keen focus on how to build apps for the long term, this course offers impressive expertise on running apps professionally.

But you don’t need to be a genius to take this course, only a very basic level of coding knowledge is needed. And if you are a complete beginner, edX provides access to a course taught by the same people that is a perfect primer, so there’s nothing holding you back.

6. The Complete Android 12 & Kotlin Development Masterclass (Udemy)

Complete android masterclass app development course

Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Denis Panjuta | Length: video content totaling 47 hours

Beginner courses are often a stepping stone for the next phase – not so with this course. These classes go from beginner to advanced, so by the end of the course you won’t hesitate in calling yourself a developer. 

In-depth without being overwhelming, this course is expertly curated with a range of different content, to make the journey not just highly useful, but super enjoyable too.

You’ll learn:

  • To create not just one app, but several, including a drawing app and a weather app, giving you flexible and dynamic skills
  • How to master the programming language Kotlin 
  • Data storage and management, and how to use third-party services to manage your app for a widening audience


  • An impressive amount and variety of learning content, including access to all code used on the course to give you that extra boost
  • A variety of exercises for a range of learners means that what you’ll learn will stick
  • By subscribing to Udemy, you can access the course with a free trial, and if you purchase the course and don’t like it, there’s a 30 day money back guarantee


  • Will make you an Android pro, but if you’re looking to create apps across platforms, you might find this course a little too specialized
  • Despite starting from the start, the progresses quickly – great if that’s what you’re looking for, but if you’re just looking for a little taster, it might not be for you

Who it’s for: If you have no programming experience at all, but a clear long-term goal to make apps for Android, this course will take you there. If you already have some developer knowledge, you can skip over the stuff you already know, and are guaranteed to find new things to learn.

Overall: With loads of resources, video tutorials, access to all the example code, and a deep-dive into the long-term management of Android apps, this course is truly all-inclusive.

7. Build a Mobile App with Google Sheets on Glide and No Coding (Coursera)

Build a mobile app Coursera course

Platform: Coursera | Teacher: Angelo Paolillo | Length: estimated completion time of 2 hours

This course is simple, short, and super practical. In the same time it takes to watch a movie, you’ll have built a complete app – without having to learn how to use a programming language at all. 

No need to question whether you have the necessary technical skills, as you don’t need them. This course is way more than just an introduction to app-making, it’s a course that gets your app made from start to finish.

You’ll learn:

  • How to make an app using Google Sheets and the app-building tool Glide, designed to do the hard-work for you
  • An example project making a book-sharing app from start to finish
  • To distribute, install and test the app, so that you’ll have all the necessary skills to get your app ready for users


  • There’s no rote-learning here – this is a course that takes you from A to B, not bogging you down with unnecessary info
  • On completion of the course, you get a shareable certificate you can put on you LinkedIn, great for future jobs
  • All classes are completely free to access


  • Teaches you how to make simple apps without the need to learn coding, so is not suitable for those looking to be professional app developers
  • As a project-based course using Glide and Google Sheets, it is not as helpful for those looking to move onto further app-making courses using other platforms

Who it’s for: If you need to create a simple yet professional app for your business, or for a personal project, but don’t have the time, money, or the inclination to become a full-on developer yourself, these classes will take you where you need, and fast.

Overall: Provides something unique from the rest of this list. Simple, easy-to-follow instructions that, in a matter of hours, gives you all the tools you need for your project, with no need to move onto other courses . If you’re not interested in learning the ins-and-outs of app development, and just need to get an app made – and made well – look no further.

8. Build an Intermediate iOS App with SwiftUI (Codecademy)

online app development course

Platform: Codecademy | Teacher: Midge Sinnaeve | Length: estimated completion time of 12 weeks

It can be hard to find an iOS course for those who already have a firm grasp of the basics – but Codecademy has you covered. If you’re looking to further your iOS skills using Swift without having to go over well-trodden ground, look no further. And an intermediate course doesn’t have to mean a barrage of unengaging information, this course is entirely project-based, so you can learn by doing.

You’ll learn:

  • To make an example project called Cookcademy – a fun-to-make recipe app that’ll teach you essential app-building skills
  • How to make complex user interfaces and manage data, taking your basic coding skills to the next level
  • User-interactive features, such as favoriting and editing features, to upgrade your apps to a professional standard


  • Provides access to a live interactive platform for coding, so you can get instant feedback and learn fast
  • It’s completely based around one project making a recipe app, a super engaging way to learn 
  • Gives you a shareable certificate upon course completion, great for job applications and building a portfolio showing off your skills


  • The course is not for iOS beginners, but Codecademy offers a beginner course that can lead you straight onto this one, so don’t let that hold you back
  • This course is part of the Codecademy subscription, but with a trial you can test the waters for free before you make any commitments 

Who it’s for: Those looking to hone their app-building skills are well catered for here. Particularly strong on building interactive user features and storing long-term data, this course is perfect for those looking to earn their place as a professional app developer.

For those who aren’t quite there yet, there’s only one initial course on Codecademy before this one, so you’re closer to your goals than you might think.

Overall: An engaging teaching style, and a fun recipe app project, this course manages to cater to the slightly more experienced developer without being boring. With a no-jargon approach, these classes cut straight to teaching you all the cool features you need to take your app to the next level.

9. How to Make a Social Networking App – Android App Development (Udemy)

Make a social networking app development course

Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Kapil Bhattarai | Length: video tutorials totaling 13 hours 8 mins

With an estimated 4.8 billion social media users worldwide, it’s no wonder social media platforms dominate app stores. And this unique course shows you that creating your very own social media app is easier than you might think. 

With engaging, bite-sized video tutorials that take you step by step through making a social media app for Android, this course requires just a little basic coding knowledge and covers the rest. Bringing that project idea of yours to life.

You’ll learn to:

  • Master essential features that make up a social media app, including profile settings, commenting, logins – and everything else you might expect from the social media apps you use yourself
  • Transfer basic coding skills to Android specific coding skills, giving you both a broader knowledge, and an Android specific one
  • Create user interfaces for communication between app users – i.e. the stuff that makes it a social media app, not just a regular app


  • Offers one of a kind content, teaching you knowledge of social media app-building you won’t find in a more general course
  • Can be purchased singly or accessed via a subscription. With a subscription you will have access to over 10.5k other courses at no extra cost
  • Despite teaching techniques unique to social media applications, the course does not assume you’re already a coding expert. Even just a little prior coding practice will make beginning this course super accessible


  • The complex features the course teaches are tailored for Android apps only
  • Course content hasn’t been recently updated, so a small amount of the content is outdated

Who it’s for: Those with a little coding knowledge – or a lot – who have a social media project in mind, but don’t have the skills to get started. This course manages to go in-depth without assuming you’re some kind of developer-genius. 

These classes teach you some fundamentals of coding with Android at the same time as they teach you how to make a social media app.

Overall: This course might be the most specialist on this list, but its unique value really does extend beyond its compact content length time of thirteen hours. 

Teaching skills for building a professional level social media app, as well as teaching you wider Android coding skills along the way, this course really packs a punch.

10. iOS Developer (Udacity)

IOS developer Udacity app course

Platform: Udacity | Teacher: Owen LaRosa | Length: estimated completion time of 5 months

There’s a reason why Udacity calls this course a ‘Nanodegree’, it’ll really take your developing skills to a professional level. If you’re on the developer career path for the long run – this is the one of the only courses out there that’ll take you on that complete journey.

The course has 5 months worth of content that takes you through the ins and outs of app building for iOS. With real-life projects to work on, video lectures, example code text, and more – this course does more than just teach a few coding skills, it teaches you how to be an all-round iOS developer. 

You’ll learn:

  • Extensive Swift programming skills, and how to use Swift to build on the iOS platform
  • To manage, store, and analyze data to build and scale your audience 
  • All the technical skills needed to manage an app long term, like debugging and maximizing app efficiency, so you can build an app for the long run


  • The teachers always have a keen eye on any updates to Swift, and make sure to update the course accordingly, so you’re getting only the freshest content
  • Doesn’t just teach content, but teaches you how to develop long-term problem solving programming skills
  • Offers both a main pathway, and plenty of optional courses that you can tailor to your needs, such as tips for applying to relevant jobs


  • This is the most pricey course on the list, but the subscription to Udacity comes with complete access to all other courses on the platform, and the price more than reflects the quality of the course content

Who it’s for: If you have a basic understanding of Swift, and are looking to commit to becoming an iOS developer, this is the course that will take you there. 

These classes don’t just give you the knowledge needed to develop an iOS app, they equip you with the skills needed to be an iOS developer for the long term – and a good one at that.

Overall: An impressive, all-encompassing course for those in programming for the long-run. But with only a basic level of Swift programming knowledge needed to get started, you don’t have to be some kind of coding wizz-kid.

Try out the course for free, and you might just find yourself prepping for a coding job interview using this very course in no time at all.

What are the advantages of taking an online app development course?

  • Career opportunities. App market revenue is expected to reach $935 billion in 2023. So the need for app developers just keeps on growing. Why not make it your next career move?
  • Problem solving. With many of the courses on this list offering unique coding challenges and projects, app development is a great way to hone your overall critical thinking skills – not just useful for IT, but for the wider world, too.
  • It’s about learning creative – not just technical – skills. All app development courses help train your technical skills, but app-making is a creative process as well. You get to realize your project ideas, and learn how to design something that is uniquely yours.

Buyers guide: what to look out for

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all app development course. So here’s a list of things to think through to help match you with the perfect course:

  • What platform the course is for: most courses on this list teach you app building for one platform, iOS or Android. So it’s good to know which platform you might want to learn. If you’re looking to build apps across different platforms, you’ll want to pick a course that teaches a cross-platform software like React Native
  • Learning level: This list provides a mix of beginner courses and intermediate courses. But even beginner courses can require some coding skills. So it’s always a good idea to check. But don’t let it put you off, any prior skills needed are already taught on another one of the courses on this list – nothing is out of bounds.
  • Do you have the right tech for the job? For a lot of these courses, the actual app development process only requires a fairly up-to-date PC. But if you pick an Android development course, for example, you probably want to check how the app works on an actual Android phone. Take a quick check on the course description for what you’ll need.

How much does it cost?

Most of the courses on this list can be tried out for free with a trial subscription to the platform. So you can try the course out to see if it's right for you. And Google and Apple’s own classes come with no costs at all, ever.

After the free trial, Udacity’s course is the most expensive at $226 a month – but the price is more than justified by the degree-level quality of the course.

How long does it take to learn app development?

The opportunities in app development are endless. There’s always a new app idea about to be invented – perhaps by you!

Higher level courses usually take several months to complete, so if you’re looking for a quick course to get an app made pronto, Coursera’s Build a Mobile App with Google Sheets is your best option. It only takes two hours to complete.

It’s important to remember though that all the courses on this list are divided up into different learning segments, and everything is completely self-paced – you can dip in and out as you wish. The only exception is Udacity which also includes live teaching.


To sum up, I think Learn Swift from Codecademy has the widest appeal, requiring no prior coding knowledge, and providing tons of engaging interactive ways to learn.

For a more thorough and academic approach, Meta’s React specialization (from Coursera) will take you from zero to hero with React Native. This language works across different platforms, so you don’t have to be hemmed in from the start. It’s flagged as taking 8 months to complete, but with dedication and discipline it’s possible to finish a lot sooner and save money on the monthly cost. 

But as app development becomes accessible to anyone, not just IT professionals, you have plenty of options. Here I’ve picked out just the very best of each type of app development course, for each type of purpose. skip to the exciting bit.

Related articles: Best UX Design Course, Best AutoCAD courses

Online app development courses frequently asked questions

What is the best app development course?

I think Learn Swift from Codecademy has the widest appeal. It requires no prior coding knowledge and provides tons of engaging interactive ways to learn.

How much does an app development course cost?

Courses on this list vary from completely free to as little as $20. The most expensive is $266 per month but this is taught at a very high level.

How long do app development courses take?

Course length can vary from a couple of hours of video content to classes that take several months to complete – you’ll want to factor in the time it takes you to practice by yourself, too.

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