Nobody needs a degree to learn web design. It’s a skill that anyone can learn with time and perseverance.
But the right learning materials can help a lot and drastically speed up the learning process. I’ve organized the best video learning sites with top courses on web design & development. These courses are the best money can buy and just like anything else, you get what you pay for.
I’m only focusing on premium courses so this guide is for anyone serious enough about learning to invest into their education. Thankfully these courses are super cheap compared to college tuitions and I guarantee you’ll learn more by following these exercises than sitting in a classroom.
Everyone knows about Lynda because it’s the #1 tech learning resource online. You can pick up everything from Microsoft Word/Excel to the most detailed drafting/design programs.
They have a huge web design course with a few different learning paths. You can choose to learn actual design with Photoshop and how to wireframe UI/UX templates from scratch. Or you can focus more on coding with HTML/CSS and build your websites.
Or if you’re daring enough you can learn both!
Lynda’s courses are massive and you’ll always find newer versions released over time. In fact, every year they publish a new training course for all the Adobe software teaching the fundamentals along with the newer features.
Web designers only need to really learn a few programs:
- Photoshop or Sketch(for mockups)
- Illustrator(for vectors/icons)
- After Effects(for UX animations)
But Lynda even has training programs on WordPress for website maintenance and UI/UX tools like InVision if you want real professional skills.
Plus you only pay one monthly subscription to gain access to all these courses at once. A sweet deal for a beginner on a budget who wants to explore all avenues of web work.
Another company with a massive video library is Pluralsight. They recently merged with Digital Tutors bringing design/creative courses from that site into the more technical Pluralsight library.
So now you can find absolutely everything you need from this one incredible company. And, of course, Pluralsight has a web design course made to bring you from a complete novice to a pro.
These courses all go into detail about different subjects like A/B testing, responsive design, and Photoshop for web designers. You can check out videos on Digital Tutors if you want to compare, but for the most part these two sites offer the same content.
Now it’s much easier for anyone who wants to pick up both coding and design skills. Pluralsight can teach both in spades and you’ll find courses from all background of beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
Pluralsight’s video quality is on par with Lynda but doesn’t cover as much depth(in my experience). They’re still an excellent resource for learning and with one monthly fee you get access to all video courses.
If you prefer the payment model of buying only what you need then Udemy may work better. It’s a huge online resource library selling professional courses made by others.
Udemy does have a large web design category listing all the best courses from dozens of talented educators. You can study WordPress, landing page design, and web hosting all from one site.
Aspiring web designers will be most interested in the course titled Master Web Design in Photoshop. This is still the industry standard even though Sketch is rapidly growing. But if you learn Photoshop for web design you can use it for pretty much every website you make.
Udemy’s courses vary in pricing so you may find some that only cost $15 while others cost well over $100. These prices differ based on the quality and how much content you’ll receive.
Every course I’ve studied from Udemy has been pretty good. However you have to check the user reviews before grabbing a course. These will tell you what the course is about & if it actually teaches anything you need to learn.
I definitely like Udemy’s library but it can be hit or miss. Give it a shot if you’re looking for a variety of courses without the monthly payments.
Another site modeled after Udemy is Skillshare. They support multiple tutors and have a more rigid submission guideline, but their content is also sporadic and varies in quality.
Skillshare is a much cheaper alternative than most premium learning sites. With annual billing you can get it at $8/mo which is a whole lot cheaper than Lynda or competitors. But with Skillshare you also have to judge each course based on quality and reviews.
The site has a massive web design category and it’s much more up-to-date than the larger sites.
You’ll find amazing video courses on Sketch 3, InVision, and other software for ancillary design features like icons & banners.
But even though Skillshare is cheap and has tons of variety, it’s also a bit lighter on content. The courses average close to 1-2hrs total which is much shorter than Lynda courses which can push 5+ hours long.
Within these shorter courses you’ll be learning about more refined topics so there’s room to get into detail. This style of learning feels like mini-lessons on smaller subjects that build into knowledge over time.
If that sounds interesting then definitely give Skillshare a try. You can obviously browse for free and the site offers a free trial period for the first month. When you sign up you’ll also get discounts from major software companies like Adobe.
To learn more check out the signup page to see what you get and what Skillshare can offer.
If you’re only interested in Sketch then you won’t wanna waste any time. Sketch Master is a focused design course made to help you master the fundamentals.
Sketch is a Mac-only program and it’s widely regarded as the best program for designing interfaces. Web and mobile app designers both adore Sketch, so if you’re using OS X then you might prefer Sketch over Photoshop.
Sketch Master has two different courses for different experience levels:
- Getting Started with Sketch(beginner)
- User Experience Design in Sketch(intermediate)
These courses are surprisingly cheap and you’ll get access to cheat sheets, project files, and extensive design assets.
Oh and you also get a 20% discount off Sketch when you sign up for this course. So it’s actually an incredible deal for newbies who have no experience but desperately want to learn.
And if you move from the “getting started” course into the UX course you’ll get a 20% off coupon for Flinto, the newest animation software for UI/UX designers.
If your primary goal is to design interfaces then Sketch is the best program to learn. It’s generally better than Photoshop in every way because it was made specifically for UI designers.
Even if you’ve never touched Sketch before I still recommend the Sketch Master course for getting started. You’ll learn everything you need to start making websites and it’s incredibly cheap with no monthly fees.
Some of the best digital design courses on Creative Live relate to photography, illustration, and yes interface design.
The site has an entire UX/web design category within their design section. Courses are split by subject matter on web design, coding, and UX design.
Every course is incredibly detailed and usually measures a few hours long. You have to pay for courses individually which can get pricey over time.
Thankfully Creative Live offers packs like this UX bundle. These can save you a lot in the long run if you plan to study multiple subjects.
You can also read reviews of these courses before buying so you know what you’re getting into. The site offers a good variety from UI/UX planning to Sketch icon design and many other features.
If you’re hoping to learn a lot about design then Creative Live is excellent. But I think it’s a better resource for one-off topics that you can’t find anywhere else.
Anyone hoping to learn the basics of web design can do that on a subscription site like Lynda and save money instead of paying for courses individually. Use this site to fill in your gaps of knowledge with specific courses.
When it comes to monthly subscription sites I have to tip my hat to the folks at TutsPlus. They have a huge library of free articles & paid video courses, all of which are insanely high quality.
The vast majority of courses cater to newbies and less experienced users. But you can find some intermediate courses on very popular topics aimed at web designers.
To view their catalog check out the courses page which has resources for coding, business, marketing, photography, and of course design. When you sign up to TutsPlus you get access to all of these videos and the newly published courses too.
I’ve found TutsPlus to have the best ratio of quality to monthly fee. It only costs $15/mo for all their videos and you’ll find courses on absolutely everything.
Note you have the option to buy courses individually if you choose. But you’ll get far more out of a monthly subscription than paying for each course separately.
If you only want to learn web development then Code School is the place to be. It’s run more like a school where you actually learn via webcasts and digital classroom settings.
But you’re not studying under professors who haven’t build a site in years. These aren’t boring college-style classes.
You’re studying under professional developers who truly know their craft and know how to teach it.
You can join Code School for free but full access to all classes costs $29/mo, or it’s a bit cheaper if you pay annually. When you join you do get access to all courses which were pre-recorded and can be watched at any time.
It’d be kinda like learning to draw or play an instrument. There’s so much to learn that you simply don’t know what’s most important or where to start. Code School can guide you through any language you want to learn and help you start building awesome projects from scratch.
In summation: amazing resource for anyone trying to learn frontend or backend development. Not useful for designers or anyone who doesn’t care about code.
Virtual Training Company
The videos on Virtual Training Company(or VTC) are high quality and widely diverse. This site has been around for well over a decade and they’ve curated a massive library of IT, database, programming, and design courses.
VTC runs on a monthly subscription plan where $30/mo gets you access to all courses in the site. The Internet category covers web design and development while the graphics page has tutorials on print & digital design. But the best VTC content is their IT/server section.
Basically anything you do on a computer can be learned from this website. VTC has a massive library and it really does branch out into every single topic you could possibly imagine.
Best of all their courses are super lengthy with many hitting 7 hours or longer. You can learn about local development with Wamp/Mamp, or launching a site on Joomla/WordPress for free. Along the way you can pick up some PHP and MySQL database setup techniques.
In my experience VTC is a much better dev/tech resource than a design resource. They are mostly a technology company so you shouldn’t expect many design courses from this site.
But you can always browse for free to see what they offer. I’d argue that Lynda or TutsPlus would be better for design-focused content, but VTC can pair nicely for server & coding courses.
Let’s say you can’t afford typical college tuition but you’d still like the college-style courses. That’s where Coursera can help.
It’s a premiere resource with a good mix of free & paid content. The vast majority of courses are offered for free and they’re filmed from major universities with top-tier professors. You get full lecture videos from every class and you’ll learn in a career-oriented manner.
But the premium courses offer a lot for your money. You’ll be able to submit homework assignments and get critiques from the class professors. And once you finish a number of courses you’ll get certificates that don’t really mean much, but still prove you went through some education.
Coursera partners with colleges & universities around the world on these lectures. So you know you’re getting high quality courses designed specifically for learning online.
Is this the best resource for newbies in web design? I’d say no. But it can supplement your learning along with other sites because Coursera offers so much variety in business, marketing, and general website design. Not to mention they have courses in quite a few languages so this works well internationally.
If you’re interested just sign up for free to see what they have.
One paid resource that’s super noob-friendly is Treehouse. The goal of this site isn’t to pump out content or reel you in with a deep course library.
Instead you pay for Treehouse to learn actionable skills that can help you build a portfolio and land you a job.
Their personal story page should be more than enough proof that Treehouse works. But the experience is a 50/50 split between their quality content and your effort to learn.
The biggest issue I have with Treehouse is the lack of design content. It seems like a great site for everyone but it’s mostly a coding-focused curriculum. This is great if you want a job as a web developer, not so great if you’re trying to make a design portfolio.
But their coding topics go deep including Python, Rails, PHP, and even courses on mobile app programming and video game programming. Absolutely perfect to help you go from a novice coder to working fulltime at a job you love.
Treehouse is also used by major companies to train their teams on new technologies so you can develop connections in the community. It’s a fantastic resource for the money but it definitely leans towards developers over creatives.
These are my top picks for premium video course sites and they’re all valuable for different reasons.
If you’re only interested in design then I’d recommend TutsPlus courses or the Lynda.com library. However if you’d rather learn to build websites then Code School or Treehouse are better in that department.
But take a look over all these sites and see if any catch your attention. Regardless of your current knowledgebase you’ll find at least one site here that’ll help improve your skills.