The search for free and good Linux Essential courses

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Linux training courses are usually extremely expensive, or extremely bad.

The search

Spamming contacts, friends and partners to no avail, the hunt is on.

Udemy, Coursera, SANS Foundation and edx are some common (non-specific) providers of courses.

The courses are in depth, some labs and assets to assist you with your studies.

If you have the cash available to invest into a SANS Foundations course then you’re going to come out on top of many other students. The problem with these providers, are they’re expensive as hell.


Udemy is a well known course provider which allows reviewed content to be published to their platform. You can find nearly anything on Udemy with a bit of searching.

There’s quite a few Linux courses and I’m going to cover the platform rather than a specific course.

The pros:

  • There’s a lot of options to chose from for any price range
  • Most of the high-rated courses are from people with experience and qualifications in the field
  • There are courses specific to distributions and certain topics
  • User reviews on ever course
  • Udemy-staff picks

The cons:

  • Although reviewed, there are still some pretty poor courses with high prices
  • No refunds
  • Most of the courses barely touch theory
  • Big mix between video, text and other content- can’t really tell how your course will be structured until after you purchase it
  • Certificates are not always included and may cost extra
  • Does not offer degrees


Coursera is another online course provider, similar to Udemy.

Where Udemy allows content and courses from the public, Coursera is primarily for companies and universities, they have in-depth courses from the likes of Red Hat, Microsoft, Google and the Linux Foundation.

Most of the content available is also free*, even ones from large corporations!

The pros:

  • Trusted, in-depth content
  • Most of the content is free
  • Lots of general and specific courses
  • Lots of distro-focused courses
  • Free certificate with any course
  • Student & enterprise options
  • Courses covering bundles of things (e.g. open-source software development from TLF includes Linux, Git, Development fundamentals, what is open-source software etc)
  • Degrees available too
  • Student discounts
  • Free 7-day trial

The cons:

  • You will need to dedicate a lot more time that other providers
  • There are no labs for non-programming topics
  • *A good portion of the ‘free’ courses require you to have a subscription, but the amount of courses doesn’t influence this you only ever pay a single fixed monthly bill


The SANS Institute is a well-known name and course by most employers, companies and groups.

SANS Foundation is a new course started with CyberDiscovery which covers the fundamentals of Linux, System security, Source management and more.

The pros:

  • In-depth
  • Labs
  • Videos
  • Mass amount of content
  • Free for students registering to CyberDiscovery

The cons:

  • Much more expensive compared to other courses


edx is another common course provider online, very heavily utilised by Microsoft for a lot of the courses they run.

The pros:

  • Used by large companies
  • Lots of courses are free, but have hiked prices for certificates

The cons:

  • Not really any fixed standards, quality of courses varies depending on the provider
  • Certificates are expensive
  • Not all paid courses include certificates

Free options

There are some great free options available to people out there, most of which are actually very in-depth and great to learn with. All of these do not include labs though, sadly.

The Linux Foundation

Learn from the best, the Linux Foundation offer courses and specialisations in fields and topics

The pros:

  • Courses are in-depth
  • Specialisations and topics
  • Great course, commonly spotted and enjoyed by employers

The cons:

  • No labs
  • No certificate
  • Manage the course yourself

LinkedIn Education

Offering loads of courses from companies and groups, LinkedIn foundation provides a lot of free in-depth courses to help jump-start careers

The pros:

  • Many free courses
  • Many more courses with LinkedIn Premium
  • Can be verified by LinkedIn employers

The cons:

  • No labs

What do I recommend

If you’re from the UK and a full-time student also enrol for CyberDiscovery for a free SANS Foundation 6-month course

I’d go ahead and take up the Linux Foundations series of courses, there are other options out there but if you aren’t eligible for free SANS Foundations TLF offers an amazing selection of Linux courses.

Any LinkedIn users, check out these courses here, they’ll look great to LinkedIn employers (also ensure you take the skill exam on your profile):

They offer a lovely wide selection of courses from people whose reputation you can quickly verify.

That’s it for freebies, TLF offers great content alongside LinkedIn

I would steer away from Udemy and edx.

I’d also go ahead and recommend Coursera, it’s a great option for £36 a month, I’d put it aside until Uni or college when you can balance education and work.

Coursera allows you to take a course from a well-established company, which can produce a certificate to be a provider to an employer.

It offers courses from the Linux Foundation, Google, Red Hat and more for you to take as well.

I’d highly recommend OSS Development, IT Automation with Python, Computer Security and Systems management alongside Getting Started with Linux Terminal if you still suck with ba/a/sh

All the courses are in-depth with many having a point of contact to talk to if you have any questions etcetera.

I also believe that labs are going to be introduced (if not already), so you should go and check it out.