Computer networking expertise is a highly in-demand field. Understanding the ways that different devices communicate across a network, knowing how to ensure that those devices remain safe from intrusion of outside forces, and making sure that these technologies interoperate in a way that facilitates your organization’s success is an incredibly in-demand skill. But becoming a networking professional can seem like a bit of an arduous path. There is a lot to learn and surely it must be expensive to take courses that will provide the training you need to succeed.
Fortunately, that’s not entirely true. While learning the skills needed to be a networking professional can be a challenging undertaking, it doesn’t have to be expensive. The Internet is filled with many different free online networking courses that can help you to get started on your journey towards a new career as a networking professional. No longer is it a requirement to sink a ton of time and money into costly networking programs.
Finding a free online networking course that suits your needs is a great, low-impact way to take the first steps towards a new career path. That is why we’ve compiled this list of some of our favorite free online networking courses for you to browse.
1. Cisco CCNA Security
Charles Sturt Academy offers its Cisco CCNA Security course to students for free entirely online. This six week course is a great way to quickly receive CCNA certification. CCNA Certification stands for Cisco Certified Network Administrator. After completing this course you will have studied the topics in network security, network interoperability, and networking protocols needed to ensure that you are ready to take the CCNA examination. Most students who have taken the course will have gained the knowledge they need to successfully pass the CCNA examination.
The course is broken into five major categories of study: Hardening Cisco iOS Devices, iOS ACLs, Firewall Technologies, IPS, and VPN. These various topics are very important topics in modern internet security and network security courses. The final week of the course is a fifty question multiple choice test designed to test your understanding of the information contained within this course. The course is taught using webinars led by Matt Constable of Charles Sturt Academy. A separate certification is awarded to students for completing this course.
We really like this course because it allows students to be ready to take the CCNA examination in just six weeks. This is a very quick way to start yourself down the path of becoming a network professional.
- Six weeks long
- Designed to prepare for CCNA examinations
- Certificate also offered to students upon completion
- Great for those wanting a career as an intrernet security professional
- No more than 5
2. Cisco Networking Academy
One of the lead purveyors of network security certification, Cisco has been looked to as one of the most prestigious certification bodies. Earning a Cisco certification can be incredibly beneficial in the marketplace when searching for jobs. While these courses do not offer free certification, they are a great starting place for those considering the possibility of Cisco certification. These courses offered by Cisco at the introductory level are very high-quality.
Courses on offer by the Cisco Networking Academy include Linux Essentials, Introduction to Cybersecurity, Introduction to the Internet of Things, and many others. These courses range from 15-70 hours to complete. These courses are highly-reviewed and offer you a great place to start your studies in online networking. The Introduction to Cybersecurity course is offered in an entirely online format that is self-paced. A badge is awarded to those who complete the course and this course can also be used for the eventual completion of a certification.
We really like this free online networking course as it provides an opportunity to study within Cisco’s system entirely for free. Cisco is one of the main bodies that provides certifications within the tech space. Having the ability to use their courses for free is a great way to begin your network professional journey.
- Offered by Cisco
- Multiple courses on offer
- 15-70 hours to complete depending on course
- Badge available upon completion
3. Computer Networking
A course adapted from a Georgia Tech course, this Computer Networking course is offered entirely for free on the Udacity platform. This is a really great intermediate level course for aspiring network professionals. This course is made up of interactive quizzes, industry professional-led seminars, and other multimedia learning content. This course was originally part of the Online Masters Degree track for a networking degree at Georgia Tech. This course can be completed in about three months.
Topics covered in this computer networking class include Software-Defined Networking, Data Center Networking, and Content Distribution. The course is broken up into three distinct sections where each one of the aforementioned topics will be explored in-depth. Students will be routinely tested throughout the course to ensure mastery of the content. While this course is not an introductory course, it is filled with content that is helpful down the line to any working network professional. Lessons in the course include Switching, Routing, Domain Name System, Traffic Engineering, and much more. While this course does not provide certification upon completion, the knowledge gained through your studies will help you if you do choose to pursue certification elsewhere.
We really like this free online networking course as it provides free access to coursework offered in a Master’s program at Georgia Tech. Being able to access this quality of course material and lectures for free is a great way to boost your network professional knowledge.
- Based on a course offered at Georgia Tech
- Can be completed in three months
- No certification upon completion.
4. Diploma in Computer Networking
A diploma-level course, this free online networking course is made available on the Alison learning platform. Alison is a great online platform for those in search of different certification or diploma programs that are offered entirely online. This particular course, the Diploma in Computer Networking, is a great free option for those wanting to learn the basics of computer networking. Designed for beginners, this free online networking course walks students through the basics as they build out their knowledge towards becoming networking professionals. When completed with this course, you will be able to have a diploma or certification issued to you.
This course covers many of the basics and essentials of computer networking. When completed with this course you will be able to explain the functions of hubs, switches, and routers. You will also understand the structure and function of IP addresses as well as the TCP model of online communication. You will learn how DNS servers work and the role they play in networking, and you will also learn how VPNs are used to provide users secured channels of communication on the open web. These are just some of the topics covered in this course. Overall, this course acts as a comprehensive starting point for those considering a career as a network professional.
This course offered by Alison is a great jumping off point for aspiring networking professionals. Covering the basics of networking, this course will get you up to speed with the skills you need to kickstart a career and continue your studies if you so choose.
- Introductory-level course in networking basics
- 6-10 hours to complete
- Certification available for fee
5. Introduction to Networking for Complete Beginners
This free tutorial course is offered to students on Udemy. Rated over 4-stars by over 15,000 students, this course is a short crash-course on the absolute basics of networking and networking concepts. This course is designed to familiarize you with these concepts before you decide to move on to certification. This is a really strong option for those considering a career change into becoming a network professional but want to make sure that the concepts are something that they will be able to understand. This course is designed for absolute beginners and is a great starting point for anyone wanting to begin the journey to become a network professional.
Topics covered in this free online networking course include the usage of ipconfig, ping, traceroute, and other network professional tools. Students in this course will also learn the functions of a firewall and how basic network connectivity works. This course walks students through the various Cisco certificates, giving insight into which certification programs are best for which career paths. This course is taught through a series of video lectures. For an additional fee, students in this course can directly message with the instructor. Once you have completed this course, you will have the basic understanding of core network concepts at your disposal and will have a clearer picture of next steps for your career as a network professional.
We like this option as it not only provides an overview of networking basics but it also walks students through the various Cisco certifications available. Knowing which Cisco certifications are available and what career paths they are useful for is a great boost for your career.
- Can be completed in just two hours
- Covers the basics of networking
- Also covers Cisco certifications and their uses
- Does not offer a certification.
6. Introduction to Open Source Networking Technologies
Created by The Linux Foundation, Introduction to Open Source Networking Technologies is delivered on the edX platform. This free online networking course is perfect for those who are looking for a course designed to teach a variety of often-used networking technologies. This course is designed for university students, network professionals, and open source enthusiasts. The Linux Foundation has created this course as an introductory course for beginners. This course does not offer a certification at the end. While the course is entirely free, there is an option to upgrade to more premium content.
This course focuses on teaching various open source network technologies to network professionals. Through the progression of this course, students will study topics including the open source and software defined networking landscape, disaggregated hardware, network operating systems, and network controls. Students will also take courses in network virtualization, network automation, and network data analytics. Upon completion of this course, students will have a deeper understanding of the skills needed to operate a network.
We like this course as it is really comprehensive in teaching about the various free and open-source technologies out there that are employed in modern networks. Not only is the course free, this course focuses on how to use free tools.
- Focuses on open source networking technologies
- Made up of 13 chapters
- Taught on edX
7. Juniper Open Learning
Offered by Juniper Networks, Juniper Open Learning is their education service designed to offer aspiring network professionals the opportunity to enroll in a a beginner certification program. Juniper Networks is highly-regarded as one of the top places to receive your network certification. The entirety of their beginner courses are available for free. After taking the course, students are able to take the Voucher Assessment Test. If they score over 70% they receive a 75% discount on their live certification exam cost – reducing it to just $50. The course itself is free and if you score well on the exam it just costs $50 to receive your certification.
The free courses and cheap certification tests are available in a variety of different online networking courses. These introductory courses include Getting Started with Networking, Getting Started with Cloud, and Getting Started with Wi-Fi. Students can also take courses for certification in a variety of Juniper networking products. Juniper Open Learning is a great platform as it provides a straight line from free learning to certification to employment.
We really like Juniper Online Learning because it offers students free online networking courses and reduced pricing on certification. Just taking a networking course is often not enough for a career in networking, many jobs want a certification as well. That’s why it’s really great that Juniper Online Learning offers certification at a reduced rate.
- Offered by Juniper Networks
- Free introductory course
- Reduced cost for certification
8. Networking Google Cloud
Created by Google Cloud, this free online networking course is offered to students on Coursera. Created to help networking professionals become more familiar with the Google Cloud suite of networking tools, this is a great free online networking course as it helps network professionals become familiar with one of the most popular networking tools. Through the completion of this course, you will become very familiar with the Google Cloud Platform, Cloud Computing, Google Compute Engine, and the Google App Engine. These are all incredibly valuable skills to have out on the open job market.
This course is designed for the intermediate level. It’s definitely recommended that you have some level of familiarity with networking concepts before you enroll in this course. Google Cloud has designed this course to be completed entirely online at your own pace. It is estimated that the course takes about two months to complete. A certificate is offered to students at the end of the course and it is shareable. It is very easy to embed the certification onto your LinkedIn for prospective employers to see. Lessons in this course include Google Cloud Fundamentals, Defining and Implementing Networks, and Hybrid Connectivity and Network Management.
This free online networking course is great for working network professionals who want to develop an understanding of Google Cloud. Google Cloud is used by many different organizations so having familiarity with it can be incredibly beneficial on the job market.
- Focuses on Google Cloud and Google Compute Engine
- Designed for the intermediate level
- Takes two months to complete
- Shareable certificate available at the end
9. So You Want To Be A Network Engineer
Taught by a former engineer from Cisco, this free online networking course offers students the chance to develop the fundamentals needed for a career as a network professional. This course is designed to help aspiring network engineers examine the various certification programs on offer. Through examination of these certifications, students will be able to figure out which program is best for them and whether or no the fit their career ambitions. While many of the courses in this program are about the skills needed to get a network certification, this program is more focused on determining which network certification is right for you.
Each lesson in this program covers a different networking certification available. Lessons in this course cover CompTIA certification, Microsoft MTA certification, Cisco CCNA certification, and Juniper Networks certification. These different certifications all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing which network certification is right for you and your intended career path is integral for your future as a network professional.
We really like this free online networking course as it is aimed at helping aspiring network professionals determine which networking course is right for them. There are so many different certification programs available and each one can lead to entirely different career paths. Engaging in a course designed to help you figure out which one is best for you is a great first step in becoming a network professional.
- Examines the various network certifications available
- Available on Udemy
10. The Bits and Bytes of Computer Networking
Authored by Google and made available on Coursera, this free online networking course is an incredible beginner level course for aspiring network professionals. Designed to teach the absolute fundamentals of networking, this course is a great place to start your studies. Offered as a self-paced program, this program is also available to students entirely online. Google estimates that it will take about twenty-five hours to complete. Upon completing this course, students are issued a shareable certificate that can be added to their LinkedIn profile and displayed for prospective employers.
Lessons in this course cover the fundamentals of networking. Students will learn about the five-layer model of networks as well as the TCP/IP communications protocol. You will build your familiarity with networking tools used to diagnose the issues a network might be having. This course also covers DNS and DHCP, as well as other integral aspects of networking technology. Cloud computing, service computing, and cloud storage are also covered as topics in this online networking course. All in all, this course provides a foundation for further studies in networking.
We really like this free online networking course as it is designed by Google to teach the fundamentals of networking. Having a course curated by Google ensures that you are learning the concepts that one of the largest technology companies deems as important. This free online networking course is a great starting point for aspiring network professionals
- Created by Google
- Takes about 25 hours to complete
- Designed for beginners
- Shareable certificate
Are free online networking courses worth it?
We feel that free online networking courses are a great way for aspiring network professionals to get started in their pursuit of a new career path. The internet is filled with many great free online networking courses. These courses offer you insight into what a new career path might entail and what type of training is required for such a career.
Having the chance to try all these courses for free allows you to experiment with different careers within networking. This level of flexibility might be lost if you chose to sign up for a paid course.
We really recommend that you check out one of the highlighted free online networking courses above as they provide aspiring network professionals a chance build the knowledge and engage with the material they’d in their networking career.