Learn Robotics Programming Online Free With These Coursera Plus Courses

Learn robotics with Coursera Plus

Robotics, also known as automation, is now considered a General Purpose Technology. This means that robotics has the potential to remarkably impact the world’s progress, both socially and economically. It, therefore, becomes increasingly important to learn robotics and weigh its potential benefits in preparing today’s workforce for the technology of tomorrow. This post explores how you can kick start your career as a robotics engineer, career prospects, step-by-step guide to learning robotics programming online free, and the top online robotics courses that you can sign up and build your skills.

So, what does a robotics engineer do?

Simply put, a robotics engineer utilizes his skills to build robots and their technology for application in various sectors such as quality control and manufacturing. Some of the skills sets you will need to be a robotics engineer includes the following:

  • Knowledge in robot design
  • Ability to assemble and disassemble robots
  • Ability to carry out a research work in robotic science
  • Testing robots
  • Programming robots to perform different tasks
  • Repairing robots
  • Inspecting the different components involved in robot production and maintenance
  • Troubleshooting any malfunctions in the robots
  • Analyzing prototypes
  • Training technicians
  • Record and report keeping

Career prospects in Robotics Engineering

Robotics engineering is considered a high-end profession in the tech world. There are amazing job opportunities awaiting you after attaining your robotics skills. As a robotics engineer, you can work in the manufacturing sector, medical field, automation sector, life science, aerospace engineering, and agricultural sector among others. And there is a great demand for robotics engineers in the gaming world and manufacturing units too. With great merits, you can land yourself a dream job at top organizations like NASA, Boeing, and ISRO.

Job profile of a robotic engineer

You can take up the following job profiles upon completing your robotics training. You can get placed as robotics analyst, test engineer, robot design engineer, senior robotics specialist, robotics system engineer, robotics programmer, aerospace engineer, and quality assurance technician among others.

Learning robotics online free: Can I learn robotics online for free?

Building and deploying robots can bring lasting fulfillment and even become a rewarding career. If you are asking the question “can I learn robotics online for free?,” the best way to get started is to develop your proficiency in computer science, programming, linear algebra, and physics. From here, you can sign up for free online robotics classes, participate in clubs and competitions, and build your basic robotics skills over time. Regardless of your age or background, you can actually learn robotics engineering online free.

Start off with the basics

Start off by practicing basic programming so you can program your own robots. Programming is a foundational element of robotics, and you will need to master how to create conditional statements, use variables, functions, and other basic coding skills. Choose a programming language and study it to boost your skills.

Here are some of the most important programming languages for robotics.

Learn linear algebra

Learning linear algebra will greatly prepare you for building robots. Basic algebra is important for both programming your robots and tweaking their codes. So be sure to sign up for algebra courses to strengthen your mathematical skills.

Study physics as a background for learning robotics

Part of building robots involves an understanding of how your robot will move and execute its functions. Therefore, it is important that you have some knowledge of physics.

Study computer science

There is a strong connection between robotics and computer science. A strong understanding of computer science will help you learn robotics with much ease.

Take robotics courses

While you can study robotics on your own, you can master advanced techniques with much ease when you sign up to learn robotics programming online. There are several online robotics courses that you can enroll with to develop your skills. Some of these courses are free while others are paid

Top 6 programming languages for robotics

There are hundreds of programming languages out there. In this section, we discuss some of the most popular robotics programming languages that can put you on the right path to becoming a robotics engineer. Each language comes with its merits and demerits.

6. Scratch

One of the newest programming languages, Scratch is used by thousands of robotics programmers around the world every year. This is a visual programming language that is designed for new programmers – targeting 8 to 16 year-olds. It is the ideal robotic programming language for robotics clubs and school technology classes.

With Scratch, all a programmer needs to do is drag and connect blocks together. Scratch is written in by combining Squeak, JavaScript, and ActionScript.

While you are not going to write any industrial robot program in Scratch, it is an excellent programming language for beginners seeking to build a future in robotics engineering.

Here are a few Scratch Courses worth checking out:

i. Programming with Scratch from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

ii. Basic Game Development With Levels Using Scratch


MTLAB (and its open source siblings like Octave) are quite popular with robotics engineers for developing control systems and data analysis. MATLAB is extensively used in research and data processing as well as in some university courses.

Additionally, there is a Robotics Toolbox for MATLAB that you can learn for purposes of robotics engineering. If you want to analyze data, generate advanced graphs, and implement control systems, then you better learn MATLAB.

Here are beginner MATLAB courses worth checking out:

i. Introduction to Programming with MATLAB by Vanderbilt University

ii. MATLAB Programming for Engineers and Scientists from Vanderbilt University

iii. Data Processing and Feature Engineering with MATLAB by MathWorks

4. C#/.NET

C# is a Microsoft powered proprietary programming language. We are including it in this list for these two reasons:

  1. It is the main programming language for Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio. Thus, if you are going to use this platform for building your robots, then you will definitely need to learn C#
  2. It forms the basis for some Virtual Reality engines like Unity, which is increasingly growing in popularity.

C# is quite difficult to learn thanks to its complexity. It is recommended that you learn C and C++ first before getting to C#.

Beginner C# Courses worth checking out.

i. Introduction to C# Programming and Unity from University of Colorado

ii. Programming in C#: A comprehensive approach to C# Fundamentals

iii. C# Programming for Unity Game Development from University of Colorado

3. Java

If you are coming to robotics from a computer science background, you already have knowledge of Java. Java is an interpretive language, meaning that it is not compiled into machine code. Rather, the Java Virtual Machine interprets the instructions at a time, allowing you to implement the same code on multiple machines.

Java is one of the main languages of several modern AIs, like IBM’s Watson and AlphaGo.

Best beginner Java Courses to check out:

i. Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals by Duke University

ii. Object Oriented Programming in Java by Duke University of California San Diego

iii. Object Oriented Java Programming: Data Structures and Beyond by UC San Diego

2. Python

Python is currently one of the most popular programming languages, not only for robotics but other applications as well. One of the reasons why it is highly used in robotics is because Python and C++ are the two main programming languages found in ROS. Additionally, Python is quite easy to use. Like Java, Python is an interpreted language.

There are also tons of free Python libraries, meaning that you do not have to “reinvent the wheel” when you need to implement some of the basic functionalities. And since Python allows simple bindings with C/C++ code, you can implement performance-heavy parts of the code to avoid performance loss. With more and more robotics-friendly electronics now backing Python “out-of-the-box” (like Raspberry Pi), you are likely to see a lot more Python in robotics.

Best beginner Python courses with checking out:

i. Python for Everybody by University of Michigan 

ii. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) by University of Michigan

iii. Crash Course in Python by Google

C/ C++

Most robotics engineers agree that C and C++ are the number 1 programming languages for robotics. Why? Because most hardware libraries used in robotics use either C or C++ programming languages. These languages allow interaction with low-level hardware, allowing for real-time performance. Besides, these are very mature programming languages. Given that robotics is very dependent on real-time performance, C and C++ are probably the closest thing that robotics engineers have to “a standard language.”

Best beginner C/C++ courses worth checking out:

i. Introduction to Programming in C from Duke University

ii. Project: Creating Your First C++ Application

iii. C++ For C Programmers, Part A by University of California Santa Cruz

Online Robotics courses on Coursera Plus: Are they worth it?

If you are looking for University and Graduate-Level online robotics courses, then Coursera is the platform for you. However, learning robotics online with Coursera can get quite expensive if you do not have the willpower and dedication to follow through with your learning.

This is where Coursera Plus comes in. Rather than paying for each course separately, Coursera Plus allows you to access a collection of 3,900+ courses for $399 per year. This is a great deal if you want more time to review the course materials and do not want to feel  “rushed” to complete your desired course within the estimated course schedule.

Some organizations pay for Coursera Plus plan as part of their Personal and Career Development Plan. Still some organizations have access to Coursera for Business, so it is worth discussing your learning needs with your team leader.

Ready to start learning? Here is a look at some of the best online Robotics courses you can access with your Coursera Plus subscription.

I. Manufacturing and Automation

Coursera Plus offers two manufacturing certifications. One certification focuses on product innovation and generative design while the other is designed to help you improve your CAD and digital manufacturing skills.

If your goal is to work in a factory with automation equipment or industrial robots, then taking manufacturing courses will be fundamental to your ability to earn a promotion.

However, if your desire is to work on “hardcore” software engineering for robotics, then you are better off looking at the following certifications:

This robotics course from AutoDesk is recommended if you are looking to expand your engineering knowledge in the manufacturing niche where robotics and industrial applications are involved. The course comes with four courses:

  • Generative Design for Additive Manufacturing
  • Generative design for performance and weight reduction
  • Generative design for industrial applications
  • Generative design for part consolidation

This six-month course is recommended if you want to acquire tactical design engineering skills that you can directly transfer to your manufacturing role. Both this specialization as well as Autodesk Generative Design certification offers additional Autodesk Credentials that include a digital badge certificate. This course comes with the following modules:

  • Introduction to Digital Manufacturing with Autodesk Fusion 360
  • Autodesk Fusion 60 Integrated CAD/CAM/CAE
  • 3D Model Creation with Autodesk Fusion 360
  • Manufacturing Process with Autodesk Fusion 360

II. Electronics and Embedded Systems

If you are looking to start a career in sensor design, communications, embedded drivers, and electronics, then you need to sign up for the following online robotics courses on Coursera Plus. These courses will help you gain tactical skills for building hardware-software projects in the fields of mechatronics and IoT.

This course will help you gain a good grasp on how to use both Raspberry Pi and Arduino platforms to design and prototype IoT devices. The course comes with the following six modules:

  • Introduction to the Internet of Things and Embedded Systems
  • The Arduino Platform and C Programming
  • Interfacing with Arduino
  • The Raspberry Pi Platform and Python Programming for the Raspberry Pi
  • Interfacing with the Raspberry Pi
  • Programming for the Internet of Things Project

If you are interested in learning how circuits, sensors, and electronics are designed, then you need to register for this course. This course counts towards the 100% online Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. This specialization comes with the following four modules:

  • Sensors and Sensor Circuit Design
  • Motors and Motor Control Circuits
  • Pressure, Force, Motion, and Humidity Sensors
  • Sensor Manufacturing Process Control

III. Robotics, Motional Control and Planning

The final section of Coursera Plus robotics courses is based on robot motion planning, control, self-driving cars, and advanced algorithms.

If you are looking for theory-based courses that will help you advance your engineering career in robotics, then here are the online robotics courses for you.

Offered by University of Pennsylvania, this robotics course is highly recommended for beginners. You will gain a range of robotics experience – from Aerial Robotics to estimation and motion planning. This is especially important if you are interested in high-tech robotic systems or roles in writing propriety algorithms for start-ups.

This course comes with the following six modules:

  • Aerial Robotics
  • Computational Motion Planning
  • Mobility
  • Perception
  • Estimation and Learning
  • Capstone

If you already have some knowledge of robotics, then you might want to check out this Northwest University offered robotics specialization. Here, you will gain an in-depth study of kinetics, dynamics, motion planning, and control of mobile robots and robot arms. This course comes with the following modules:

  • Foundations of Robot Motion
  • Robot Kinematics
  • Robot Dynamics
  • Robot Motion Planning and Control
  • Robot Manipulation and Wheeled Mobile Robots
  • Capstone Project, Mobile Manipulation

Finally, if you are interested in building software for self-driving cars, then you would want to check out this program. The premise of this certification is built around competencies in advanced mathematics, sensors, and software engineering. You will be required to invest a lot of time polishing your logical thinking and software development skills. This is a great starting point if your desire to work for an automotive company like Tesla, or on the latest-and-greatest autonomous vehicles. This online robotics course comes with the following modules:

  • Introduction to Self-Driving Cars
  • State Estimation and Localization for Self-Driving Cars
  • Visual Perception for Self-Driving Cars
  • Motion Planning for Self-Driving Cars


Robotics courses introduce you to how robots detect and reason with the world around them, how they execute three dimensional movements in a dynamic environment and how they run or fly to perform intended functions. As you learn robotics programming online for free, you will be exposed to real world examples with drones, driverless cars, and legged robots. Most of these courses come with capstone projects that enable you to learn how to program robots to execute a range of both in structured and unstructured environments.

Sign up with Coursera Plus today and kick start your career as a robotics engineer. 

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