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8 Best Visual Basic (.NET) Courses for 2024: Build GUI Applications

Easily develop form-based GUI applications for Windows or other platforms with these free and paid Visual Basic (VB.NET) courses.

Learning Visual Basic for the .NET framework and not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.

In this Best Courses Guide (BCG), we’ve chosen the best free and paid VB.NET courses for anyone looking to go from beginner to pro.

Whether you want to level up your career, get into coding, or need to maintain that piece of legacy code that no one has touched in decades, these courses will help you get the hang of VB.NET.

Click on the shortcuts for more details:

Here are my top picks. Click on one to skip to the course details:

What is Visual Basic (.NET)?

Visual Basic (.NET), or VB.NET for short, is an object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft. It’s a key part of the .NET (Network Enabled Technologies) framework, enabling developers to create, deploy, and manage applications across Windows, web, and mobile platforms.

Source: Microsoft – Visual Studio

VB.NET is designed to make programming more accessible for beginners, featuring an intuitive, English-like syntax and a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface for designing user interfaces. It’s also heavily integrated into Visual Studio, which is Microsoft’s one-stop-shop IDE for software development, meaning that everything you’ll need to write code professionally is all in one place. 

From a career perspective, VB.NET skills are in demand across various sectors such as finance, healthcare, and government, where .NET technologies are commonly used. VB.NET developers make $100K annually in the United States. Additionally, any skills you’ve acquired through VB.NET are transferable to other .NET languages like C# and F#, so there’s no reason not to pick up VB.NET as your first programming language. In fact, why not check out my C# and F# Best Courses Guides?

Is Visual Basic (.NET) a dead language?

Far from it. Microsoft has stated that Visual Basic is a stable language and promised to keep maintaining it as one of the three languages (C# and F#) targeting the .NET ecosystem. And while you may not find many new projects using Visual Basic, there are loads of critical government, financial, and medical systems developed in Visual Basic that require maintenance or updates. The statistics back this up — As of February 2024, Visual Basic is the 9th most widely-used programming language according to the TIOBE Index.

BCG Stats

  • The latest version of Visual Basic (.NET) is 2022. Some of the courses use VB.NET 2019, but there aren’t any fundamental syntax changes, as Microsoft is more focused on supporting the language. Visual Studio’s current UI might differ from 2019’s, so be aware.
  • Seven of the eight courses in this BCG are suitable for absolute beginners to programming.
  • Around 3K course lovers are following the Visual Basic subject on Class Central.

Best Free Beginners to Advanced Course (Kevin Drumm)

Reasons to Take
  • Uses .NET Framework 4
  • Video lectures from an experienced instructor
  • Comprehensive, covering beginner to advanced

If you want a complete all-in-one zero-to-hero introduction to Visual Basic .NET, then this is the course for you.

It’s a three-parter, covering the basics, intermediate, and advanced programming concepts. Once you’ve completed all the three courses, you’ll be able to write a complex event-driven, form-based, animated GUI application that’s able to accept user input, process various calculations, validate the results, and save them to a file, all while remaining responsive thanks to multi-threading.

Your instructor, Kevin Drumm, is a computer science teacher with close to 30  years of teaching experience, who’s been producing free video lessons since 2013. Millions of people (including myself) have benefited from his lessons, so it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong with his course.

Programming with VB.NET. Beginner’s Course

  • Visual Studio 2019 IDE: Learn how to navigate the IDE interface, manage projects, and use tools to develop applications efficiently.
  • Variables and Data Types: Declare variables and use different data types to store information effectively in your programs.
  • Conditionals: Need to account for different possibilities? Use conditionals to execute different code paths based on certain conditions.
  • Arrays and Loops: Simplify the managing and manipulating sequences of data by using arrays to iterate over those items or execute code repeatedly based on a condition.

Programming with VB.NET Intermediate Course

  • Events: Learn how to design responsive and interactive applications by using events that allow different parts of your program to “talk” to each other.
  • Functions: Functions allow you to define reusable code blocks that perform specific tasks.
  • Exceptions: Sometimes, code might fail to run, either by accident or on purpose. You’ll gracefully handle errors and maintain application stability.
  • File I/O: To store permanent data, you’ll explore the fundamentals of file input/output operations in VB.NET, including reading from and writing to files

Advanced Programming with VB.NET

  • Serialization: Learn to serialize and deserialize class instances in JSON, useful for saving or transmitting object states.
  • Delegates: Understand delegates for new functionalities, multithreading, and event handling, including their benefits and design principles.
  • Threads: Create a multi-threaded racing game, demonstrating the use of threads, custom events, and delegates for responsive applications.
Channel freeCodeCamp & Computer Science
Provider YouTube
Instructor Kevin Drumm (from ComputerScienceLessons)
Prerequisites None
Workload 6–7 hours
Views 765K
Likes 12K
Cost Free
Exercises None
Certificate None

Best Comprehensive Specialization with Paid Certificate (LearnQuest)

Reasons to Take
  • Uses .NET 5 (Cross-platform)
  • Comprehensive, covering beginner to advanced
  • Free-to-audit programming exercises and practice quizzes

Do you need a course that’s even more comprehensive than Kevin Drumm’s? LearnQuest’s Introduction to Computer Programming with Visual Basic Specialization fits the bill.

With a whopping 40+ hours of content, this course covers most of the topics needed for a successful career as a Visual Basic programmer — from the basics of computer science to the more complex programming concepts like object-oriented programming (OOP).

And best of all, the course is hands-on. There are autograded programming exercises and practice quizzes that can also be taken by auditors. No other courses in this BCG provide such useful learner feedback, so even if you aren’t paying for the certificate, you could just audit each course in the specialization individually.

Made up of four courses, here’s what you’ll learn in each:

  1. Foundations of Computer Science: You’ll get an overview of the topics a first-year CS student might learn: algorithms; computer hardware and organization; computer networks, cloud computing, and information security; systems software, databases, and automation.
  2. Introduction to Visual Basic Programming: You’ll take your first baby steps here. With a code editor of your choice, you’ll begin to write Visual Basic programs. These programs will interact with users, manage different types of data, and use basic programming structures like decision-making and loops to tackle problems.
  3. Visual Basic Programming: Classes and Collections: Dive into Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), a must-have skill for creating graphical user interfaces (GUIs). You’ll also get familiar with using UML class diagrams for planning, and explore how strings, dates, and collections can help you solve more complex problems.
  4. Visual Basic Programming: Inheritance and Polymorphism: Whereas the last three courses focused on solo coding, this course prepares you on adopting the best coding practices for team-based projects. Your team (and future self) will thank you. You’ll delve into advanced OOP concepts such as inheritance, polymorphism, and interfaces. Plus, you’ll learn how to save and retrieve data from files, a key skill for any programmer.
Institution LearnQuest
Provider Coursera
Instructor Aspen Olmsted
Prerequisites None
Workload >40 hours
Enrollments 4K
Rating 4.6 / 5.0 (81)
Cost Free-to-audit
Exercises Quizzes, Discussion Prompt,  Autograded Programming Assignments
Certificate Paid

Best Exam Preparation for Software Development Course with Paid Certificate (Phillip Burton)

Reasons to Take
  • Uses .NET Framework 4
  • Up-to-date with Visual Studio 2022
  • Practice activities and MCQs
  • Comprehensive, covering entirety of a software development exam
  • Video lectures from an experienced instructor

Prepare for the IT Specialist Software Development Certification Exam in this paid Udemy course — with no prior knowledge whatsoever.

Led by Phillip Burton, a Computing Consultant expert who’s been teaching on Udemy since 2015, this course uses a mix of video lectures, practice activities, and quizzes to help you grasp the fundamentals of programming and computer science. By the end, you’ll have all the skills and knowledge necessary to (hopefully) pass the ITS-305 and other software development related exams.

Six major topics are covered in the course:

    1. Core Programming: You’ll start by exploring the basics of VB .Net, including decision-making structures like If and Select Case, loops (For, While, and recursion), and how to handle errors.
    2. Object-Oriented Programming: Dive deeper into object-oriented programming. You’ll learn about  subroutines, functions, and classes with events and constructors, and further exploring class development through inheritance, polymorphism, and encapsulation.
    3. General Software Development: You’ll understand the application life cycle management and the role of algorithms and data structures in programming.
  • Web Applications: You’ll develop the front-end of a web application with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Meanwhile, the back-end that’ll serve content dynamically will be written in VB.NET with the help of the ASP.NET framework.
    1. Desktop Applications: After working on console-based applications, you’ll expand our skills to include Windows apps and Windows Services.
  • Databases: If you ever need to store and retrieve data permanently, databases are the way to go. You’ll cover the fundamentals of Relational Database Management Systems and dive into database query methods including the SELECT statement.

Note: Microsoft’s 98-361 exam, which the course originally targeted, has been retired.

Institution I Do Data Limited
Provider Udemy
Instructor Phillip Burton
Prerequisites None
Workload 10 hours
Enrollments 1.3K
Rating 4.5 / 5.0 (20)
Cost Paid
Exercises Coding activities and quizzes
Certificate Paid

Best Free Comprehensive Text Tutorial (Home and Learn)

Reasons to Take
  • Uses .NET Framework 4
  • Up-to-date with Visual Studio 2022
  • Text-based, with simple and conversational language
  • Intermediate programming projects and walkthroughs

If you prefer learning through reading rather than watching videos, I have the perfect, free course for you: the Home and Learn Computer Visual Basic .NET Course,

Since its launch in 2005, this course is designed for absolute beginners with no prior programming knowledge. It offers a comprehensive journey through 14 sections, guiding you from a novice to an intermediate programmer. The curriculum not only introduces fundamental concepts like arrays, functions, and object-oriented programming but also delves into essential professional skills, including database management (using Microsoft Access) and creating Windows forms. The writing style is conversational and natural, while the examples are simple to understand.

To reinforce your learning, the course provides practical programming projects and detailed walkthroughs, allowing you to culminate everything you’ve learned so far. Some exciting projects you’ll tackle include:

  • Developing an image manipulation tool,
  • Building your own email client,
  • Generating charts in VB using Excel data,
  • And an extensive guide to creating a stick figure drawing program.

You can also purchase a PDF version of the tutorial, which has received high praise from satisfied readers. One such reader, Ryan, states:

“Your information was very intuitive and the instructions were very clear. I am quite sure that a beginner could do very well with your product and I would highly recommend it to anyone as a MUST HAVE item if they wish to learn VB.NET.”

Provider Home and Learn
Prerequisites None
Workload N/A
Cost Free
Exercises Projects
Certificate None

Best Introductory Course with Paid Certificate (Walt Ritscher)

Reasons to Take
  • Uses .NET Framework 4
  • Video lectures from experienced instructor
  • Concise for beginners
  • Practice quizzes and coding challenges

If you have access to LinkedIn Learning, don’t miss out on Visual Basic Essential Training!

Walt Ritscher, a seasoned professional who has been developing applications with Visual Basic since the 1990s, leads this paid video course. Starting from the basics, you’ll learn how to build Windows forms applications using the Visual Studio 2019 code editor.

The course covers essential topics such as understanding different application architectures like console and desktop apps, and mastering VB.NET fundamentals including data types, operators, conditionals, loops, functions, and lists. And finally, to ensure your applications don’t crash, you’ll also dive into debugging techniques and learn how to handle exceptions effectively.

What sets this course apart are the challenges and quizzes designed to reinforce your learning, which most of the courses in this BCG don’t provide. Learning by doing is the best way to improve your programming skills and make them stick, so make sure to take advantage of them.

Provider LinkedIn Learning
Instructor Walt Ritscher
Prerequisites None
Workload 5 hours
Enrollments 35K
Rating 4.7 / 5.0 (380)
Cost Paid / Subscription
Exercises Quizzes
Certificate Paid

Best Free Course for Learning by Building (Microsoft)

Reasons to Take
  • Up-to-date with Visual Studio 2022
  • Many code examples, great for experienced programmers
  • Covers multiple applications of Visual Basic

When learning a new language, one of the first places you should look at is the official documentation, and VB.NET is no different.

Geared towards those with programming experience, you’ll explore Visual Studio 2022, and witness firsthand various applications of Visual Basic, of which there are three:

  1. Console App: You’ll develop an app that asks the user for their name and then displays it back with the current time.
  2. Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) App: WPF is a framework used to create GUI desktop applications with a simple drag-and-drop. You’ll begin with a simple “Hello, World!” app, before creating a picture viewer, a timed math quiz, and a matching game.
  3. ASP.NET Web App: ASP.NET is Microsoft’s technology for running dynamic web pages on web servers. You’ll build an example app that lets users enter two numbers in a form, converts the input to integers, adds the numbers together on the server, and displays the sum on the web page.
Institution Microsoft
Provider Microsoft Learn
Prerequisites Some programming experience
Workload N/A
Cost Free
Exercises Short coding projects
Certificate None

Best Free Exercise Provider (Exercism)

Reasons to Take
  • Up-to-date with Visual Studio 2022
  • 100+ fun and interesting exercises of ranging difficulties

Just like any skill, your programming abilities can get a bit rusty if you don’t keep them sharp. And the perfect place to hone your coding skills is on Exercism.

Exercism is a free online platform that makes coding practice fun, offering over 100 Visual Basic coding exercises across a range of difficulties, from beginner to advanced. Solutions to these are community-submitted, so you can compare solutions and see where you can improve.

The platform doesn’t just stop at instant automated feedback for your submissions; you can also request a code review from a human mentor. I’ve tried this feature myself, and I have to say that getting personalized feedback from an experienced mentor is incredibly valuable for learning!

With exercises in over 60 programming languages, Exercism’s goal is to help everyone get really good at programming, regardless of their background, share the love of programming, and help people upskill as part of their upward social mobility.

Provider Exercism
Prerequisites All levels
Workload N/A
Enrollments 2.5K
Cost Free
Exercises Autograded coding exercises
Certificate None

Best Free Academic Exercises (Juan A. Ripoll)

Reasons to Take
  • Up-to-date with Visual Studio 2022
  • 200+ short and focused exercises of ranging difficulties

Another great place to practice your Visual Basic programming skills is Juan A. Ripoll’s Visual Basic (VB.Net) Programming Course (also available in Spanish).

How do the exercises differ from Exercism? For starters, there are a lot more of them (≈200 vs ≈100). They are also straightforward, like what you’d expect from a university course. And while solutions are given, there’s no place for you to submit your code, so you have to compare your solutions manually.

The exercises are split into twelve topics:

  •  First contact with Visual Basic (VB.Net)
  •  Flow Control
  •  Basic Data Types
  •  Arrays, Structures and Strings
  •  Functions
  •  Object Oriented Programming (OOP)
  •  OOP More On Classes
  •  File Management
  •  Object Persistence
  •  Access To Relational Databases
  •  Dynamic Memory Management
  •  Additional Libraries
Provider Independent
Instructor Juan A. Ripoll
Prerequisites None
Workload N/A
Cost Free
Exercises Coding exercises
Certificate None

Additional Visual Basic Resources

Many Visual Basic programmers tend to stick with classic forums. Here are a couple of active ones where you can get help if you need it:

  • VBForums: One of, if not the largest, forums for Visual Basic .NET on the web. Very active. They also have job postings.
  • Microsoft Q&A: The official Q&A forum for Visual Basic. Also active, but filled with Microsoft vendors.

Why You Should Trust Us

Class Central, a Tripadvisor for online education, has helped 60 million learners find their next course. We’ve been combing through online education for more than a decade to aggregate a catalog of  200K online courses  and 200,000+ reviews written by our users. And we’re online learners ourselves: combined, the Class Central team has completed over 400 online courses, including online degrees.

Best Courses Guide (BCG) Methodology

I built this ranking following the now tried-and-tested methodology used in previous BCGs (you can find them all here). It involves a three-step process:

  1. Research: I started by leveraging Class Central’s database. Then, I made a preliminary selection of 20+ Visual Basic courses by rating, reviews, and bookmarks.
  2. Evaluate: I read through reviews on Class Central, Reddit, and course providers to understand what other learners thought about each course and combined it with my own experience as a learner.
  3. Select: Well-made courses were picked if they presented valuable and engaging content, fit a set of criteria and be ranked according to comprehensive curriculum, affordability, release date, ratings and enrollments.

Best Courses Guides. Start Learning, Stop Procrastinating.

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Elham Nazif

Part-time content writer, full-time computer science student.

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