Free Coding Bootcamp Guide

By: The SwitchUp Team
Last Updated: June 8, 2020
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*Due to COVID-19, some bootcamps may be on hold or in a different format. Please visit the program’s official website to find out about current protocols and other information.

A coding bootcamp is exactly what it sounds like: an intensive program that lets you develop coding skills in a short period of time. How short? In general, it takes eight to twelve weeks to complete, although some programs are self-paced, which means the time it takes is up to you.

Coding bootcamps can help individuals double or even triple their salaries. These programs teach anything from web development to UI/UX design, and the best-rated programs often showcase strong job outcomes for graduates.

Coding bootcamps often require a big commitment, and those considering enrollment may wonder if they’re worth it. However, for some, the ability to attend a coding bootcamp poses a financial challenge. In an effort to improve bootcamp accessibility, several organizations offer free coding bootcamps to help introduce students to software development, programming, coding, and more. While some of these free programs only offer the basics—an intro to coding—they provide students enough of a foundation to move toward a career as a coder.

In addition to free courses, students can also take advantage of several programs and financing structures to help them get started for free. Bootcamps like Flatiron School and Fullstack Academy offer free prep courses, which prepare applicants for full-time programs. Other options include deferred tuition and ISAs.

Our guide below highlights free coding bootcamps that are offered in-person or online. If you are looking specifically for free online coding bootcamps you can check out our free online coding bootcamps guide. These programs are designed to help you gain fundamental skills before you invest in a more intensive program. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about coding, coding careers, coding programs/bootcamps, and more. Jump to FAQs

Your Guide to Free Coding Bootcamps

42 Silicon Valley

Highlights:
  • Location: Fremont, California
  • 4 weeks, 7 days a week, day and night
  • In-person program
  • Anyone 18 and older can attend after admission
  • Rolling admissions, somewhat flexible schedule

Description: 42 Silicon Valley is a computer-programming training program, which provides its curriculum completely free-of-charge to its students. The 42 School started in Paris, France in 2013 with the aim of improving France's technology sector by developing more qualified technical candidates within the country. The United States 42 program began in 2016 in Silicon Valley and offers a curriculum designed to last 3 to 5 years. The entry point is a 4-week coding piscine. Every year, around 3,000 candidates are selected to participate in the piscine. After this step, students who have successfully passed the piscine can enroll at 42 and start their studies. This serves as a gateway to becoming a full-time (tuition free) programming student at 42 Silicon Valley.

Ada Developers Academy

Highlights:
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • 24 weeks, Monday-Friday, full day
  • In-person program
  • For women and people of non-binary gender
  • Recommended 21 and older, however, anyone 18 and up is considered
  • Cohorts start twice a year in September and February

Description: Ada Developers Academy is a 24-week program in Downtown Seattle that offers a full-time, tuition-free program to teach full stack web development to women and people of non-binary gender. The program covers writing code, software engineering, and advocacy. Students will showcase the culmination of their learning with a Capstone project. Students are also asked to complete a Jump Start curriculum prior to their first day.

App Academy Open

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Gain online access to App Academy’s in-person curriculum for free
  • Over 1500 hours of materials
  • Self-paced
  • 12 to 16 months
  • Enjoy an interactive coding community
  • Upgrade to the mentorship plan or software engineering track online

Description: App Academy Open gives free online access to App Academy’s entire in-person full stack curriculum. The 1,500 hours of available materials include readings, videos, and projects. Find support from a global interactive community through chat and more.

Bridge

Highlights:
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
  • 11 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday evenings
  • In-person program
  • For women, agender, and non-binary developers looking to skill-up
  • Several cohorts per year, see Bridge website

Description: Bridge is a free 11-week program for women, agender, and non-binary people in software development. Students meet in-person twice a week in small class sizes to work on real-world projects and learn in-demand skills from experts. Bridge is committed to providing a supportive environment to learn, ask questions, and build on technical skills. At the end of the course, students will leave with greatly increased confidence, a project for their portfolio, and experience with current, highly-sought-after technologies and concepts taught by industry experts.

Codecademy

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Codecademy Basic, 180 available hours of content
  • Self-paced
  • Any age, although 13 and under must have parental permission
  • Must be able to read and type

Description: Codecademy is a great place for beginners to start coding. This interactive online platform offers real-time results to individuals who are just beginning to dabble. Their curriculums include HTML & CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, Angularjs, The Command Line, and others.

Coursera

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Coding courses available from beginner to specialized
  • Self-paced, several start dates, flexible deadlines, range of course lengths
  • Free, with option to purchase course certificates
  • Financial aid available for specializations

Description: Large online course library, where classes are taught by real university professors. All courses are free of charge, but you have the option to pay for a "Coursera Verified Certificate" to prove course completion. These cost between $30 and $100 depending on the course.

Flatiron School Introductory Courses

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • 75+ hours with on-demand support
  • Lets students experience real developer tools and a Git-based workflow

Description: Flatiron School is an outcomes-focused coding bootcamp that offers Full Stack Web Development and iOS Development programs at its eight in-person campuses and online programs. Flatiron School has led the bootcamp industry on outcomes, backing its 98% job placements rate and $75k starting salary with annual independently verified jobs reports. Flatiron School also offers several free coding bootcamp introductory courses, including Bootcamp Prep, and Certificate courses on their online campus.

Free Code Camp

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Thousands of hours of coding interview prep challenges
  • 6 self-paced certifications available, 300 hours each
  • Helps you learn to code by building projects

Description: Free Code Camp helps people build job-worthy portfolios of real apps used by real people while helping nonprofits. FCC offers free verified certifications in Front End Development and Full Stack Development, and a 1,600-hour full stack JavaScript curriculum that is completely self-paced and browser-based. Thousands of coding lessons offer students the ability to improve their skills in HTML, CSS, Applied Visual Design, Applied Accessibility, Responsive Web Design, JavaScript, and more.

Founders & Coders

Highlights:
  • Location: London, England
  • 18 weeks, Monday-Friday, full day
  • In-person program, peer-led
  • For ages 18 and up
  • Several cohorts per year
  • Must be motivated and able to work long hours
  • Students are required to volunteer/mentor

Description: Founders & Coders CIC runs the only free full-time coding course in the UK. It takes students with little to no knowledge of programming and turns them into full stack web developers. After completing the course, students are encouraged to join their freelance community and to contribute to a growing array of community activities, including the course itself. The program is peer-led, which means students will also be required to give a specific amount of time in a mentor/volunteer capacity.

Fullstack Academy Prep Program

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Two intro programs to coding; Intro to Coding, and Bootcamp Prep Course
  • Intro to Coding is self-paced for beginners
  • Bootcamp Prep Course has multiple start dates

Description: Fullstack Academy offers a comprehensive software engineering coding bootcamp. Students can participate in a free Intro to Coding and/or Bootcamp Prep Course to gain basic skills to prepare for the full-time, immersive courses either on campus or online.

GA Dash

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Dash is self-paced and allows you to learn basics of web development from your browser
  • Project based, learn HTML, JavaScript, CSS

Description: General Assembly's free online learning platform is entirely project based. You build a "project" with each walk-through. They are one of the very few options that have a course on how to build a Tumblr theme from scratch.

Hack Reactor Basic Prep

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • The cost-free Basic Prep is self-study
  • Premium Prep available with a fee

Description: Founded in 2012, Hack Reactor is a 12-week immersive coding school providing software engineering education, career placement services, and a lifelong network of professional peers. Hack Reactor has both U.S. and international campuses, as well as an online, remote immersive (full-time and part-time). The self-study Basic Prep is free and helps prepare individuals to participate in their full-time, immersive program. There are premium prep courses available as well.

Kenzie Free

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Offers mini courses that give an intro to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Description: Kenzie Free gives people the opportunity to find out if coding is right for them. A series of cost-free mini courses offers a look into what coding entails with an introduction to HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

Makers Academy

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Free 4-week Ruby course
  • Free course is through email; receive a new lesson every other day
  • Setting aside 6 hours each week for lessons is recommended for success

Description: Makers Academy is a 12-week program that carefully selects its students. The course includes technical tests, working on open-source code and working with the Makers engineering team on live, real-world, production code.

Resilient Coders

Highlights:
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • 20 weeks, 7 days a week, all day
  • In-person program, looking for people in the Boston area
  • For people of color ages 18-30
  • Several bootcamps per year
  • Must be motivated and able to work long hours
  • The only way to apply is through a Hackathon

Description: Resilient Coders offers a free, full-time, 20-week bootcamp. The program accepts students who identify as people of color between the ages of 18-30 and participate in a Resilient Coder’s led Hackathon. They also must be willing and able to work in the U.S. Some Hackathons are dedicated to women and non-binary individuals. The comprehensive program covers everything from front-end and back-end web development top JavaScript, building full stack web applications, and interviewing skills.

Revature

Highlights:
  • Location: Online, and some online and on-campus/in-office
  • 10- to 14-week programs
  • Through university partnerships and RevaturePro, accepted students gain real-world programming experience
  • RevaturePro offers 4000+ hours of technical learning and project development

Description: Revature partners with top universities across the U.S. to provide free coding courses in programming and software development. Through in-person or Hybrid (online and on-campus) coding immersion programs, Revature creates a pathway for individuals with diverse backgrounds to build the knowledge, skills, and abilities to reach their potential as technology professionals. RevaturePro caters specifically to those who want to learn to code online.

Rithm School

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Many hours of free courses available on Rithm School’s website
  • Gain cost-free fundamentals that cover HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Git and GitHub, Python, and more
  • Rithm School has a 16-week accelerated deferred-tuition in-person program in San Francisco

Description: Rithm's full stack web development program is a 4-month accelerated learning experience. Rithm School takes independent and thoughtful students and turns them into confident and creative full stack developers. Rithm School values an intimate learning community and therefore class sizes are 8-16 students. Their curriculum is centered around JavaScript and Python and also features two weeks of time to contribute meaningfully to open source projects. Anyone interested can take Rithm’s free courses. These rich introductions to programming cover hours of fundamentals.

Skillcrush's Free Coding Bootcamp

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Designed for beginners

Description: Skillcrush's free coding bootcamp is a perfect place to start for absolute newbies. You'll learn what it means to work in tech, get digestible definitions of common industry lingo, and get the chance to write your first lines of code.

The Data Incubator

Highlights:
  • Location: San Francisco, Washington D.C., New York, Online
  • Applicants must have a master’s degree, PhD, or PhD that will be completed within 3 months of the conclusion of the project
  • Must be an advanced STEM degree
  • Bootcamp is 8 weeks
  • Several cohorts per year

Description: The Data Incubator is an intensive 8-week bootcamp that prepares the best science and engineering PhDs to work as data scientists and quants. It identifies Fellows who already have the 90% difficult-to-learn skills and equips them with the last 10%: the tools and technology stack that make them self-sufficient, productive contributors. The program is free for Fellows.

The Odin Project

Highlights:
  • Location: Online
  • Designed for beginners
  • Students recommended to put in 1000 hours to become “employable”
  • Students will create a portfolio of projects

Description: The Odin Project was created to provide a complete path for students to get employed as web developers while working with other students along the way. Students will start with a short course called Introduction to Web Development, before moving on to Web Development 101 and more in-depth modules including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, Git, databases and more. The tutorials are completely flexible, allowing students to work through each lesson or jump to different lessons/projects. The Odin Project is a completely free coding bootcamp and is best for absolute beginners (and those who have tried other resources without success) who want to work as a web developer, do freelancing work, build a startup, or learn to build a website homepage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any free coding bootcamps?

Yes. Free coding bootcamps are found online as well in many cities around the U.S. However, some free coding bootcamps are targeted toward specific demographics and require in-person attendance. Other free bootcamps are self-directed. Read through the Free Coding Bootcamp Guide above to find a free coding bootcamp that works for you.

Why choose a free coding bootcamp?

Free coding bootcamps allow you to begin to learn the language of coding. They can give you insight into what a career in coding is like and if it’s right for you. Free coding bootcamps that cater toward building strong foundational programming skills may help you get a job in the industry.

Do free coding bootcamps have a good career outcome (will I be able to get a job)?

Like anything, a good resume and strong interview skills are necessary for securing a career. However, a free coding bootcamp can give you a boost toward a career in programming. Those who already work in the field will find that free coding bootcamps may have the ability to give them the coding skills they need to move into a desired coding position.

What can a career in coding lead to?

People who continue to increase their programming skills can move into larger roles. This includes jobs like software application developer, web developer, database administrator, computer systems engineer, software quality assurance engineer, network systems administrator, and computer systems analyst.

How can I grow my programming skills?

Continue to grow your programming skills through practice, continued education, and by staying up-to-date on what’s happening in the programming industry.

Are coders in demand?

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a slight decline in job outlooks, coders and programmers are still very much in demand. Remote work has increased international competition for jobs. However, coders and programmers that stay on top of industry trends and skills will likely be able to secure work. As with any career, interview skills and reliability will be a huge attraction to employers. People can also increase their employability with strong, in-demand skills, a quality portfolio, and solid interview abilities. Coding and programming bootcamps can help increase these skills.

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