The Best Bootcamp Prep Programs: Your Complete Guide

By: The SwitchUp Team
Last Updated: September 25, 2017

How To Know If You Need A Prep Course
+ Our Guide To The Best Programs

Bootcamps are growing in popularity, which means that high quality programs have grown more competitive. Top-tier programs now have several years' worth of outcomes data and reviews to prove that they are worth the investment - and increase their applicant pools.

This is where bootcamp prep comes in. These courses, which last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks, are perfect if you are new to coding but have your sights set on a competitive bootcamp. You'll learn to master the basics, get a feel for the pace of a bootcamp, and prepare for the admissions process to your top school.

Below, we've rounded up the best prep programs to help you get started. Each of the following courses will help prepare you for the admissions process, and determine whether a career in tech is right for you.

App Academy

Location: San Francisco, New York City, Online

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: $995 - $3,795

App Academy's Bootcamp Prep Live (and Bootcamp Prep Online) is a 4-week, part-time course guaranteed to get you accepted at the most selective coding schools or your money back.

The program is designed to teach students up to an advanced level of JavaScript, with a holistic curriculum and 1-on-1 instructor assistance with bootcamp applications and interview prep.

With a 100% (self-reported) placement rate, App Academy Bootcamp Prep graduates are guaranteed acceptance into at least one of the following schools or a tuition refund: App Academy, Fullstack Academy, Hack Reactor, Flatiron School, Galvanize, or Actualize.

Code Career Academy

Location: Atlanta, Online

Length: 3 weeks

Cost: $1,200 (Part-Time), $2,250 (Full-Time)

Codesmith + Build with Code hosts free weekly JavaScript and Software Engineering workshops, lectures and pair-programming sessions in LA. Participants can learn and build with JavaScript through intuitive lectures and pair-programming. This weekly 4-hour course is open to everyone and offers the chance to join other aspiring engineers and start building real projects.

In addition, Codesmith offers information sessions, where attendees can meet with current students and graduates to discuss what it's like to attend Codesmith, why Codesmith is a top bootcamp in Los Angeles, and how to get into and succeed in the tech world.


Location: Online

Length: 4 weeks, Part-Time

Cost: Free

Codeworks offers a free, 4-week online Admission Challenge to individuals interested in learning to code. Students will learn programming fundamentals including basic JavaScript, HTML/CSS, basic HTTP, Linux, and jQuery.

The Admission Challenge is offered online to help prep students for Codework's remote "Pre-Course" and in-person "Main Course" in Barcelona, Spain. During the Admission Challenge and Pre-course, students have access to the curriculum material and 1-on-1 mentorship sessions with a Codeworks instructor.


Location: Online

Length: 6 week, Part-Time

Cost: $1,000

DESIGNATION's Design Essentials course teaches students the fundamentals of visual design. During the course, students will be introduced to industry standard software and key concepts of UX and UI design including IxD, Prototyping, Mockups, and Usability Testing. Students will also have access to virtual one-on-one coaching and feedback, as well as a personalized skills assessment. This course is offered as a stand-alone introduction to design, and as prerequisite for DESIGNATION's full-time course.

Dev League

Location: Honolulu, HI

Length: 4 weeks, Part-Time

Cost: $735

DevLeague's Javascript Prep course is designed to give beginners with no prior coding experience the opportunity to learn the basics of programming in a fun and hands-on environment. The four-week, 12-lesson course will cover the fundamentals of coding through an introduction in front-end web development, including JavaScript, HTML, CSS, version control and command line. By the end of the prep course, students will have a better understanding of programming fundamentals, the ability to build simple websites and web applications and they will be admissions ready for the boot camp.

Another key value of the prep course is that it allows you to "kick the tires" and see whether programming is a good career fit prior to making a larger commitment.

Plus, if you are accepted into the regular DevLeague boot camp, the cost of the prep course will be applied towards the boot camp tuition.

DevLeague also hosts a #luckywecodehawaii meetup. The meetups are designed to give beginners with no programming experience an opportunity to learn the basics.

The Firehose Project

Location: Online

Length: 25 hours, Self-Paced

Cost: Free

First Step Coding

Location: Boston, New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Online

Length: 4 and 8 weeks

Cost: $1,499 - $1,999

First Step Coding offers introductory-level coding courses on flexible part-time schedules. During classes, students work together through a unique challenge-based curriculum. With a 5:1 ratio of students to teachers, instructors are able to quickly address any learning roadblocks and provide exceptional support to students.

FSC currently offers both 4-week and 8-week programs covering JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. The 8-week course delves into more intermediate topics and includes extra time dedicated to networking with bootcamp alumni to help students decide on their next steps.

FSC is also uniquely positioned as a partner with an array of top bootcamps throughout the US, and alumni have been admitted to App Academy, Flatiron School, Fullstack Academy, Hack Reactor, Rithm School, Launch Academy and other highly-selective programs. Plus, First Step Coding alumni may redeem up to $1,500 in tuition credits toward many of the partnered programs.

Flatiron School

Location: San Francisco, New York City, Online

Length: 75+ hours, Self-Paced

Cost: Free

In Flatiron School's free Bootcamp Prep course, students gain 75+ hours of hands-on programming experience, learning JavaScript and Ruby fundamentals. Plus the course includes interview prep to help students ace bootcamp admissions and start the journey toward a promising career in tech.

Leveraging a suite of social features and coding tools on (the learning platform that powers the Flatiron online experience), students collaborate in real-time with a worldwide community of fellow students and harness professional developer tools to truly learn by doing. Bootcamp Prep students also have access to Flatiron School's team of on-demand "Technical Coaches" for help when they get stuck.

This course is a great way to experience Flatiron's curriculum, community, and culture firsthand and start your journey breaking into tech.

Flatiron School's Bootcamp Prep course is 100% free! Plus, Bootcamp Prep students who apply to Flatiron School are fast-tracked through their bootcamp admissions process as priority applicants.

Fullstack Academy

Location: New York City, Chicago, Online

Length: 1 month, Part-Time

Cost: $175 - $250

Fullstack's Bootcamp Prep is a 1 month, part-time class that prepares students for admission into the top coding schools, including their own selective immersive programs. You'll learn the fundamentals of programming and JavaScript, and how to solve real-world coding problems.

Fullstack offers 3 options for their Bootcamp Prep program:

  • Bootcamp Prep Online: A free, self-paced course with coding challenges and review videos
  • Bootcamp Prep In a Month: a 4-week live class where participants receive hands-on instruction from teachers and can interact with fellow students.
  • Bootcamp Prep In a Week: A week-long immersive class where students receive hands-on accelerated instruction from teachers in a bootcamp setting.

Although the course is designed for beginners, applicants must undergo a short admissions process for Bootcamp Prep Live. The curriculum starts with the assumption that students have a basic familiarity with JavaScript syntax, which allows the class to move at a good pace and yield quality outcomes for students. Plus, if you are accepted into an immersive program at Fullstack, you will be credited back the amount you paid for Bootcamp Prep!

General Assembly

Location: San Francisco, South Bay

Length: 8 weeks, Part-Time

Cost: Free

Dash, a program created by General Assembly, is a free online course that teaches students the basics of web development through projects they can do in a browser. Students learn the learn the fundamentals to code HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. These skills will allow you to create a fully styled landing page, complete with multi-column layouts, modern navigation elements, and mobile responsive design as well as dynamic interfaces that handle user events. You'll even be able to add UI effects such as animations.

Hackbright Academy

Location: San Francisco, San Jose locations

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: $1895

Hackbright Prep is designed to teach students the foundations of programming, how to use necessary tools, and ultimately how to tackle the bootcamp application process. The course covers Python foundations, HTML, CSS, and Flask. Students work one-on-one with an advisor to build a personal project and learn coding fundamentals while preparing for the Hackbright Fellowship. Plus, if you decide to apply for the Software Engineering Program, you are eligible for a $1,500 discount on tuition.

Hack Reactor

Location: Online

Length: 5 week, 7 week and Self-Paced options available

Cost: Free - $250

Hack Reactor offers two Bootcamp Prep Courses. The free Basic Prep JavaScript course is self-paced and is designed to prepare students to build their own projects and prepare for Hack Reactor. The Structured Study Program (SSP) is 100+ hour live course conducted entirely remotely using various online tools.

SSP is designed to take participants from beginners to ready for Hack Reactor Immersive ready through over 100 hours of live supported learning. During this remote course, students will learn JavaScript fundamentals, how to build basic programs, and how to think like an engineer.

The SSP curriculum is built by experts who have worked at Google, YouTube, Twitter, and other leading tech companies. Hack Reactor's Bootcamp Prep is a great way to fast-track learning with deep, foundational work, and prepare yourself for admission into the full Hack Reactor "immersive" experience at the same time. Plus, students who pass the Final SSP Readiness Assessment and enroll in the Immersive will have the $250 applied toward the Immersive tuition.

LEARN Academy

Location: San Diego

Length: 3 days

Cost: $499

LEARN jumpstart is an introduction to modern web development boiled down to 3 days. The course covers the basics of programming including HTML/CSS and Javascript, as well as an intro to the tools and techniques of the trade. The goal of the class is to enable students to gain an understanding of real-world skills and a clear path forward to a development career. Whether you need an introduction to programming for a current job or are thinking about attending a full bootcamp, LEARN Jumpstart will help you figure out what your next step is.


Location: Irvine, CA, online

Length: 2 weeks

Cost: $95

Root Class by LearningFuze is a flexible 2-week remote hybrid web development training program built for beginners who want to learn how to code and are considering a path to becoming professional developers. The class has 6 live training sessions, 4 of which are entirely remote and 2 of which can be done either remotely or in-person. The sessions cover HTML5/CSS3 foundations, layouts & mobile design, dev tools and debugging, Github, prototyping and Agile development, and JavaScript. Students also have access to live online support via community chat room.

Root JS is also a 2-week, part-time (in-class) web development training program focused on the core skills for building dynamic applications. This course is for those interested in learning how to code or for those on the path to a career in development.

These courses are free to accepted full immersion students or can be credited towards the full immersion tuition upon acceptance.


Location: Online

Length: Self-Paced

Cost: Free

Metis Admissions Prep is a free online tool that helps prospective Data Science Bootcamp students understand more about how to prep for the admissions process and how to gauge their readiness. Designed by the Metis Admissions and Senior Data Science teams, this tool helps students build their Linear Algebra, Calculus, Probability, Statistics, and Python fundamentals. After studying the modules and accompanying exercises, students will feel more confident about their skills and their next step towards a career in DS.

Sales Bootcamp

Location: Online

Length: 1 week

Cost: Free

Sales Bootcamp offers a free 1-week, part-time Bootcamp Prep for anyone looking to get a job in tech sales. The course is packed full of online sales training, assignments and assessments, personalized 1:1 live coaching session, online office hours, job application training, and interview preparation.

Plus, once the training and certification is complete, students will have the opportunity to apply for Sales Bootcamp's exclusive Sales Fellowship program and will be introduced directly to Sales Bootcamp hiring partners.

SecureSet Academy

Location: Denver, Colorado Springs, CO and Tampa, FL

Length: 6 weeks

Cost: $1,500

SecureSet Academy offers a 6 week, in-person SecureSet PREP course for individuals with a high level of interest in cybersecurity but a lack of technical experience.

Designed as the ultimate preparation for individuals looking to launch a career in cybersecurity via SecureSet Academy's bootcamps, students in this prep course work with a range of experts to learn the foundational skills needed for admission to SecureSet's CORE Technical or HUNT Analyst bootcamps.

Plus, successful completion of the SecureSet PREP workshop guarantees you admittance to any SecureSet Academy CORE or HUNT programs. you can even deduct the cost of the workshop from the program tuition.

The Software Guild

Location: Online

Length: Self-Paced

Cost: Free

The Software Guild's online Intro to Web Development course is a perfect way to explore software development without having to commit to a traditional program. Students learn the basics of web development, including GIT, Javascript, CSS and HTML fundamentals. Students also collaborate with other learners and interact with The Software Guild staff and alumni to see if they're ready to take the next step into a more involved program.

Those who do well in the Introduction to Web Development course will have a high likelihood of succeeding at The Software Guild, as the material is designed to prep students for selective coding bootcamps.

The Tech Academy

Location: Online

Length: Self-Paced (up to 60 hours)

Cost: Free

The Tech Academy's one-day workshop is an introduction to the field of programming itself. For those interested in programming or attending a coding bootcamp, this prep course allows you to explore both in the span of a day. There are two different options: an HTML/CSS class, and a Python class. Both are one day each.

Classes are in-person, with an experienced instructor who guides you through the fundamentals of coding in front-end programming with HTML/CSS or the Python scripting language.


Location: Online

Length: 3 week

Cost: $250

Learn what it's like to be a Thinkful student with their 3-week prep course for Thinkful's Web Development Bootcamp. Through 3 weekly 1-on-1 mentor sessions with an experienced developer, students will learn HTML, CSS, git/GitHub, and JavaScript. Participants will also have access to 40+ hours of weekly office hours over video chat. Plus, the cost is refunded in full if you get accepted into the full bootcamp.

Viking Code School

Location: Online

Length: 300+ hours, Self-Paced

Cost: Free

In Spring 2017, Viking Code School launched their Viking Prep Courses: a comprehensive online curriculum with 300+ hours of hands-on learning. The best part? It's completely free.

VCS offers three units for their prep course: Web Development Foundations, Front End Web Development, and Core Curriculum Head Start. The Web Development Foundations unit is designed to introduce students to the full range developer skills, from the basics of Git to design and engineering fundamentals, in 3 phases: Web Basics, Web Design, and Web Engineering. The Front End Web Development unit helps students get up-to-speed on professional grade HTML5/CSS3, SASS, and Bootstrap. Finally, the Core Curriculum Head Start unit focuses on JavaScript and the Viking Method for getting hired after the program.

Others Courses and Helpful Resources

Lighthouse Labs

Location: Online

Length: Self-Paced

Cost: Free

Lighthouse Labs offers 4 Intro Courses to help introduce students to the basics of coding in HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and iOS. Developed by Lighthouse Labs alumni and instructors, these short tutorials enable future students to learn the fundamentals before diving into the full bootcamp.

The Odin Project

Location: Online

Length: Self-Paced

Cost: Free

The Odin Project was created to provide a complete path for students to go from zero to employed as web developers while working with other students along the way.

Students will start with Web Development 101 before moving on to more in-depth modules including HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, databases and more. The curriculum is completely flexible, allowing students to work through each lesson or jump to different lessons/projects.

The Odin Project is best for absolute beginners (and those who have tried other resources without success) who want to work as web developers, do freelancing work, build a startup, or learn to build a website homepage. We love that it's all free, too!

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