The demand for tech professionals is increasing. In response, coding bootcamps are proliferating, providing tech hopefuls a quick and effective way to acquire the skills needed for a lucrative career. Most coding bootcamps in the market cost around the $10,000 mark. Luckily, there are some free coding bootcamps for those who are not ready yet for that kind of investment.
Whether your interest lies in web development or data science, you can find a free coding bootcamp if you look carefully enough. It may not have all the features of a paid program, such as extensive career support, but it will help you master the tools needed for most entry-level roles. Below, you’ll find more about free coding bootcamps as well as a list of the best ones out there.
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Best Free Online Coding Bootcamps at a Glance
This is our list of the best free coding bootcamps currently on the market. The bootcamps below will help you master the fundamentals of your field of choice at no cost.
Flatiron School Introductory Courses
Best Free Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps offer weeks-long to months-long programs that teach you the core programming knowledge and skills you need to work in tech. The free coding programs below cover an extensive amount of information and involve a great deal of work through real-world projects, hands-on learning, and multiple programming languages.
42 is a free coding bootcamp with locations in Paris and Silicon Valley. The school prides itself in having no instructors, with students learning through their peers and mentors, who are experienced tech professionals. This is a great free coding bootcamp for those seeking to learn programming, coding, and software engineering.
Ada Developers Academy
This Seattle-based bootcamp offers an immersive programming course for any local student interested in becoming a full stack web developer. The course runs for 27 weeks and is free to women and non-binary students. This is one of the best free coding programs for bridging the gender gap in the tech industry. Plus, Seattle is a huge tech hub and a great place to start a career in tech.
App Academy Open
App Academy offers a free online coding bootcamp called App Academy Open. This online program gives students access to the complete App Academy full stack web development curriculum. However, students do not enjoy the structured and instructor-led learning that comes with the paid option. App Academy is one of the best coding bootcamps for web development.
This free online coding bootcamp program includes over 1,500 hours of course materials and resources. App Academy is a well-known bootcamp, and the free coding program contains the same coursework as the paid version.
The Data Incubator
The Data Incubator offers programs in data science and data engineering. The Data Incubator is best for experienced programmers who are comfortable coding in Python and ideally one other programming language. The curriculum is designed to equip students with highly specialized skills to become seasoned professionals.
There is a free online coding bootcamp option for students who apply for the fellowship scholarship. There are a limited number of free online coding bootcamp seats in each cohort, and the scholarship is only available for full-time bootcamp students.
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If you do not receive a free online coding bootcamp scholarship, you can get a $2,000 discount by applying for the program early and paying upfront. If you pay upfront and are placed with one of the school’s coding partners after graduating, The Data Incubator will refund 50 percent of your tuition.
Flatiron School Introductory Courses
Flatiron School is a big-name coding bootcamp. With locations in London, New York City, and Washington DC, students can attend programming courses in person or online. The bootcamp has several programs dedicated to web development, cyber security, data science, UI/UX design, and more.
Flatiron School offers free coding classes as an introduction for those interested in a full bootcamp program. It’s one of the best free coding classes for adults offered by a top education provider.
Founders and Coders
Founders and Coders holds the title of being the first free bootcamp in the United Kingdom. Based in London, it offers beginner-friendly free coding programs in full stack web development and covers a range of common coding languages. At the end of the free bootcamp, students complete a final project and get help with interview prep.
Fullstack Academy Prep Program
Fullstack Academy also offers cheap coding bootcamp prep courses. You can learn to code in a week or a month for just $200 and gain the foundational skills you need to continue to a full-time bootcamp program or continue teaching yourself to code.
Hack Reactor Basic Prep
Hack Reactor, a well-known coding bootcamp, offers a free coding program called Hack Reactor Basic Prep. The course is an introductory program designed for beginners to learn all the basics of coding.
The free online coding bootcamp prep course is self-paced, so you can learn to code when it’s convenient for you. You can also get access to live support and scheduled classes for just $250, which is a great cheap coding bootcamp option if you aren’t ready to commit to a full coding bootcamp program.
Kenzie Free is an introductory free bootcamp for coding beginners. Kenzie Academy’s self-paced free coding program is available online. Kenzie Free allows potential programmers to learn from a top tier bootcamp without any financial commitments.
NodeSchool is a free online coding bootcamp offering a range of useful tutorials and courses. The program is open source and run by volunteers. The free coding program, or workshop, is entirely tuition-free for anyone who is able to install the workshops on their computer. This is not a traditional free online coding bootcamp, but it is a great resource for self-taught programmers.
The Odin Project
The Odin Project is another community-based, open source free online coding bootcamp. It was designed to train new coders from the ground up. The free coding program offers tech career training courses in web development. Students start with an introductory course, then move on to Web Development 101.
The course curriculum includes HTML, CSS, Ruby, Rails, Git, and more. The Odin Project offers flexible tutorials and lessons. This free online coding bootcamp is a great place for beginners and offers excellent resources across the board.
Recurse Center is not an online coding bootcamp but an educational retreat for programmers of all skill levels. In six or 12 weeks of online learning, work, and communication, coders can better themselves. Recurse Center encourages lifelong learning, and although it’s different from a bootcamp, it offers the same level of immersive tech learning.
Skillcrush’s Free Coding Bootcamp
What Are Free Bootcamps?
Free bootcamps are rigorous tech training programs that don’t require any payment. Most of the free bootcamps on our list are held online and take anywhere between six weeks to six months to complete. The curricula are tailored to help students land the best tech jobs after graduation. Students experience a hands-on approach to learning by completing real-world projects to gain in-demand skills.
Students enrolled in a free coding bootcamp often study the same curriculum as those enrolled in paid programs and benefit from high-quality instruction. The main disadvantage is that students in a free bootcamp don’t get the same level of support as paying students. This often means they can’t reach out to the instructor in case they have questions. Likewise, they may have only limited access, or no access at all, to a career services team.
Why Should I take a Free Coding Bootcamp?
You should enroll in a free coding bootcamp if you are curious about a tech career but are not ready yet to make a significant financial investment. Consider also a free program if your priority is to pick up a useful skill rather than quickly land a tech job. Whatever drives your interest in these programs, here are a few reasons why taking a free coding bootcamp is a good option.
- You’ll save a lot of money. The biggest pro of attending a free coding bootcamp is that you’ll save a lot of money on your coding education. According to Career Karma’s State of the Bootcamp Market Report 2021, the average coding bootcamp costs $11,727. While you can find cheaper coding bootcamps, most out there will still set you back at least $5,000.
- You’ll have access to top-notch instruction and a well-structured curriculum. The bootcamps on this list employ seasoned programming professionals to curate and teach their courses. These instructors have expertise and passion in equal parts to help students achieve their goals.
- You’ll be ready to enter the workforce quickly. Most of the bootcamps on our list last less than half a year. In that amount of time, you’ll master the skills that tech employers are looking for. For example, The Data Incubator’s Data Science Bootcamp covers Tensorflow, NumPy, the Jupyter Notebook, and Matplotlib, all essential tools for a data scientist. You’ll even learn Python to boot.
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Your Free Bootcamp
There is quite a lot of variety out there when it comes to free coding bootcamps. Some last a few weeks while others can take nearly a year to complete. In some of the programs on our list, students enjoy access to career services. Other bootcamps, on the other hand, limit such services to paying students only. Below we go over a few other factors to keep in mind before you make a decision on which free bootcamp to take.
Make Sure It Isn’t Just an Intro Class
Some schools claim to offer free bootcamps when, in reality, all they offer is an intro or preparatory class. Bootcamps and classes are two completely different things. Bootcamps are much longer and much more comprehensive, covering all the topics the students need to master the tools the field requires.
A class, on the other hand, is a single session or meeting lasting, at most, a few hours. Given their short length, classes cannot cover more than just a handful of topics. For example, you may take a class to learn just the basics of HTML. If you are new to coding, taking an online coding class may be your best option to gauge your aptitude for and interest in programming.
Look for Programs With Career Support
While many free bootcamps do not come with career services, a few do. If your interest in doing a bootcamp goes beyond simply picking a useful skill, you may want to look for programs that provide some level of career guidance.
Some free coding bootcamps that give access to fully-fledged career services include Ada Developers Academy and 42. Ada Developers Academy, case in point, helps their students with resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and job placement support. On top of that, student benefit from access to a wide alumni network.
Know the Difference Between Bootcamp and Course
We already established that a bootcamp isn’t a class. However, you may now wonder what’s the difference between a bootcamp and a course. Courses and bootcamp programs can be similar in length, both covering a wide range of topics over several months. However, courses often lack bootcamps’ focus on job readiness and job placement.
In other words, a coding course can be an excellent option to learn to code for free, especially if landing a job fast is not at the forefront of your mind. However, if your goal is to enter the workforce, you’ll appreciate the career support and overall emphasis on employable skills of coding bootcamps.
What About Bootcamps With Job Placement Guarantees?
Enrolling in a free program is not the only way in which your bootcamp experience could end up costing you nothing. Some people who enroll in a paid coding bootcamp with a job placement guarantee, never pay a dime for their education. Below, we examine three scenarios in which your paid bootcamp could end up being free.
- Schools that offer a tuition refund if the student fails to get a job. As part of their job guarantee, some schools offer to refund the tuition if the student fails to get a job within a specified period after graduation. Good examples of this are Springboard and Thinkful.
- Schools with deferred tuition. In most deferred tuition schemes, such as the ones offered by BloomTech or Launch School, the student doesn’t start making payments toward tuition until they graduate and land a job. However, in most cases, there is a salary threshold to be met before the student begins such payments, usually between $40,000 and $60,000 per year. If the student never ends up earning that much, they are not required to pay.
- Schools that offer income share agreements (ISA). Income share agreements are just another form of deferred tuition. The difference between an ISA and deferred tuition is that, under an ISA, you agree to pay back a set percentage of your salary as opposed to a predetermined amount. Just like with regular deferred tuition, if the student doesn’t earn over a certain amount, they are not required to pay back the school.
What Jobs Can I Get After a Free Coding Bootcamp?
After attending a coding bootcamp, you can get jobs in web development, software engineering, and UX/UI design, among other exciting fields. Even if you choose a free program, the education you receive will be sufficient to land some very profitable jobs after your coding bootcamp. Below, we list some of these jobs.
Best Jobs After Coding Bootcamp
|Job Title||Average Salary||Job Outlook|
|Cyber Security Expert||$102,600||33%|
|Mobile Application Developer||$71,958||22%**|
*Figure taken from the BLS page for Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
**Figure taken from the BLS page for Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers
***Figure taken from the BLS page for Web Developers and Digital Designers
Should I Enroll in a Free Online Coding Bootcamp?
Consider enrolling in a free coding bootcamp if you are completely new to programming and are not sure about making a substantial financial investment in your education. You may also find free coding bootcamps very appealing if your main goal is to pick up a useful skill fast.
However, if you are serious about a coding education and determined to land a job in the industry in the near future, then enrolling in a paid coding bootcamp would probably be the best option. The paid option when it comes to bootcamps usually gives you access to a full suite of career services. This emphasis on career support is precisely what makes coding bootcamps one of the most effective ways of breaking into tech.
Free Coding Bootcamp FAQ
The best way to learn coding for free is to join a free online coding bootcamp. Fortunately, there are plenty of bootcamps with free coding programs. Some of the most popular free coding bootcamps are 42, Ada Developers Academy, and App Academy Open.
App Academy’s free online coding bootcamp is the best if you want to get into full stack web development. If you are a woman or a non-binary person, then your best option is Ada Developers Academy. Those interested in data science should consider The Data Incubator. These are some of the best free coding bootcamps out there.
Currently, most free coding classes and free coding programs are available online. However, there may be some local coding bootcamps in your area. Consider researching the coding bootcamp you’re interested in to see if it has any local campuses.
Coding courses tend to be self-paced and take a few weeks to complete. Coding classes are a bit shorter. Many of them can be completed in an hour or several days. Then there are also coding bootcamps. You can find coding bootcamps that last as little as six weeks as well as bootcamps that last over a year.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.