Tech professionals are in high demand, and there are multiple ways to break into the industry beyond the traditional four-year college or university education. One such method is self-learning through free online coding resources, such as App Academy Open. Learn more about App Academy Open, its curriculum, and testimonials from alumni.
What is App Academy Open?
Self-learning is often touted as a third option for those who lack the time or money for a college degree or coding bootcamp. While there are many useful free resources and open-source online learning platforms, learning anything beyond the basics of computer programming can be difficult for the online cohorts. In addition, there are few if any that cover the skills required to become a software developer outside of just programming.
In response to this, App Academy has created App Academy Open, an option to enjoy the school’s course content free of charge.
App Academy Curriculum
App Academy Open is App Academy’s entire full-stack in-person software engineering curriculum available entirely free of charge. Open’s free course material is identical to the paid in-person course, only excluding features like instructor reviewed assessments, live Q&A and lectures, live assistance, structured pacing, and job search support.
This free coding resource is entirely self-paced and takes approximately 12-16 months to complete. The course includes over 1500 hours of materials including readings, practice projects, video lectures, an interactive coding environment, and access to a community chat.
Beyond just teaching these technologies and programming languages, the course teaches many important soft skills that full-stack developers need off the computer. For example, the course covers how to make a portfolio, job search strategies, and resume workshops. While many online resources focus primarily on technology, Open is unique in that it provides real job search help to its students.
Unlike many other free coding schools, App Academy Open is battle-tested. It’s been used and revised by top tech companies and experts in the field for over seven years to teach full-time paid courses. Thousands of graduates of these courses have found successful careers in software development. This curriculum is designed to do more than just teach the basics; it helps students find jobs.
App Academy Open Mentorship Plan
Simply put, not everyone can succeed with pure self-study in a free course. Learning on your own for over a year takes strong motivation. Another challenge of self-teaching is that it lacks valuable in-person advice and mentoring. While a solid curriculum alone is powerful, sometimes if you’re stuck on a difficult concept or project there is no avenue to ask specific questions.
App Academy provides a simple, inexpensive, and elegant solution: a mentorship plan. Rather than being forced to upgrade to a full-time course—an option that not everyone can afford—the school provides mentoring from their team of instructors via Slack. These instructors are available Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 6 PM to answer questions and provide guidance on the course.
The mentorship plan is competitively priced at $30/month. Students that take this option are estimated to complete the course a full 4-6 months earlier than those without it. They can upgrade from the free plan to the mentorship plan whenever they like.
App Academy students can also upgrade to the full-time online course. This full-time option provides daily video demos, live Q&A instruction, live lectures from instructors, white-boarding, and career services. The full-time course is also completed much quicker with a structured pace, preparing students to find and start a job in just 24 weeks. Finally, the full-time course costs nothing upfront, and students only have to pay after they’re hired as a developer.
What Do Alumni Have to Say about Open?
App Academy has a five-star rating on Career Karma, backed by nearly 200 reviews. While these reviews are for the entire school, there are many students that have found success starting with App Academy Open.
Arthur Borges lives in Brazil and started with a background in electrical engineering. However, he found himself bored in this field and was drawn to software development.
“I studied a little bit of FreeCodeCamp before, in 2015, but did not finish because of a lack of motivation. App Academy Open caught my interest because of the active community and excellent video material. Also because of the stack. I really wanted to learn Ruby again!” said Borges.
Matt Ramos found himself in a similar situation.
“I’ve always been into computers and making websites from a young age … but I never really took it anywhere after that. When I started looking for a job—which was in 2009—I wanted to find an entry-level web dev position or paid internship. But the job market back then wasn’t great,” Ramos said in an interview.
Giving up on trying to find a job in web development, Ramos found a job as an SEO analyst. He turned that job into a career in product management, which he spent 4-5 years as. However, Ramos found that he still wanted to get back into web development.
“If I don’t actually try to do this now, I’m never going to try to do it. So, I said I’m going to take it seriously, and I’m going to figure out how I can make this happen,” Ramos said.
Breaking into Web Development
“I immediately started looking into what are all of my options, how can I do this? I was looking at full-time bootcamps and part-time bootcamps, some that were in-person vs online. I looked into potentially going to college or taking online classes.”
After completing a 10-day bootcamp prep course in New York and considering a number of bootcamps, Ramos settled on App Academy Open. Open allowed him to keep his existing job while studying.
“I would have loved to drop everything and go spend 80 hours a week at an in-person bootcamp. But for me, that didn’t work.
“App Academy has every single part of the curriculum—every section—broken out by how many hours you’re meant to spend on it, and I had a goal to finish the curriculum by the end of last year.”
Ramos completed App Academy Open utilizing the Mentor plan, while Borges used just the free program. We’re left with the question: did the course work for these students?
Can I Find a Job with App Academy Open?
Many students have found success using App Academy Open’s curriculum. For some, it’s a chance to access proven educational material without the risk that comes with a bigger price tag. It also allows students to work around their existing schedule to learn a new skill set at their own pace.
Arthur Borges found that it worked.
“After two months of intense and dedicated study, I found a new job, earning 33% more than the previous one.”
Matt Ramos is now on day 60 of his job as a software developer.
“I really enjoy my work. I feel like the last two months at work have been the most fun I’ve had. … I’m having fun, I’m learning, it’s kind of all coming together.”
These cases are not unique. However, it should be noted that starting a career in a new field using primarily self-learning isn’t easy. It takes hard work and dedication, and not everyone will find success in learning outside of the classroom.
Is Online Learning Right for Me?
Learning to become a software developer on your own is a significant task. Where a full-time bootcamp will push students to continue their education, self-learning requires self-motivation. It requires setting a goal and sticking to it.
However, because App Academy Open is offered free of charge, there’s no risk to trying it. It gives its online cohort of students a chance to see what online self-learning, coding bootcamp curriculum, and even working as a software developer is like.
In this sense, App Academy Open is for everyone that’s thinking about becoming a software developer. Even if self-learning isn’t the best fit for your learning style, it’s easy to move on to the full-time online bootcamp after spending some time with Open.
Ryan Young is a good example of this path. Young started with App Academy Open but has since been accepted to the full-time course.
“I would definitely recommend App Academy Open. For me, it reinforced my decision to get into the full-time online course. My advice to anyone looking to start learning to code would probably be to just go do it right now. There are countless sources online, so you can really get a nice feel for the basics. And if you can learn it all on your own, that’s great, but having an online resource you can get help from is absolutely invaluable,” Young said.
Arthur Borges and Matt Ramos also had good things to say about his experience in the course.
“App Academy Open is a great alternative to study and has excellent lessons and video materials! It’s a great place to practice programming, as the exercises are very tough! The community on Slack is very active, too! I’ve already recommended AppAcademy Open to a lot of people, during my experience with it!” Borges said.
“I’m really loving it—I think I definitely made the right choice. I had this nagging feeling for over ten years in the back of my head and I finally got to scratch that itch,” said Ramos.
App Academy Open is a chance to use App Academy’s battle-tested coding course, free of charge. It’s also a chance to gain access to the school’s experienced instructors at an inexpensive monthly charge. Whether you’re considering coding bootcamps, self-learning, or just software development in general, this program is a solid choice. If you’re looking to follow the same path as Borges, Ramos, or Young, starting the course is easy, and it can be done here.
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.