With the uptick in free coding lessons online, learning to code has become only keystrokes away, spanning age, race, gender, and background. Now, everyone can learn to code. Ramping this up is coding bootcamp App Academy with a proprietary platform that offers not only a free path to coding education but also to a tech career: the App Academy Open.
With its free and self-paced full stack software engineering curriculum, App Academy Open gives you a way to learn to code and find a job in tech.Sign up for App Academy Open today.
Is Learning to Code Still Worth It?
Since we ushered in the digital age, political leaders and trendsetters alike have advocated for everyone to give coding a shot. Decades later, that call has grown louder as coding skills have become closely tied with opportunities.
Indeed, for many high-income jobs, coding remains a core competency requirement. According to an analysis by Burning Glass Technologies, half of the jobs that pay over $57,000 per year are occupations that typically require coding literacy. In fact, coding salaries averaged $63,903 in 2020, which was nearly $13,000 more than the national average salary across occupations.
Beyond these numbers, learning to code has also become an avenue to higher-order thinking skills. Unsurprisingly so.
Because coding is rooted in solving problems, it only makes sense for critical and analytical thinking to become part and parcel of this activity. And just as coding literacy is one of today’s hottest hard skills, so do critical thinking and problem-solving skills—topping the list of soft skills that hiring teams most desire.
Put simply, learning to code is a worthy tool and tactic to career success whether you’re in the tech industry or not. The good news: it’s become more accessible with free coding platforms such as App Academy Open.
What Is App Academy Open?
App Academy Open is a free online learning platform for people who want to learn how to code at their own pace. The platform was launched in 2018 by App Academy in a bid to expand access to coding and software engineering education.
With code becoming a ubiquitous language in an increasingly digital world, it only made sense to have a platform that taught the language to everyone. To this end, the App Academy Open has been the training ground for a diverse set of learners, including:
- Beginners looking for a risk-free start in coding
- Aspiring programmers and software engineers who don’t have the resources or availability to attend an immersive coding bootcamp
- Learners who want to prepare for an immersive coding bootcamp
- Current tech professionals in need of a refresher in today’s programming tools and technologies; and
- Non-tech professionals who simply wish to expand their skillset
Why Choose App Academy Open?
Despite its $0 price tag, the App Academy Open doesn’t hold out on depth and relevance—a common concern by students who access free learning platforms.
In fact, the App Academy Open offers the same full-stack curriculum pulled directly from App Academy’s paid 16-week Software Engineering immersive. So, users of the App Academy Open can expect to learn from a curriculum that’s updated regularly to match industry trends and demands.
App Academy Open also sets itself apart from other free learning platforms by offering more avenues for engagement. Because free learning platforms can be accessed at any time and place, they can both be a bane and a boon to the users. On the plus side, learning is self-directed and thus more flexible. On the other hand, learning is less personal and can therefore be more isolating.
App Academy Open remedies this gap by adding two features in its catalog: the Mentorship Plan and a wide community of Open users.
For $29.99 a month, you’ll have access to App Academy’s Mentorship Plan. As the name suggests, this is a mentorship program that gives you a pass to an exclusive Slack channel where you can communicate and ask questions to App Academy instructors as you go through the curriculum.
The App Academy instructors are available for a chat from Mondays through Fridays, 6am to 6pm Pacific Time. That’s a lot more time for a much lower cost than you’d get with a tutor.
As for peer engagement, because the App Academy Open is so accessible and far-reaching, you’ll be sure to find App Academy Open users whom you can learn with on discussion platforms like Reddit and Discord. With both features on hand, App Academy Open prevents users from feeling like they’re missing out on much-needed guidance and social interaction.
All that said, the App Academy Open is not just a gateway to free coding education. It can also help you get through the doors of the tech workforce.
Integrated into the App Academy Open curriculum is a module dedicated to reviewing interview topics you’d commonly encounter in technical job interviews for software engineering roles. Pair that with the technical training you receive throughout the course and you get a better chance at securing a spot in the industry.
Don’t take our word for it. Take Fares Osman’s, a former App Academy Open student who secured a software engineering role without spending a dime on his education.
App Academy Open Review: Hear from a Former Student
Fares Osman had been working as an environmental scientist for three years when his curiosity for coding kicked in. This wasn’t to him. Even while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science, Fares had already been “fiddling with Python”.
“A friend of mine, who’s an engineer for a tech company, reached out to me and suggested that I look into programming and pursue it for the long-term,” said Fares. “At the time, I thought I needed to be formally educated in computer science but after doing some research, I came across coding bootcamps.”
Among those he found was App Academy.
“At the time, the only option for me was to pursue App Academy’s in-person Software Engineering immersive, which for me cost a lot of money. I didn’t want to quit my job and spend my savings.”
Without the means and time to pursue a coding education full-time, Fares was left with no choice but to utilize other free resources he could find online. After a week of that, App Academy Open opened its virtual doors.
“I thought, ‘this might be a blessing in disguise,’” said Fares. “I really thought it was a call for me to jump on. And that’s exactly what I did.”
The App Academy Open Learning Experience
Despite being designed as a self-paced learning platform, App Academy Open does not fall short in giving students reasons to show up. For one, the diverse community that App Academy Open has built certainly worked in most learners’ favor.
“Folks who were taking the curriculum would always ask to network with others and try to form little study groups,” said Fares. “People would mix and match with others from other timezones and try to fit meetings into their schedule so they could learn and study together.”
Hand-in-hand with this sense of camaraderie was the accountability that the study sessions fostered among App Academy Open learners.
“I did quite a bit of pair programming at the time,” Fares shared. “And since I set up meetings with other people to code together, I didn’t want to not show up. So that helped make me accountable.”
Fares also made it a daily habit to show up despite his other commitments. “Every morning, I would say to myself, ‘Okay, I have to get to my full-time job now, but when I come home, I’m going to spend a couple of hours and push to GitHub.’ So, that’s exactly how I did it. I had the entire curriculum sorted in all of its modules on my GitHub. And every time I completed an exercise, I just pushed to GitHub.”
While he consistently hit his daily goal, Fares cautioned that App Academy Open is not your typical coding 101 course. “I would still recommend App Academy Open to beginners because it does have an introductory course [to coding],” he said. “But it ramps up in difficulty really fast after the first few modules, and for good reason, too.”
“Because if the exercises weren’t challenging enough, I feel like that would’ve given me false confidence in a way. The more challenging it got, the more rewarding it was for me whenever I completed an exercise.”
The coding exercises in App Academy Open aren’t your run-of-the-mill questionnaires. Rather, they challenged students to build a diverse set of coding projects. These included building out games like Asteroid, Minesweeper, and Snake and app clones of Reddit, Airbnb, and Twitter. By the end of the curriculum, you’d have learned how to “connect the front end with the backend”.
“From there, I felt like I was comfortable enough to build my own projects, which were by far my favorite,” said Fares. “I learned so much.”
Getting a Job After App Academy Open
For Fares, learning didn’t stop after App Academy Open. “I jumped in the App Academy Open program in January of 2019 and finished the entire curriculum from A to Z in August of 2020,” he said. From there, Fares started to expand his projects portfolio.
“I wanted to mimic the responsibilities for the in-person [App Academy Software Engineering immersive] as much as possible…I was diligent throughout, and I finished my projects in May of 2021.”
After two years of learning for free and at his pace, Fares started looking for a job. The short story: he landed the first one he found.
“I wanted to couple my environmental background with my programming skills,” he said when asked about his job search experience after Open. “I always said to myself that it would be really cool if I found a role where I could leverage my experience in the environmental geosciences sector with my programming knowledge.”
He found this in a Canada-based startup called SoilFLO. “So in my interview, they really loved that I already knew about the environmental regulations and all of that. They said I would be a huge asset to our team because yes, I’ll be working on the software engineering side of things but I’ll also need to think about business logic and the product side.”
A Tip to App Academy Open Learners
Capitalize on your transferable skills. Because of the increasing accessibility of coding, many students who take the App Academy Open come from diverse backgrounds, often outside of code. For Fares, this means more opportunities to integrate tech with other fields and disciplines.
“Tech is everywhere. So chances are, there could very well be companies within your industry that are building something cool and that can use your existing skills,” said Fares. “App Academy Open equips you with the skills necessary to become employable in today’s various industries. That’s what it does. Where I am right now should speak for that.”
“So that’s one recommendation I would give to App Academy Open students. Learn to code and then think about where you can apply your programming knowledge while also leveraging your previous experience.”
So, Is App Academy Open Worth It?
If we put these all together, a simple sign-up to App Academy Open grants you access to an industry-led curriculum, hands-on training, mentorship, a wide and diverse community of learners, and job search support—all at little to no cost.
“I paid zero dollars and zero cents,” said Fares. “I felt like everything in App Academy Open was all I needed to become employable. Based on where I am now, I’d say App Academy Open is definitely a real success for me. It’s by far the best resource out there for learning to code, and it’s entirely free.”
If you want to land a tech career without breaking the bank, App Academy Open might just be for you. Sign up for App Academy Open today and see where your learning can take you.
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.