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Learn to Code ASAP with Our 5 Favorite Free Coding Classes

Laptop with code connected to smartphone a83bi

The flagship Fullstack Academy coding bootcamp and its partner school Grace Hopper Program are not for pure beginners. That means we have a responsibility to help new coders get the fundamental skills required to eventually join us. So we’ve polled students and alums to discover the best free coding classes out there, so you can learn to code ASAP--and then pass admissions at a top coding bootcamp like ours.

1. Codewars

Codewars Image

We recommend that everyone learning how to code as an adult first benchmark their skills over at Codewars, a free online coding resource that offers coding challenges in pretty much every language imaginable.

For those with previous coding experience from when you were a kid, classes you took in high school or college, or even basic coding you’ve had to learn for work, it can help you realize how much you’ve already picked up. And if you keep benchmarking as you learn to code, it can help you measure your progress over time.

The Codewars website measures skill level in “kyu” and the ranking is the reverse of what you might be used to: Level 8 is the easiest, while level 1 is the hardest.

We tell Fullstack and Grace Hopper applicants that if you can complete with confidence the medium problems on level 6, you’re ready to apply to our program.

2. Eloquent JavaScript

Eloquent JavaScript book cover and chapters

Eloquent JavaScript is a favorite among Fullstack Academy and Grace Hopper Program students and instructors. And fun fact: It’s a book! Many of us are now so used to coding websites that reading a book in order to learn to code might seem far-fetched or outdated, but we are always recommending this resource.

But don’t worry: It’s not a book you’ll have to pay for. It’s available online totally free. And best of all, reading it on the Eloquent JavaScript website is an interactive experience. Every time they offer an example or walk through the steps of a problem, you can click right into the example and try your hand at it in a text editor. Pretty neat, huh?

Eloquent JavaScript is definitely the OG way to learn programming, so get started today!

3. Codecademy

What you'll learn at Codecademy

Codecademy (sometimes mistakenly referred to as “Code Academy”) is truly one of our favorite coding websites to recommend. Their team often attends Launch Day, our in-house job fair, to recruit grads. And they’ve even hired some folks!

Our love for their team aside, Codecademy offers comprehensive courses for folks in JavaScript, Python, HTML & CSS, and more. The free version of the site includes hours of basic coding concepts, while the paid version gets you access to more specialized areas of focus.

They also offer a great help forum and really care about education, so you can be sure you’re getting a strong, up-to-date curriculum there, just as you would here at Fullstack or Grace Hopper Program.

4. freeCodeCamp

freeCodeCamp courses

You might also know them as “Free Code Camp,” but either way, this is a great way to learn code online and a great community to be a part of. freeCodeCamp is a nonprofit on a mission to help other nonprofits, so right off the bat, in addition to getting to learn to code for free, you’ll be using your new basic coding skills to make the world a better place.

All their coding courses are 100% free, and they offer a really strong HTML and CSS foundation before you move on to JavaScript. They also emphasize web development and design best practices, like accessibility, responsive design, and information security.

If you’re looking for a supportive environment in which to learn to code, you can’t do much better than freeCodeCamp. And don’t forget to check out their blog! You can read lots of helpful how-tos and get inspired by others learning how to code.

5. Fullstack Academy’s Bootcamp Prep Courses

Bootcamp Prep at Fullstack Academy

We couldn’t leave our own awesome Bootcamp Prep program off this list of coding courses, especially since our live courses are now offered free with refund! So while you do have to pay up front, you’ll get back everything you pay as long as you complete the course. Pretty good deal, right?

Bootcamp Prep will not only teach you programming and JavaScript basics--like loops, functions, objects, conditional statements, and more--it will give you a feel for bootcamp in general and Fullstack Academy (or the Grace Hopper Program) specifically. That’s because classes are taught by Fullstack and Grace Hopper grads now working in the industry, and they’ll bring the same generosity, rigor, and fun to the Bootcamp Prep classroom that we cultivate in our coding bootcamp cohorts.

Depending on your skill level and schedule, we offer three different Bootcamp Prep coding courses, all of which offer the same number of hours of instruction and teach the same JavaScript-oriented curriculum:

Bootcamp Prep in a Month

• Best for beginners

• Mon - Thurs evenings for 3.5 weeks

• Pay $250 up front; receive full refund upon course completion

• Taught live by Fullstack/Grace Hopper grads with TAs available for technical help

• Available on New York campus, Chicago campus, and taught live online (no commute required)

Bootcamp Prep in a Week

• Best for experienced coders needing a refresher

• 2 full-time weekends plus Mon - Thurs evenings in between

• Pay $250 up front; receive full refund upon course completion

• Taught live by Fullstack/Grace Hopper grads with TAs available for technical help

• Available on New York campus and taught live online (no commute required)

Bootcamp Prep Online

• Best for total beginners

• Video course (no live instruction) with videos recorded by Fullstack’s founders

• Many students start with Bootcamp Prep Online, then move on to one of the live Bootcamp Prep coding classes above once they feel ready to work with an instructor at a faster pace

• Get the course for free here

Now go learn to code for free!

We’ve gotten you started with some awesome coding classes and learning websites. Now it’s up to you to set your mind to it and make the time to learn programming. We’ve seen so many different kinds of folks come through our doors--sculptors, teachers, personal trainers, bartenders, guitarists, graphic designers, financial analysts, lab techs, archaeologists...the list goes on--that we are convinced pretty much anyone can learn to code.

You do have to be curious. You do have to enjoy a challenge and have the grit to keep trying at a problem ten times without quitting. But other than that, you don’t have to be good at math, or have majored in a STEM field, or even have much experience with computers. You’re already open to learning, and that’s the biggest hurdle.

Now you’ll just need a dash of discipline to log on to one of these coding websites and start to learn programming today.

Want to learn to code in person, instead? Check out some free coding classes in New York City or these 8 coding bootcamps and meetups in Chicago.