Guide

10 Best Free Coding Bootcamps [2024 Guide]

Liz Eggleston

Written By Liz Eggleston

Jess Feldman

Edited By Jess Feldman

Last updated on June 7, 2024

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While coding bootcamps can offer a high return on investment, the average tuition at code school is ~$13,584 according to Course Report data. But did you know that a number of not-for-profit bootcamps and well-organized programs actually offer free coding bootcamps? Expect rigorous application processes and competitively low acceptance rates, but for the right applicants, these free coding bootcamps could be totally worth it! 

Want to attend a free data science bootcamp? Check out our favorites here.

What is a Free Coding Bootcamp? 

A free coding bootcamp is an immersive training program – only it's free to students! Some of these bootcamps are funded by employers and referral fees; others are fueled by community support and volunteers; but all of the bootcamps on this list are free to students and intended for career changers and beginners.

Of course, there are free intro coding programs and free bootcamp prep programs, but the schools on this list aren't simply free intro classes. These are full-fledged, legitimate bootcamps with comprehensive curricula, instructors, and career services.

10 FREE Coding Bootcamps

  1. 42
  2. Ada Developers Academy
  3. Founders and Coders
  4. Re:Coded
  5. Simplon
  6. Code Tenderloin
  7. Mississippi Coding Academies
  8. Code First Girls
  9. Recurse Center
  10. ChooseU

1. 42

42 is an entirely free 3 to 5-year coding education program in the USA and France intended for students aged 18 to 30. The program was started and completely funded by businessman Xavier Niel in Paris, France in 2013, with the aim of improving France's technology sector by developing more qualified technical candidates within France. Admission is determined through a series of rigorous tests. 42 revolves around project-based "peer to peer" learning.
Cost: $0
Location: Paris, France and Silicon Valley, CA.
Program Length: 3 to 5 years 

2. Ada Developers Academy

Named for the first female developer, Ada Lovelace, Ada Developers Academy is a non-profit, year-long, tuition-free intensive training program for women. It includes 6 months of classroom learning focusing on Ruby on Rails and JavaScript, and a 5-month paid internship. The application includes a video response, a technical assessment, logic puzzle, resume submission, and an interview. What awaits at the end is tuition-free learning thanks to funding from company partners, public funding, and donors. All women (cis and trans) and people with non-binary gender who feel a part of women's community are encouraged to apply.
Cost: $0
Location:
Seattle, WA
Program Length: 1 year – 6 months (in-class) + 5 months (internship)
Joanna's advice about Ada Developers Academy: "The process hurts. It hurts a lot. But it was worth it. Eyes open, keep your expectations in check, and it will be amazing. You will be amazing. Apply."

3. Founders & Coders

Founders & Coders is the only free coding academy in the UK. It is a not-for-profit community interest company that teaches full stack web development and offers a technical working space to pursue projects with the help of mentors. The program is open to anyone over 18 who is motivated, with no experience required. The goal is to build a community of developers and mentors, hence the lack of a fee.
Cost: $0
Location:
London, UK
Program Length: 16 weeks (8 weeks classwork, 8 weeks projects)
Izaak reflects on his experience at Founders & Coders: "I took this course in Summer 2015. It was a truly great experience. I had a fantastic time and met some wonderful people and, most importantly, I am now earning a living as a web developer. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is serious about learning to programme. Expect to work very hard." 

9. Re:Coded

Based in the Middle East, Re:Coded offer free, live online tech bootcamps in full stack development, front end development, back end development, and UX design. Tuition is funded by donors and the bootcamp is run in partnership with Flatiron School. Re:Coded is particulary interested in helping women and underprivileged individuals learn tech to help them find employment.
Cost: $0
Locations: Remote, but applicants should be based in the Middle East.
Program Length: 16-26 weeks part-time
Dilara reflects on whether Re:Coded was worth the time and effort: "In retrospect, this bootcamp was the springboard that launched my career in frontend development. It not only equipped me with the technical skills but also instilled in me a sense of confidence and a deeper understanding of the industry. I am immensely grateful to Re:Coded for providing this life-changing opportunity."

5. Simplon

With locations in France and Romania, Simplon is a free option for coding education. The bootcamp is an intensive 6 months of Ruby on Rails education and significant career preparation for all the necessary tools to become a skilled programmer and growth hacker. 
Cost: $0
Location: Bucharest, Romania. Paris, France. 
Program Length: 6 months

6. Code Tenderloin

For San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, Code Tenderloin offers free tech and job-readiness training to adults and removes barriers to their education by covering transportation and childcare.
Cost: $0
Location: San Francisco
Program Length: 4-12 weeks

7. Mississippi Coding Academies

Mississippi Coding Academies (MCA) was founded in 2017 as a joint project between the Mississippi governor’s office and Innovate Mississippi. MCA’ mission is to offer a non-traditional path in order to support diverse software professionals and offer economic opportunity for those living in Mississippi, especially those in disadvantaged and underserved communities.
Cost: $0
Location: Jackson, Mississippi and Starkville, Mississippi
Program Length: 44 weeks

8. Code First Girls

Their CFGdegree is 100% FREE for all candidates. Tuition is paid by employer partners who hire Code First Girls alumni. Code First Girls is an organization committed to closing the gender gap in the tech industry by providing employment through free education.
Cost: $0
Locations: Remote, but applicants should be based in UK and Ireland.
Program Length: 16 weeks full-time

9. Recurse Center

Previously known as Hacker School, the Recurse Center is a programmer’s retreat located in New York City that offers 12 weeks of free, self-guided coding education, regardless of experience level. The idea is to bring together, smart, hardworking, flexible people and give them the space and time to work on things that interest them. Open source projects come together in the course of the program, and an extensive alumni network promises to keep the community together long past the 3 months of the program. The application process consists of a written application and two rounds of interviews. The first interview is just for culture fit and to gauge your interests, while the second is a technical interview of pair programming with a Recurse Center facilitator.
Cost: $0
Location: New York, NY
Program Length: 12 weeks
This reviewer gives more insights about the learning style at Recurse Center: "There are no instructors. Rather, everybody can work on whatever they want, which often leads to working with other people, where you both learn an incredible amount from other people, and end up teaching others what you know. There's a wide variety of people in the community, so you can always find people who are excited about the things you are, or people to help you get started learning something new."

10. ChooseU

Based in Washington, DC, ChooseU (formerly known as Generation USA) offers free, online technical skills training, plus the non-profit organization works with employers to help graduates quickly land a job. ChooseU offers programs in IT support, cloud engineering, digital marketing, Java development, and web development. Students receive professional mentorship during and after the program.
Cost: $0
Location: Online
Program Length: 12-15 weeks
This reviewer gives more insights about the bootcamp experience at ChooseU: "The TAs were all amazing and helpful. There was a lot of material to cover in such amount of time and we were presented with adequate resources to help us navigate through the cohort. In addition, [ChooseU] has career/life coaches which is a plus; get to meet with a coach to help with resumes, jobs, mock interviews and etc."

🚩 3 Things to Watch Out for When Choosing a Free Coding Bootcamp

  1. Do you qualify or meet eligibility requirements for the free bootcamp? The free coding bootcamps on this list are more beginner-friendly, but some may have specific requirements because they're intended for residents of a certain city or state. 
  2. Is the free bootcamp actually free? Don't confuse a free coding bootcamp with a deferred tuition bootcamp. At a deferred tuition bootcamp, you may not need to pay any upfront tuition, but you will need to pay back the tuition once you graduate and get a job. 
  3. Is this free bootcamp really just an introductory class? There are so many awesome, free intro coding classes. But these are not coding bootcamps! Other lists of free bootcamps may include these intro classes, but Course Report only includes coding bootcamps that are for career changers who want an immersive bootcamp experience. Be sure to ask about career services, instructor support, and a full curriculum – those are all elements that you should expect in a free bootcamp!

What Will I Learn at a Free Bootcamp?

Generally, you should expect to learn the exact same curriculum as a paid bootcamp. A free coding bootcamp may offer programs in software engineering, web development, or UX design. At a free bootcamp, the curriculum will cover popular programming languages, such as JavaScript, Ruby, or Python, and teach the latest technical tools, like Github Copilot, Tableau, and more.

Deferred Tuition + ISA Bootcamps

Some coding bootcamps offer deferred tuition or income sharing agreements where students pay nothing upfront, then pay the bootcamp a percentage of their salary once they find a job as a software developer. Coding bootcamps like App Academy, The Grace Hopper Program, and Nashville Software School, and tech sales bootcamps like SV Academy all offer Deferred Tuition. BloomTech Institute (formerly Lambda School), Hack Reactor, and Flatiron School all offer Income Sharing Agreements. 

See a full list of deferred tuition bootcamps and income sharing agreement (ISA) bootcamps here.

Free Intro Coding Programs

There are many free learn-to-code resources which will teach you the basic fundamentals of languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. That's essential knowledge for all aspiring software developers, and it's an important foundation to build before you attend a real coding bootcamp. See a full list of free intro coding programs + free bootcamp trials, and free bootcamp prep programs!

Notice a free bootcamp missing from our list? Tell us in the comments below!

About The Author

Liz Eggleston

Liz Eggleston

Liz Eggleston is co-founder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students choosing a coding bootcamp. Liz has dedicated her career to empowering passionate career changers to break into tech, providing valuable insights and guidance in the rapidly evolving field of tech education.  At Course Report, Liz has built a trusted platform that helps thousands of students navigate the complex landscape of coding bootcamps.

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