Learn to Code at these Free Coding Bootcamps!

By Liz Eggleston
Last Updated June 16, 2021

While coding bootcamps can offer a high return on investment, the average tuition at code school is ~$13,584, which is no small sacrifice. A number of not-for-profit and well-organized programs offer free coding bootcamps. Some of these bootcamps are funded by job placement and referral fees; others are fueled by community support and volunteers. Expect rigorous application processes and competitively low acceptance rates, but for the right applicants, there is so much to gain at these free coding bootcamps. 

Free coding bootcamps allow students to learn to code without the large upfront fees many schools require. Some, such as 42, are funded by benefactors, and others, such as Revature, employ their students in their own businesses after graduation. 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. Deferred tuition/ISA schools include App Academy, Holberton School, and The Grace Hopper Program.

FREE Web Development Bootcamps

1. 42

Why: 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.
Location: Paris, France. Silicon Valley, CA.
Program Length: 3 to 5 years 


2. Ada Developers Academy

Why: 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 interview. What awaits at the end is tuition-free learning thanks to funding from company partners, public funding, and donorsAll women (cis and trans) and people with non-binary gender who feel a part of women's community are encouraged to apply.
Seattle, WA
Program Length: 1 year – 6 months (in-class) + 5 months (internship)
Review: "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."- Joanna


3. Founders & Coders

Why: 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, no experience required. The goal is to build a community of developers and mentors, hence the lack of a fee.
Location: London, UK
Program Length: 16 weeks (8 weeks classwork, 8 weeks projects)
Review: "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." -Izaak


4. Flatiron School Access Labs

Why: Access Labs expands access to Flatiron School and increases opportunity in tech for people who otherwise couldn’t afford to enroll. Applicants must earn a total annual income of $35,000 or less, be 21 years of age or older at the start of the program, have a high school degree, or equivalent, and be legally authorized to work in the US permanently at the time of admission to the program.
Location: Brooklyn, NY  
Program Length: 15 weeks 
Review: "The Flatiron school is intense, but it's the best way to learn. Instructors are great. The community is a supportive and engaging one. It's a fantastic environment to grow and learn, as a developer and as a person. I'd highly recommend it." -Suma


5. Recurse Center

Why: 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.

Location: New York, NY
Program Length: 12 weeks
Review: "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." -Anonymous


6. Simplon

Why: With locations in France and Romania, Simplon is a fantastic place for a European 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. 
Location: Bucharest, Romania. Paris, France. 
Program Length: 6 months


7. Revature

Why: Revature is a technology talent development company which offers a 12-week full-time coding bootcamp which is entirely free and guarantees employment with the company upon graduation. Revature offers a $250 travel allowance, 12 weeks of accommodation, a living stipend, plus books and training materials.
Location: Reston, VA; Scottsdale, AZ; New York, NY.
Program Length: 12 weeks


Deferred Payment/Income Sharing Agreement Web Development Bootcamps

1. App Academy

Why: App Academy is an intensive program that prepares you to become an entry level Ruby on Rails developer. Interested applicants should expect to submit an application, complete a coding challenge, potentially complete a second coding challenge, complete an interview, and then receive an admission decision.
Location: San Francisco, CA; New York, NY.
Program Length: 12 weeks
Cost Details: App Academy has a number of payment options:

  • Pay $17,000 upfront
  • Pay a $5000 deposit, then when you have found a job, pay $23,000 according to a flexible payment schedule for one year ($28,000 total)
  • Pay a $9000 deposit, then when you have found a job, pay $14,000 according to a flexible payment schedule for one year ($23,000 total)

Review: "It was great. You have to understand that you are going to be working your ass off, but if you come to learn every day, you're going to get a lot out of the experience." -Anonymous


2. C4Q

Why: C4Q's Access Code program offers programs focusing on Full Stack Web Development, Android, and iOS, with the aim of preparing students for software engineering roles, and a salary increase. The school strives to provide coding education to a diverse and inclusive community, as well as people with low-income backgrounds.
Cost Details: No upfront costs. Income Sharing Agreement – participants pay the school 12% of their earnings for two years once they find a job.
Location: Queens, NY
Program Length: 10 months (6 months tuition + 4 months career prep)

3. Holberton School

Why: Holberton School is a two-year software engineering school based in San Francisco that trains individuals to become full stack engineers. Named for Betty Holberton who worked on the ENIAC Programmers Project (the first programmable computer), the school's mission is to train the next generation of software developers through 100% hands-on learning. The curriculum adopts a project-based, peer learning approach. In lieu of formal classes, students solve increasingly complicated programming challenges with minimal instruction. 
Cost Details: Income Sharing Agreement. Holberton charges 17% of your internship earnings and 17% of your salary over 3 years once you find a job.
Location: San Francisco
Program Length: 2 Years, consisting of a 9-month learning phase, a 6-month internship, and another 9-month learning phase.


4. The Grace Hopper Program

Why: The Grace Hopper Program is an immersive software engineering program for women with no upfront tuition cost. Named for pioneer computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper, the program is driven by three values: education, opportunity, and mentorship. By employing a deferred tuition model (students only pay tuition once they secure a job after graduation), Grace Hopper aims to lower the barrier to entry and accept qualified candidates who cannot afford the upfront cost of a coding bootcamp.
Location: New York City
Cost Details: Deferred tuition. $3000 deposit, then once graduates land a job, they pay the remaining $16,610 in tuition in 9 installments over 9 months.
Program Length: 17 weeks


5. Lambda School

Why: Lambda School is a fully online, synchronous coding bootcamp where students learn from 9am to 6pm for six months. The program focuses on teaching JavaScript and C++, and has an emphasis on computer science concepts. Lambda School also has a bias-blind admissions process.
Location: Online
Cost Details: Once graduates land a job paying over $50,000 per year, they pay 17% of their salary for 2 years. Or $20,000 up-front.
Program Length: 6 months


6. Mayden Academy

Why: Mayden Academy is a 16-week, full-time full-stack coding bootcamp focused on attracting students with a strong work ethic and enthusiasm. Mayden Academy's bootcamp curriculum is designed to prepare students for a junior developer role with the option of allowing students to also take individual modules at their own pace.
Location: Bath, England
Cost Details: Income Sharing Agreement or £8,000 per student. Students have an option to pay no upfront tuition, and then pay back monthly 10% their income, with 0% interest until the full tuition amount is paid.
Program Length: 16 weeks


7. Product College (Make School)

Why: Product College is a 2-year app development program offered by Make School in San Francisco. The program covers web development and iOS, and students also work on building apps using other up-and-coming technologies. Students have the summers off and are encouraged to get an internship over that time. The founders intend for the program to be equivalent to a college education.
Location: San Francisco
Cost Details: Product College's income sharing agreement (ISA) has a number of options:

  • $60,000 upfront (paid in quarterly installments over two years of the program)
  • $34,500 upfront (paid in quarterly installments over the two years of the program) + 25% of salary for 18 months (~$70,000 total)
  • $16,500 upfront (paid in quarterly installments over the two years of the program) + 25% of salary for 30 months (~$80,000 total)
  • $0 upfront + 25% of salary for 42 months (~$90,000 total)


Find more schools and get advice in our Guide to Deferred Tuition & Income Sharing Agreements

FREE Data Science Bootcamps

1. Data Science For All

Why: Correlation One’s Data Science for All (DS4A) programs provide free training and career support to students and professionals who identify as Black, Latinx, female, or LGBTQ+, in partnership with major employers around the world.
Location: Online
Program Length: 13 weeks 
Review: "I'm just delighted that I could attend this program. The overall experience was excellent: great training materials, top professors, superb training platform and most importantly, an evident extra effort to make it an enjoyable learning experience." -Andres

2. Insight Data Science

Why: Insight Data Science is a 7-week post-doctoral training fellowship intended to help data scientists transition from academia to a career in data science. The program is project-based under the guidance of industry professionals instead of time spent in the classroom. It also features job preparation and networking opportunities with companies culminating in real interviews at the end of the program. Applicants must have completed or be approaching completion of a Ph.D.
Silicon Valley, CA. New York, NY.
Program Length: 7 weeks

3. The Data Incubator

Why: The Data Incubator is an intensive 7-week fellowship. TDI features short modules covering relevant data science topics, seminars with data scientist mentors, project building, and interviews with employers. Applications are open for anyone who has or within 1 year of receiving their masters or Ph.D. from any math, science, engineering, or social science. Tuition is paid for by employers and the expectation is that fellows will receive jobs within 12 months of the program. There are no technical requirements to apply.
New York, NY. Washington DC. San Francisco, CA. Online.
Program Length: 7 weeks


FREE Tech Sales Bootcamps

1. SV Academy

Why: SV Academy is an online, tuition-free technical sales fellowship. Available to anyone willing to relocate to San Francisco or New York City upon program completion.
Location: Online
​​​​​​​Program Length: 4 weeks full-time or 3 months part-time

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

About The Author

Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students researching coding bootcamps. Her research has been cited in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and more. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube!

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