Learn to Code (for Free) Before Coding Bootcamp

Imogen Crispe

Written By Imogen Crispe

Last updated on March 30, 2022

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Are you preparing to apply for or start a coding bootcamp? Need to brush up on your coding skills and arrive well-prepared and ahead of the game? Then this guide is for you. We have gathered free and paid resources from around the internet, and from coding bootcamps themselves, which will teach you the basic fundamentals of languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript – essential knowledge for all aspiring software developers.

Doing some learning by yourself is useful for a number of reasons:

1. You will find out if you really like coding and could do it as a career
2. You will start laying a foundation of knowledge that you can then build on
3. You can learn about and bookmark resources and websites that will be useful throughout your coding bootcamp, and your career


Free Online Coding Resources

(in alphabetical order)

This free online learning platform is often prescribed by coding bootcamps as pre-work before you start the program. Subjects are presented in order from the beginning in an example then exercise format, where you learn to code by doing.
Level: Beginner
Subjects: HTML & CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, Git, SQL, ReactJS, Sass, APIs
Bootcampers who used Codecademy: Tommy of Galvanize, Joe of Thinkful, Beth of Fullstack AcademySean of Dev Bootcamp

This free online learning platform is popular, has a supportive community (see the Twitter threads), and is a starting point for many people who want to become professional coders. Beginner exercises are formatted in an instruction-exercise format, so you learn to code by doing in a logical order.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Subjects: HTML & CSS, JavaScript, Bootstrap, JQuery, Algorithms, JSON APIs & Ajax, Git, MongoDB, Chrome Developer Tools
Bootcampers who used FreeCodeCamp: Beth of Fullstack Academy, Melissa of Guild SA

This is a very basic overview of how JavaScript works, with little exercises themed around cats.
Level: Beginner
Subjects: JavaScript

Khan Academy is a free online learning resource for all ages with classes and subjects from kindergarten onwards. The computing track is great for coding beginners and includes both programming and computer science courses. Classes are delivered through a mix of videos, coding challenges, and reading.
Level: Beginner
Subjects: HTML & CSS, JavaScript, SQL, JQuery, Algorithms, Cryptography, Information theory
Bootcampers who used Khan Academy: Christina of Startup Institute, Cori of The Iron Yard

NodeSchool is a collection of open source tutorials that teach web software skills. Users can work through them on their own, or find an in-person workshop to work through the exercises with others.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Subjects: JavaScript, Git, Node.JS, Testing, MongoDB, SASS, React,
Recommended by: Instructor Liz Howard of Galvanize

Similar to Codecademy and FreeCodeCamp, Solo Learn is a free online learning resource with reading, exercises and coding challenges which get you to learn through doing.
Level: Beginner
Subjects: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, C++, Java, Python, PHP, C#, Swift, Ruby, JQuery, SQL

W3Schools is a resource for learning about coding and web technologies. It is used by both beginner and experienced developers and includes tutorials, reference documents, and examples.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Subjects: HTML & CSS, JavaScript, Bootstrap, JQuery, Angular, JSON, AJAX, SQL, PHP, ASP, XML
Bootcampers who use W3Schools: Lexus of We Can Code IT, Anna of The Grace Hopper Program

Free Programming Books For Beginners

An introduction to programming with a focus on JavaScript
Bootcampers who read it: Terry of The Grace Hopper Program

A book for complete beginners to get you started in programming through instruction and exercises.
Bootcampers who read it: Aaron of Coding Dojo

An introduction to programming in Ruby for complete beginners.
Bootcampers who read it: Jennifer of Flatiron School

Bootcamps with Free Trials/Online Courses

(in alphabetical order)

Free course:
Developer 101
Software development fundamentals & JavaScript

Free course: Codesmith CSX
Subjects: JavaScript
Level: Beginner-intermediate

Free course: Online Bootcamp Intro Courses
Subjects: Web Development
Level: Beginner

Free course: Free Full-Stack Bootcamp Prep
Subjects: Web Development Fundamentals
Level: Beginner

Free course: DASH
Subjects: HTML, CSS, JavaScript
Level: Beginner

Free course:
Basic Prep
Subjects: JavaScript
Level: Beginner

Free courses: A variety of short intro courses
Subjects: Github, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Angular, Python
Level: Beginner

(in alphabetical order)

Code School uses video lessons followed by course challenges to take users through the software development course material step-by-step from the beginning. Users can also earn points and badges as they level up.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Subjects: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, Python, .NET, iOS, Git, SQL
Bootcampers who used Code School: Anna of The Grace Hopper Program, Jessey of RefactorU, Kevin of Fullstack Academy, Alex of CareerFoundry
Price: $29 per month, or $228 per year

Coursera is an online platform which provides access to massive open online courses (MOOCs) from universities and other institutions, which anyone can take online. Many of the courses have free and paid options, and are offered by Stanford, Princeton, Yale, University of Michigan, UC San Diego, and more. The courses are searchable, and some are in a specific order.
Level: (depending on course) Beginner to Advanced
Subjects: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Machine Learning, Java, Data Structures, R, Web Development, iOS, Android, Web Design, Agile, C#, C++, Ruby on Rails, and more.
Bootcampers who used Coursera: Lexus of We Can Code IT, Emma of The Software Guild, Tammi of Sabio, Erica of TurnToTech
Price: Free to audit, or $29 to $99 per course

Like Coursera, EdX provides access to MOOCs from universities and institutions around the world. Again, there are free and paid options offered by colleges like Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, The University of British Columbia, and the Australian National University. Some courses are credit eligible so students can credit them towards a degree program. The courses are searchable, but not usually in a specific order.
Level: (depending on course) Beginner to Advanced
Subjects: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java, Android, UX, Bootstrap, Machine Learning, C++, C#, Microsoft Programming, Asynchronous Programming, SQL, R, Python, and more
Bootcampers who used EdX: Beth of Fullstack Academy
Price: Free without certificate, $49 to $300 for with certificate

Video workshops hosted by front end development teachers. New workshops are live streamed so users can ask questions.
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Subjects: JavaScript, NodeJS, React Native, Chrome Developer Tools, HTML, CSS, Angular, Ember, API Design, Meteor, Asynchronous Programming, ReactJS and more.
Bootcampers who used Frontend Masters: Michael of Dev Bootcamp
Price: $39 per month

Lynda has more than 5000 courses in business, technology, and creative skills taught via video by industry professionals. There are more than 400 software development courses. The premium plan includes code practice and quizzes as well as access to the video courses.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Subjects: JavaScript, Java, C#, C++, iOS, Android, PHP, Go, MySQL, Ruby on Rails, Git, Object-Oriented Design, and more.
Bootcampers who used Lynda: Marisa of Tech Talent South, Chris of Tech Elevator, Scott of DecodeMTL
Price: Basic $19.99 per month, Premium $29.99 per month

SitePoint is a hub of resources for web developers, by web developers. Resources include videos, ebooks, forums, and integration with GitHub.
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Subjects: HTML & CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Mobile, UX, WordPress, Java and more.
Recommended by: DevPoint Labs Instructor Ty
Price: $99 per year for Premium, some courses are free

Treehouse offers online courses in web development taught via videos, interactive tools, and practical coding exercises and challenges. Users can also choose to do a Techdegree to get a solid foundation in coding skills to become a certified developer.
Level: Beginner to advanced
Subjects: Front End Web Development, Python, C#, Rails, iOS, Android, Java, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, Databases, Game Development, VR Development, and more.
Bootcampers who used Treehouse: Sergio of Fullstack Academy, Christina of Startup Institute, Joe of Thinkful, Marisa of Tech Talent South
Price: Basic $25 per month, Pro $49 per month, Techdegree $199 per month.

Udacity offers free and paid online classes in programming taught via video and quizzes. Users can also do a job-oriented Nanodegree program, some of which have 6-month job guarantees.
Level: Beginner to advanced
Subjects: HTML & CSS, Ruby, JavaScript, Git, GitHub, Python, APIs, Databases, JQuery, Android
Bootcampers who used Udacity: Anna of The Grace Hopper Program, Sean of Thinkful
Price: Nanodegree $199 per month, Nanodegree Plus (with job guarantee) $299

Udemy is a global marketplace of online courses on all sorts of subjects, including programming and web development. A typical class is between one and three hours long, with 60% video content.
Level: Beginner to advanced
Subjects: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Bootstrap, Angular, Redux, React, NodeJS, Python, Django, golang, MySQL, and more.
Bootcampers who used Udemy: Michael of Dev Bootcamp, Leila of The Grace Hopper Program, Daniel of DevPoint Labs, Jasmine of Coder Camps
Price: From $15 to $200 per course


About The Author

Imogen Crispe

Imogen Crispe

Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves exploring technology and education in her work. Her strong background in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites, makes her a contributor with professionalism and integrity.

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