freeCodeCamp Review

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Updated September 13, 2022

A free coding bootcamp could turn computer science novices into experts, all at no cost. But is free code camp really worth it?

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Credit: ijeab / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Since 2014, freeCodeCamp, an open-source community, has been putting together free coding resources. This nonprofit organization offers a verified certificate whenever users complete each piece of their curriculum.

Their 3,000-hour curriculum includes certifications in responsive web design, JavaScript algorithms and data structures, machine learning with Python, and information security.

Whether pursuing a certification or not, students around the world can access thousands of articles, videos, and lessons along with interactive coding groups.

What Does freeCodeCamp Offer?

freeCodeCamp is a totally free way to learn coding. Its comprehensive, real-world curriculum takes students through 3,000 hours of courses, each composed of multiple short lessons.

All of the work is self-paced, so it can accommodate any schedule. Applicants do not need a degree, a certificate, relevant work experience, or even a high school diploma. They simply need to sign up for a class and complete it.

Courses include data visualization, front-end development libraries, and scientific computing with Python. Specifically, this program emphasizes the fundamentals of programming languages like JavaScript and Python.

Students earn a certificate after completing each of the 13 courses that compose the free coding program. While no instructor evaluates student projects, learners can ask for feedback from their peers in online student forums.

Since freeCodeCamp's courses are entirely learner-directed and unobserved, students need a strong sense of commitment to succeed. Despite this high level of required self-discipline, more than 40,000 people have graduated from the program and now work as developers.

In addition to its coding program, freeCodeCamp offers over 8,000 tutorials in computer science topics, including SQL, HTML, and binary search tree traversal. The school 's most significant foci include:

  • Python

  • Python is a popular, high-level programming language. freeCodeCamp offers three certifications in Python — one focused on scientific computing, one on data analysis, and another on machine learning.

  • JavaScript

  • JavaScript is the language behind 97% of websites on the internet. freeCodeCamp provides courses in how to use JavaScript for both front-end and back-end development.

  • Machine Learning

  • freeCodeCamp provides a single certification in machine learning using TensorFlow. Students learn how neural networks operate, as well as how to work with natural language processing and reinforcement learning.

freeCodeCamp Snapshot


Cost: Free

Learning Options: Each self-paced course requires about 300 hours to complete.

Locations: Online

Student Outcomes: freeCodeCamp has more than 230,000 alumni. Graduates work at companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, and Accenture.

Free Coding Certifications at freeCodeCamp

freeCodeCamp's certifications offer a variety of resources to teach students about coding. The coursework is so diverse that students at basic, intermediate, or advanced levels could benefit from enrolling in a certification.

Every certification's curriculum has several sections, each with a number of challenges for students to complete at their own pace. Beyond the challenges, learners review articles and tutorials on various topics related to the material.

Responsive Web Design Certification


The new responsive web design certification builds on freeCodeCamp's legacy web design program in which students learn hypertext markup language (HTML) for content and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for design. Students begin the program by building a cat photo app, then move on to more complex techniques such as building a quiz site.

To earn their certifications, students complete 15 courses and four projects. Courses include learning HTML forms by building a registration form, learning typography by building a nutrition label, learning responsive web design by building a piano, and learning CSS grid by building a magazine. The final project requires enrollees to build a personal webpage.


Coding Interview Prep


In this program, experienced coders conduct hundreds of coding challenges that can sharpen their skills. At the end of the certification, students have a portfolio of work to show in interviews.

Courses consist of algorithms, data structures, Rosetta Code, take-home projects, and Project Euler. Students can improve their logic and programming skills, learn to manage complex data structures, and complete rigorous challenges using Rosetta Code and Project Euler archives. Each course consists of 10-480 lessons.


JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures


freeCodeCamp's JavaScript algorithms and data structures certification is a comprehensive and well-rounded program covering everything from basic HTML and CSS to more advanced concepts like Flexbox and media queries.

This certification has 10 courses, including functional programming, intermediate algorithm scripting, and debugging. Each course consists of 12-113 digital lessons.

At the conclusion of the coursework, students complete five JavaScript projects — palindrome checker, roman numeral converter, Caesar cipher, telephone number validator, and cash register. These projects are similar to but more difficult than the algorithm challenges covered in the coursework.


Data Visualization


Through the data visualization certification, students can learn to build graphs, charts, and maps that give shape and context to high volumes of data. Learners study JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and how to work with online data using an application programming interface (API).

The certification's curriculum consists of two courses and five data visualization projects. In data visualization with D3, students learn to create interactive data visualizations with Data-Driven Documents, a JavaScript library. In the course on JSON APIs and AJAX, students learn the basics of working with APIs.

After completing the 39 lessons in the two required courses, participants demonstrate their ability to fetch data, parse a dataset, and create different data visualizations using D3.


Backend Development and APIs


Coders who have used JavaScript on the front end can take this course to learn more about employing this language for back-end development. Students learn to work with node.js, the express framework, MongoDB, and the Mongoose library.

This certification consists of three courses and five projects. In the first 10 lessons, students learn about managing packages with npm.js. In 12 lessons, learners cover the basics of node and express.

In the final 12 lessons, students discover how to set up a model and work with persistent data. During the project portion of the curriculum, students create five microservice APIs.


Data Analysis With Python


Enrollees study the fundamentals of data analysis using Python. Upon completing the program, learners should be able to read data in SQL and CSVs, and process and visualize data using libraries like Pandas, Numpy, Matplotlib, and Seaborn.

To earn this certification, students enroll in two courses and complete five data analysis projects. The courses are Numpy and data analysis with Python.

In Numpy, students learn how Numpy works and begin to write code using it. In data analysis with Python, learners explore the entire process of data analysis in 28 lessons. The final projects require learners to demonstrate skill with data analysis using Python.


Machine Learning With Python


In this practical, hands-on course, students learn to build neural networks using the TensorFlow framework. Students take two courses: TensorFlow and "how neural networks work." TensorFlow consists of 32 lessons, and "how neural networks work" has four lessons.

At the course conclusion, students complete five projects demonstrating they possess foundational knowledge of machine learning.

How Do I Get Into freeCodeCamp?

To enroll in freeCodeCamp, prospective students simply need to go to the website, click "sign in," set up an account, select their desired certification, and begin work on their first course.

Applicants do not need to fill out an application, complete prerequisites, send an application fee, or hold membership in any professional organization. In addition, students do not need to complete freeCodeCamp's courses in order.

To read one of the company's trending guides, click on the guide at the bottom of the home page. Students — and others — can watch freeCodeCamp's YouTube videos or join its LinkedIn network for free.

Costs of Attending Free Coding Bootcamps

Every aspect of freeCodeCamp is 100% free, making it distinctive among coding bootcamps. Often, bootcamp students pay between $7,800 and $21,000 in tuition; average tuition costs come in at $13,584.

While students cannot use federal grants or loans to pay for these programs, they can employ other kinds of financial aid. For instance, many bootcamps offer loans, scholarships, or deferred tuition. Others provide discounts for up-front payees.

Many others are experimenting with income-share agreements where students pay a portion of their income after landing a job.

Private scholarships and corporate-driven educational subsidies may also cover the cost of coding bootcamps. Some federal programs, such as the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses fund, may also help meet the cost of a coding bootcamp.

Is freeCodeCamp Worth It?

For people who are willing to put in the time and effort, freeCodeCamp offers a great way to learn coding. The challenging coursework demands rigorous practice, but learners can complete it at their own pace with a supportive community to help along the way.

However, freeCodeCamp does not offer job placement assistance or any guarantee that graduates will find a job after completing the program. Prospective students looking for career-ready skills and credentials may find a traditional computer science degree provides a better option.

freeCodeCamp provides neither a degree nor a true bootcamp experience. While it does convey a lot of information, the site does not offer much career direction or oversight.

Many of the best bootcamps, by contrast, offer mentorship from faculty along with a more direct school-to-job pipeline than freeCodeCamp does.

FAQ About freeCodeCamp Bootcamp


Is freeCodeCamp really free?

Yes, freeCodeCamp is a free online coding educational option that offers courses in various programming languages. Users can download all of its videos, articles, and lessons without paying anything. This nonprofit site runs on tax-exempt donations.

Is freeCodeCamp only for beginners?

No, freeCodeCamp is not only for beginners. The site offers a wide variety of courses for learners of all levels. Most programs, however, address the fundamentals rather than highly complex topics.

Can freeCodeCamp help you get a job?

freeCodeCamp's alumni work in hundreds of organizations around the world. The company's network of 40,000-plus alumni can help new graduates secure jobs. That said, freeCodeCamp does not offer a career services department comparable to one at a university or bootcamp.

Are free coding bootcamps worth it?

If your primary goal is learning, then free coding bootcamps can definitely help. If your goal is vocational, these experiences may not be the best option. Without the structure and investment that colleges and traditional bootcamps require, free coding bootcamps may be too tough for some participants.

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