Learning web development online – one hand reaching out to another through a computer screen

So You Want To Learn To Code Online? These Are The Best Options


We’re all told that learning to code is imperative; program or be programmed. The rise of immersive coding bootcamps are proof that people are willing to quit their jobs, uproot their lives, and change their careers.

While learning to code is a highly marketable skill that can get you a promotion or even a new job, not everyone can afford the opportunity cost. People have jobs they actually like, families they love, and commitments in their current cities.

Luckily, there are a plethora of coding resources that require varying levels of personal commitment. Let’s look at a few examples of MOOCs, Mentor-Driven Online Courses, and Immersive Bootcamps. You’ll be surprised at the number of choices you have as you make your decision.

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) were popularized in 2012 as universities began to offer open courses to students around the world. They offer the ultimate in convenience and require the least intensive commitment. Most MOOCs are free and allow students to learn entirely at their own pace.

However, this lack of human interaction and accountability has proven to be a negative in some cases- 20,000 students typically enroll in a MOOC, but most have completion rates of less than 13%. If you’re looking for a low-commitment introduction to programming, try this Fundamentals class on Coursera, taught by the University of Toronto. The “Become a Professional Web Developer” course on Udemy costs $299 and promises to teach students the skills to get a job in web development.

For students who need more structure and want guidance from a real developer as they learn, a new generation of mentored online schools are becoming popular. Schools like CareerFoundry offer the flexibility of accessing content from anywhere in the world with the support of mentors to keep you on track and motivated. CareerFoundry offers online courses in Web Development and UX and UI Design. Unlike other online schools, CareerFoundry emphasizes making their graduates job-ready, and even connects students with their recruitment partners! In addition, CareerFoundry is quite affordable, charging between $4,999 and $6,999 for a full career-change course.

Courses through Thinkful require 10-12 hours/week and students are matched with mentors who guide them through exercises. Bloc is another online, mentored program, and offers several time-commitment options. Skillcrush offers condensed “blueprints,” and attracts over 80% women to their online courses! CodeUnion is a new online bootcamp, founded by former Dev Bootcamp cofounder and student Jesse Farmer and John Davidson.

Students who want to become professional developers and can afford the opportunity cost may opt for a full-time developer bootcamp. These 8-12 week programs are intensive, often project-based, and require students to eat, breath, and sleep coding. If you’re admitted to an immersive coding bootcamp, expect to quit your job and even move to a new city in order to participate. In the US, popular bootcamp options include Hack Reactor and App Academy.

Several bootcamps also have locations abroad- check out Startup InstituteGeneral Assembly, and Makers Academy. These schools are much pricier, ringing in between $10K-$20K. However, there are benefits that some students can only get from an in-person bootcamp. If you can’t commit to learning online or you need to learn in a classroom setting, then the intensive bootcamp model may be for you. Once you graduate, many coding schools guarantee a job offer of over $60,000, and most have great connections to the city where they’re located.

Once you’ve decided that you want to learn to code, then the real work begins- choosing how to learn! Identify your time commitment needs and price range, and use resources like Course Report to find schools that meet your specific needs.

What You Should Do Now

  1. If you’d like a step-by-step intro to find out if web dev is right for you - sign up here for our free 7-day web dev short course.
  2. If you are interested in becoming a Web Developer check out our web development course (you'll learn the essential skills employers need).
  3. If you’d like to speak to an expert Career Advisor for free about how you can really get a new job in tech - connect with us here.

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Liz Eggleston

Contributer to the CareerFoundry Blog

Liz Eggleston is a LivingSocial alum and co-founder of Course Report, the online resource for potential students considering a coding bootcamp.