18 Best Online Coding Schools and Bootcamps (Review) | Career Sidekick

18 Best Online Coding Schools and Bootcamps (Review)

best online coding schools and bootcamps - review

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As a former tech recruiter, I’ve seen a lot of online coding bootcamps. I’ve also talked to many software engineers about which schools deliver the best results.

…And which ones help you find a job… since that’s the end-goal! (Some are MUCH better than others at job placement).

So in this article, I’m going to cover 18 of the top programming bootcamps and courses for anyone looking to learn tech skills and get a new job.

I’ll also share which programming languages and technologies are best to learn no matter which school you choose, so make sure to read until the end!

The Best Online Software Engineering Bootcamps

1. Treehouse

Treehouse offers bootcamp-style courses in their online TechDegree program that are designed to get you ready for a high-paying tech career as a software developer.

Course options include front end web development, full stack JavaScript, Python, and more.

Along with teaching you the skills you’ll need, they also help you build up a portfolio of real-world projects to make it easier to find a job when you graduate.

You’ll also get in-depth code reviews from your peers so you can make sure you’re on the right track as you learn to program.

Here are some recent reviews from real students on twitter:

online software engineering bootcamp reviews - treehouse tech degree

Their TechDegree program is suitable for complete beginners with no knowledge and costs just $199 per month, making TreeHouse one of the best sites to learn coding on a budget.

If you’re unsure which area to study and specialize in, they also offer a free quiz to help you get started.

2. Flatiron School

Flatiron School is one of the best coding schools in terms of reputation worldwide.

I first became aware of them while working as a tech recruiter in New York City, and I recently heard that they now offer a fully online coding bootcamp, too.

They offer a self-paced option, but also a full-time and part-time live bootcamp where you’ll have a start date, an end date, and interact with experienced instructors through each step of the process.

They’ll also pair you one-on-one with a dedicated career coach to help you land a job after you’re done learning.

And according to their website, if you graduate, follow their job search process, and don’t obtain a job offer within 6 months, your tuition will be refunded.

If you’re serious about learning top-tier software development skills from some of the best instructors in any program – online or offline – I highly recommend Flatiron School. They’re going to get you as proficient in software development as possible without having a computer science degree.

Tuition is $15,000, so this isn’t a cheap option, but you get what you pay for. Many software engineers earn $100,000 and above, and you’ll typically build better skills and land better jobs when you receive top-notch instruction like what Flatiron School offers.

3. Codecademy

Codecademy is a site I first heard about through conversations with software developers, and it always seems to receive praise and high reviews from people in the industry! They offer both free and paid options.

While you get a lot of benefits by paying for a bootcamp (and that’s what I recommend if you can afford it) I can also understand why someone might want to test the waters with a course that’s free to start!

Codecademy allows you to go through their “Basic” plan without paying anything. You’ll receive access to their basic courses and peer support.

If you pay to upgrade to their Pro plan, you’ll get step-by-step guidance, real-world projects that you’ll be able to show to employers when you finish, and a certificate of completion.

codecademy - online courses to learn web development, python and more

They also offer a free quiz to find out which skills and programming languages suit your strengths and interests. So if you’re still unsure what path to study, take the quiz here.

4. Fullstack Academy

Fullstack Academy is an online coding bootcamp that also has physical locations in New York City and Chicago, and they’re known to be one of the best in terms of the quality of instruction.

They teach a JavaScript-focused curriculum including the latest web technologies like Node.js and React.

This is one of the BEST career paths to start as a new person learning to code. You’ll be learning modern technologies that top companies are using to build and grow their websites and applications.

At the end of this article, I’ll share more about the different programming languages and technologies that you’ll see offered online to help you make sense of all the choices.

If you do decide to pursue full stack JavaScript, this is one of the best JavaScript bootcamps out there.

5. Code Institute

Code Institute is based in the UK and claims to be Europe’s leading online bootcamp. They bring you from zero experience to being ready to land a developer job in under 12 months.

One other distinguishing factor: Their online coding course is university-accredited in the UK. Because this is university credit-rated, you could potentially continue on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in the future if you choose (presumably by transferring to a traditional university).

The tech stack you’ll be learning includes HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and more, and the course is priced at €5,900.

They also feature a network of 100+ global hiring partners, which boosts your odds of receiving a job offer when you complete the bootcamp.

If you’re in the UK or Europe and looking for online coding courses with certificates and accreditation, and a program that will help you land a job upon completion, this is one of the best options.

6. Lambda School

Lambda School is a fantastic tech bootcamp known for its quality education and somewhat unique pricing structure: They let you learn without paying and then collect your tuition after you’re earning $50,000 per year or more.

From there, you’ll make monthly payments based on your income. Payments end when you’ve finished paying off the course.

If you’re looking for top coding bootcamps that don’t require any upfront investment, this is a good option to consider. A few others on our list also feature this type of payment plan. 

If you choose Lambda School, you’ll have a choice between learning data science and full stack web development.

7. Austin Coding Academy

Austin Coding Academy is another one of the best coding bootcamps on the web, and they also offer an in-person format if you happen to be in Austin, TX.

They provide a choice between full-time and part-time web development bootcamps, taking 18 weeks and 36 weeks respectively.

You’ll learn full stack web development with a JavaScript-focused curriculum that’s in-line with what modern tech employers look for, and you’ll benefit from their 89% job placement rate. That’s the percentage of graduates who become employed as web developers within six months of graduation.

To help you get hired, they offer a job placement course with their courses in web development, and they’ve built numerous hiring partnerships with tech employers.

This is one of the best online web development bootcamps if you want a very high-quality education. Tuition is $10,960 and they offer multiple payment plans.

They also offer courses in WordPress, but if you’re looking to begin a tech career from scratch and want to work at top tech companies, I recommend their online web development course instead.

8. Hack Reactor

Hack Reactor is one of the best in the business, offering a full time, 12-week program on-site or online.

As a part of their program, they offer career services to help you learn job interviewing, negotiation, and more.

The curriculum is one that I’m confident in recommending – full stack Javascript. (In the final section I’ll explain why).

Tuition is $17,980 if paid upfront, but according to their website, you have another option where you’ll pay nothing until you’re employed.

They have 5,600+ alumni and have placed their students into some of the biggest and best tech companies:

hack reactor web development bootcamp - hiring companies

There’s no pre-recorded material or self paced learning. This is a truly immersive, live, and interactive program conducted online, like most of the bootcamps in this price range. 

9. General Assembly

Known for having excellent in-person bootcamps, General Assembly now offers a couple of choices online, including:

  • Software Engineering
  • User Experience (UX) Design
  • Data Science

With 12,000+ graduates getting hired into tech jobs, they claim to have placed more grads into high-paying tech careers than any other online coding bootcamp.

Their online program for learning software engineering has a full time and part time “flex” option.

Full tuition is $14,950, and they offer payment options like most of the other coding bootcamps on this list.

So if you want to learn from a large organization with a proven track record, this is one of the best online coding schools to look at, and we like that they offer full time and part time scheduling choices to make this accessible to more people.

10. Actualize

Actualize prides themselves on top-notch instructors and a close connection between student and teacher, plus job support after you graduate.

They’ve set up multiple options for full-time and part-time learning, including at night, to make their software engineering bootcamps more accessible.

And all classes are live. In fact, they call it, “The online coding bootcamp that’s just like in person.”

Total tuition is $13,900 and they offer several different payment plans for as little as $409 per month.

So in short – if you want one of the best online coding courses, and one that comes as close to mirroring the experience you’d get being in the classroom live, this is a great choice!

You can also attend in-person in Chicago if you happen to live there.

11. She Codes

She Codes is a company offering an online bootcamp for coding specifically for women.

They offer a free 60-minute coding session for beginners to get a taste of what you’d be learning in their more advanced programs, and then they offer online coding workshops lasting anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

In these workshops, you’ll go from absolute beginner to completing real-world projects with technologies and languages like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Prices vary for each course. One thing we love: You can start with a course lasting just a few weeks, for under $1,000, and then upgrade to one of their more advanced courses if you decide mid-way that you want more!

View their website for more information on how this works, course pricing, student success stories, and more.

12. DataCamp

The next two schools on our list are a bit different than the coding bootcamps we looked at above.

DataCamp offers a data science curriculum where you’ll work with technologies like R and Python.

We’ll talk more about these technologies at the bottom of the article, but this type of skill set is in high-demand and will continue to be needed as companies rely more and more on data to make business decisions.

If your goal is to become a data scientist or data analyst, then DataCamp is an excellent coding bootcamp choice.

One note: In the field of data science, you’re going to be competing with people that have VERY high levels of education. The top data scientists for leading tech companies often have a Master’s degree or Ph.D. in Mathematics.

You’ll still be able to find jobs in this field, but it’s something to be aware of. You’ll likely be “capped” in terms of how far you can advance.

You could say something similar for software engineers. I just think it may be a bit harder in data science.

I’ll share more about this at the end of the article. None of this is a critique of DataCamp – just some perspective on trying to learn data science through a bootcamp in general.

13. NYC Data Science Academy

This is another one of the top bootcamps with a focus on data science.

They also offer an in person coding bootcamp if you’re in New York City.

Tuition is $17,600 with financing options available.

If you’re serious about learning tools and skills that will make you attractive to employers for data science and other data-oriented roles, this is one of the top online bootcamps anywhere in the world.

14. Coding Dojo

Coding Dojo is an online bootcamp offering a simple promise: “Become a software developer in 14 weeks.”

They offer full-time online bootcamps where you’ll learn multiple technologies and programming languages.

Overall, you’ll learn technologies like Java, Python, Ruby, and the basics of web development and front end development including HTML, CSS, and basic JavaScript.

They also offer an immersive in-person bootcamp in the following cities:

  • Arlington, VA
  • Bellevue, WA
  • Boise, ID
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Oakland, CA
  • Orange County, CA
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Tulsa, OK

If I were starting a tech career from scratch today… knowing what I know now as a former tech recruiter… I’d probably opt for a more JavaScript-focused curriculum (I’ve listed many of these programs above).

However, if you’re interested in learning Ruby or Java, or both, this is one of the best online code bootcamps to look at.

15. App Academy

App Academy is another one of the best coding schools online, with over 3,000 graduates finding work at more than 1,000 employers to date.

They’re also one of the few top-rated software development schools that also offers a free online option with App Academy Open.

This free plan has the exact same curriculum as their premium bootcamps, but is self paced and won’t offer any live help, code review, feedback, etc. (There’s always that type of trade-off between live/interactive learning and the price you pay).

It takes 12-16 months to complete, so this is a very in-depth training, especially considering it’s completely free to go through.

You just won’t have access to instructors, mentors, or other live help like “pair programming” where you learn to code by working live with another person.

To get those premium features plus things like job placement services and everything else offered by all the top-tier online bootcamps, you can pay to join their immersive online program.

This program lasts 24 weeks and teaches you everything you need to land an entry-level software developer job.

You can learn more about the program here.

Tuition is $20,000 if paid upfront. They do offer an option for students to pay after graduation, too. However, you could potentially end up paying more (up to $31,000, according to their website), if you choose this option. But you don’t have to risk anything without knowing if you’ll find a job.

16. Coursera

Coursera is a slightly different type of platform than most of the coding bootcamps above. They offer a wide range of self paced courses created by top universities and employers (like Stanford University and IBM).

For example, Duke University offers a course in “Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals.”

Some classes are completely free but others come with a monthly subscription cost (which varies depending on what country you’re in).

For paid classes, students also receive a certificate of completion that you can show to employers.

Even if a class isn’t offered for free, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial.

While Coursera isn’t quite the same as an interactive bootcamp, it’s one of the best options if you want to learn coding for free or for a low monthly fee.

17. LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is similar to Coursera. Students pay a single monthly fee to access thousands of high-quality courses. Except in this case, the courses are taught by individual experts, rather than by organizations like a university or company.

You can learn everything from body language to negotiation to software engineering and data science.

However, in our opinion, you’ll need a bit more than this type of learning to become a good web developer. One valuable aspect of the online bootcamp options from earlier is the continuous feedback and code reviews from peers and instructors, the ability to ask questions and interact with your teachers, etc.

But that comes at a higher cost, so this is a good option to test the waters and learn some basics without paying very much at all!

And if you don’t have time to commit to a full time schedule of learning, this type of pre-recorded course lets you take a self paced approach.

You can get a free one-month trial here.

And if you want more info about LinkedIn Learning and how to use it to get ahead in any career, read our in-depth review here.

18. SkillShare

SkillShare is one more option like LinkedIn Learning, where thousands of experts create high-quality online courses to teach you their field of expertise. (And you just pay a single, low monthly subscription to access it all).

While this can’t compete with the best online coding bootcamps that teach live, interactive classes, you can still learn the fundamentals VERY well here and see if you want to pursue a career as a web developer or software engineer… and if so, you can then invest in a higher-level type of learning.

(And you’ll have a headstart since you learned a bit with SkillShare!)

So I do like this type of online coding course if you’re a total beginner and unsure if you want to spend a lot of money!

Go here to get 2 months of unlimited classes for free.

Which Languages Should You Study in an Online Programming Bootcamp?

We looked at a lot of coding bootcamp reviews above and you saw several different programming languages like Java, JavaScript, Python, HTML, CSS and more.

Along with choosing the best programming bootcamp overall, you want to make sure that you’re picking one that teaches the languages you want to learn, so this section will explain the differences.

Choosing a Programming Language

If you want to work for well-known tech companies and have a long-lasting tech career, studying full stack JavaScript is one of the best choices. That’s going to expose you to some of the most modern tools and technologies currently being used in web development.

Python is another good, modern language to study.

Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest, Spotify, and many more sites are built with Python, and this is another excellent choice to land high-paying programming jobs after you learn to code.

Ruby is another good, solid choice. It’s fast and easy to learn (relative to other languages) and is popular for creating web applications. 

Older technologies like Java are going to be more difficult to learn and are not what I’d choose if you don’t have a computer science degree.

Finally, you could learn front end development with CSS, HTML and JavaScript, however I’d recommend going the full stack route so you can earn more and advance further in your career. 

Front End vs. Back End

You’ve seen these two terms mentioned a lot now, so here’s the difference:

Front end developers build the parts of a website or application that users see and interact with.

But there’s also a piece you don’t see – the back end. The application may need to store and retrieve data, perform calculations, etc.

This “back end” work gets very complex on busy websites like Amazon with constantly-changing inventory numbers, prices, product recommendations, etc., and top-tier back-end developers who build these systems are paid very well.

They usually earn more than front end developers.

Front end technologies include HTML, CSS, and a light amount of JavaScript.

Back end developers use technologies like Java, Ruby, Python. Back end and full stack developers are also familiar with database technologies like SQL and MongoDB.

Full Stack

This term refers to developers who work on both the front and back end to create an entire software application.

Some programming languages allow you to do this with a single technology. JavaScript and Ruby are two examples.

Other developers use a mix of programming languages to build their applications. For example, they’ll use a back end language like Python or Java, and then they’ll write the front end with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Full stack developers can earn a very high salary, similar to a back end developer. 

Salaries vary by city, industry, and experience, but as a tech recruiter in NYC, I saw the typical experienced front end programmer earning $70-115K, while someone specialized in full stack or back end might be closer to $90-150K.

These are rough estimates. I’m just sharing to illustrate the difference in pay between types of software engineers.

Web Development

You’ll see this term used a lot. It essentially means that you’re creating websites or applications for the internet.

This is what many of the best online coding bootcamps teach.

However, there are many other types of software development jobs and projects. Companies have internal tools and dashboards that they need built, etc.

I’d personally choose web development as a learning path, though. These accelerated bootcamps are great, but they aren’t the same as studying computer science for four years at college.

It’s a different type of learning, so you need to pick an area where your skills will be enough to get you a job.

Web development is where you’ll be able to best compete, earn a great salary, and get up to speed relatively quickly through one of these bootcamps.

What Type of Software Developers Earn the Most Money?

If you’re trying to earn as much as possible as a software engineer, then full stack JavaScript and a career in web development is a great choice. This type of skill set has a very high earning potential.

I think Python is also a very good option. If you browse through the online bootcamps above and the one you feel best about has a Python-focused curriculum, don’t worry. It’s also a great, modern technology.

Finally, you’ll see that some of the online courses above focus on teaching Ruby.

Learning Ruby can be done quickly and can also lead to a good tech career that will allow you to grow into earning six figures.

Ruby is also an interesting choice if you’re more entrepreneurial and plan to try earning an income by creating your own web projects (by building online businesses, not just freelancing). It’s simple and relatively easy to code with, so you can create web applications quickly and spin up multiple ideas.

Data Science

I also mentioned one other area in the list of bootcamps earlier – data science.

Data Scientists can earn the same or more than software engineers, but you’ll be competing with people with Ph.D’s, as mentioned earlier in the article.

While it’s still possible to carve out a great career by attending a data-focused online bootcamp, I’d look into a coding school that focuses more on web development if I were choosing a career path for myself.

But if you’re already strong in math (maybe you’re a math teacher who’s looking for a career change, for example), then data science is a reasonable choice.

Hopefully this info helps you choose the best online bootcamp for you. There’s one more important step I recommend for everyone, though…

Ask Each Coding Bootcamp to Explain More!

I’m not a software engineer or computer scientist; I’m just a former recruiter. So you should also contact the schools you’re thinking of joining and ask questions about their online courses and programs.

Ask them:

  • What technologies and languages do you teach?
  • What types of jobs do these technologies lead to?
  • Why did your school choose this particular tech curriculum?
  • What are the disadvantages or reasons someone might choose to learn different languages/technologies to start their tech career?
  • Where have your students gone on to work and how did they land those jobs?

Choose a coding bootcamp that gives you clear, convincing answers when you ask these questions. They should know this information inside and out if you’re speaking to an instructor or high-level person from the school.

You can ask the same questions to multiple online schools and compare how they respond, too! Don’t join any paid online coding bootcamps or courses without making sure you’re comfortable first.

If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to choose the best online web development bootcamp or other software bootcamp for your needs!

 

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