There’s a need for software engineers as the tech industry continues to experience high demand and rapid growth. While bootcamps are quicker and more efficient at teaching you the programming languages needed to land a job in the industry, it’s a big commitment to take on.
Free, self-paced programs that teach you how to code are a good alternative to anyone wanting to break into the industry or gain coding experience on their own schedule and move up in other industries.
There are a variety of free resources available to teach you how to code, with a few popular options including Codecademy and App Academy Open. App Academy Open and Codecademy share a number of similarities, but there are some key differences to note if you’re trying to decide which one is best for your goals.
App Academy Open Cost Versus Codecademy Cost
Codecademy offers a basic plan that’s free of charge. You get limited access, however: it includes their basic courses and peer support.
For $19.99 a month, you earn access to their “pro courses” for members only, step-by-step guidance, career path-specific courses, and real-world projects.
On the other hand, App Academy Open is always free. We believe everyone should have access to programming education free from traditional barriers (financial, cultural and otherwise). Open includes our full curriculum with video-based lesson plans and projects for your portfolio.
For $29.99 a month, you can enjoy our mentorship program that gives you access to a Slack channel for live guidance and answers to technical questions Monday-Friday, 6am-6pm PT.
The program — including our career training, resume workshops, and portfolio planning — is the same whether you subscribe to our mentorship program or not. The only difference with the mentorship program is you have broader access to our staff and community.
App Academy Open Time Commitment Versus Codecademy Time Commitment
App Academy Open and Codecademy have roughly similar estimates for completion time of their respective courses.
App Academy Open boasts about 1,500 hours’ worth of material that’s meant to be studied from beginning to end. You could also pull out the sections or specific skills you’d like to learn. For the average person who is going through App Academy Open, you can expect to finish the course in about a year, give or take, depending on your speed and ability to grasp concepts.
Similarly, Codecademy estimates just over 1,600 hours to fully complete what they call their Career Paths. Depending on the type of job you may want or if you’re particularly interested in front-end or back-end development, your time estimate may be cut. The curriculum is broken into different types of coding professions, where App Academy Open’s curriculum is specifically designed to help you get a job in software engineering.
The most comparable course to App Academy Open is their Fullstack Engineering course, which only provides 350 hours’ worth of material. That’s not enough instruction time to grasp the principles you’ll need to know before entering the job market.
App Academy Open Curriculum Versus Codecademy Curriculum
Both App Academy Open and Codecademy’s philosophy around learning how to code is to learn by doing. You’ll put languages into practice, receive feedback, and complete projects you can use when applying to software engineering jobs, specifically.
Not only will you have the ability to write code, you’ll develop the mindset necessary to be successful as a software engineer. App Academy programming Open’s curriculum has been proven time and time again to help students land jobs. It also includes additional training to improve your chances of getting hired:
Career Karma writes “Beyond just teaching these technologies and programming languages, [App Academy Open] teaches many important soft skills that full-stack developers need off the computer. For example, the course covers how to make a portfolio, job search strategies, and resume workshops. While many online resources focus primarily on technology, Open is unique in that it provides real job search help to its students.”
On the other hand, Codecademy’s curriculum is broken up by different languages or different career paths and subjects. This format makes it easier for students to learn one-off skills or follow programming curriculum for a variety of job titles.
However, reviews of Codecademy state the course was a bit too simplified to help students confidently move into the job market as a cyber security expert, web developer, or data scientist.
Similarities in Open and Codecademy Curriculum
App Academy Open and Codecademy share some similarities in their respective curriculums:
HTML & CSS.
HTML & CSS are foundational technologies in the programming world. They’re responsive web languages that allow the programmer to create the web content as well as design it for whatever device the user is on.
App Academy combines these front-end principles within our larger curriculum. Codecademy does, too, if you pay for their Pro plan. Otherwise, you have two free skill-specific courses with 5-6 lessons a piece.
Data is the name of the game with SQL. It’s a programming language that helps you store and manipulate data within a relational database. Not only is SQL an important skill to know as a software engineer, anyone who works with large amounts of data (like customer information or retail SKUs) could benefit from being literate in SQL.
Again, SQL is a part of our free full-stack Open curriculum. Codecademy offers a beginner course in SQL that includes four lessons.
Differences in Open and Codecademy Curriculum
Ruby on Rails (Open).
App Academy Open’s curriculum is identical to that of our 16-week immersive bootcamp. Ruby on Rails is one of the main application frameworks we teach in that class. For newer coders, it’s a nice language to build a foundation on as you don’t need to write as much code to understand how it functions.
We’ve also found that folks with Ruby on Rails experience can easily pick up new languages, which makes them desirable in large tech markets like New York and San Francisco. Airbnb, Soundcloud, Shopify, and Hulu are all built using Ruby on Rails.
Ruby is the programming language on which Ruby on Rails — a web development framework — is run. Where Ruby is typically used to create desktop applications, Ruby on Rails is helpful when building web-based applications. In a world where nearly everything we do on our devices is based online, the ability to create web apps is a hugely important skill. Codecademy boasts a beginner-friendly free course in Ruby.
Codecademy also offers courses on Python, though most are pro-level only. App Academy Open plans to add Python into our curriculum this year.
Structurally, App Academy Open functions very different from other free programs on the market.
“It has been designed and written mostly by staff that are primarily motivated by helping students get their first dev jobs and giving them the tools to succeed in their careers,” says App Academy CEO, Kush Patel.
“It’s driven by a curriculum development cycle that involves a significant amount of research into not only technical trends and the needs of software engineering hiring managers, but also by thorough research into pedagogical approaches.”
App Academy Open’s Goal: Teach You to Become a Software Engineer
Everything we do at App Academy, regardless of the path you take, is designed to help you become a software engineer. They’re in such high demand that we’ve designed a number of different options (including a part-time course coming this year!) for folks to create the foundation needed as a programmer.
“We prepare engineers to launch their careers, and teach them how to learn technical material quickly and thoroughly, setting them up for career-long learning and development,” says App Academy’s Head of Product, Brian Green.
“We want our graduates to be best-in-class software engineers. Our programs are built to prepare highly functional, independently capable engineers.”
Codecademy’s Goal: Teach You the Basics of Programming
Getting a job is mentioned one time on Codecademy’s homepage. While folks pick up coding for any number of reasons, the common denominator is career growth and acceleration. At App Academy, we want you to embark on a new career path. At Codecademy, they want to teach you coding, but they can’t tell you why that is.
Any number of reviews online back these claims up. If you want a really brief introduction to key languages, Codecademy might be the choice for you. But a thorough understanding of why and how code works requires instruction beyond their free programs.
Conclusion: Take the Easy Way or the Thorough Way
We acknowledge not everyone who wants to learn to code has ambitions of becoming a software engineer. But if tech is your trajectory, App Academy Open is the best (free) option on the market for understanding programming principles, writing code, and having the portfolio to boot if and when you decide to apply for jobs.
If that sounds like the program for you, we welcome you to register for App Academy Open today and start learning to code for free!