The Ultimate Guide to Free Coding Classes in Austin for 2024

Austin has cemented its status as a leading U.S. tech hub over the past decade. The Silicon Hills has become an attractive destination for major tech companies and startups alike, drawn to the city‘s deep talent pool, vibrant culture, and high quality of life.

As a result, the demand for coding skills in Austin has skyrocketed. According to data from Indeed, job openings for software developers in Austin have increased by 117% since 2014. The city now ranks 6th nationally for the most tech job postings, with over 37,000 open positions as of March 2024.

Austin Tech Job Growth Chart
Austin tech job postings have more than doubled since 2014. Source: Indeed

This explosive job growth translates into lucrative opportunities for skilled coders. The average salary for a software developer in Austin is $112,000, 26% higher than the national median of $89,000. For those just starting out, the average entry-level programmer salary in Austin is a still-impressive $78,000.

If you‘re looking to break into Austin‘s thriving tech scene or level up your coding career, the great news is that you don‘t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a degree. Thanks to the city‘s abundance of free coding classes and resources, you can gain in-demand skills at your own pace without the burden of tuition.

As a full stack developer with over a decade of industry experience, I know firsthand the power of free coding education to transform careers and lives. In this ultimate guide, I‘ll share my top recommendations for the best free coding classes in Austin in 2024. Whether you‘re a complete beginner or an experienced programmer looking to expand your skill set, there‘s an accessible path forward for you in Austin.

Why Learn to Code?

Before we dive into the top free coding classes in Austin, let‘s explore why coding is such a valuable skill to have in your toolkit. Here are some of the key benefits of learning to code:

High demand and job security – In our increasingly digital world, coding skills are in high demand across virtually every industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for software developers will grow 22% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. Coders enjoy high job security and a wide variety of career paths.

Lucrative salaries – As mentioned above, coding jobs command impressive salaries, even at the entry level. The median annual pay for software developers in 2022 was $120,730, with the top 10% earning over $168,000. Investing time into learning to code can pay big dividends.

Versatility – Coding skills are highly transferable across industries and job functions. Whether you want to build websites, analyze data, automate business processes, or design the next hit mobile app, coding can help you get there. You can also apply coding skills to non-technical roles like digital marketing, product management, and UX design.

Flexibility – Many coding jobs offer the ability to work remotely and set your own schedule. With the rise of remote work, Austin coders can tap into opportunities at top companies across the globe without leaving the city. Coding skills also lend themselves well to freelance and consulting work for even greater flexibility.

Future-proofing your career – As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the ability to code future-proofs your career. By continuously learning new languages and frameworks, you can stay ahead of the curve and adapt to shifts in the job market. Coders are always in high demand.

Free Austin Coding Bootcamp and School Workshops

One of the best ways to explore a career in coding is through free workshops offered by Austin coding bootcamps and schools. These events give you hands-on experience with coding fundamentals while introducing you to potential learning paths. Most free workshops require no prior coding experience.

Austin Coding Academy

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Technologies: Web Development (JavaScript), WordPress, UI/UX
  • Events: Intro to Coding workshops, WordPress Training, UI/UX Design Fundamentals

Austin Coding Academy offers a robust lineup of free coding classes each month. Their Intro to Coding workshop is a great starting point for beginners to get comfortable with JavaScript basics. They also host focused sessions on WordPress web design and UI/UX principles for those interested in the design side of web development.

Galvanize

  • Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Technologies: Web Development (JavaScript, Python), Data Science
  • Events: Learn to Code workshops, Python for Data Science, JavaScript 101

Galvanize is a top technology education provider that hosts free learn to code workshops at their Austin campus. You can get your feet wet with fundamental programming concepts in their beginner-friendly sessions or level up your skills in specific topics like data science with Python. Their free workshops are a great way to experience the Galvanize teaching style and curriculum.

UT Austin Coding Bootcamp

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Technologies: Full-Stack Web Development
  • Events: Intro to Coding, Demo Days

The University of Texas at Austin offers a part-time coding bootcamp in partnership with edX. While the bootcamp itself is a paid program, they host regular free intro to coding workshops to give you a taste of the curriculum. You can also attend their quarterly demo days to see the impressive web apps built by bootcamp students and get inspired for your own projects.

Free Austin Coding Meetups and Communities

Another impactful way to learn to code for free in Austin is by tapping into the city‘s vibrant Meetup and event scene. Coding Meetups are a fantastic place to learn new skills, troubleshoot issues with hands-on help, and grow your network of local developers. Most groups are free to join and welcome coders of all levels.

Austin Free Code Camp

  • Experience Level: All
  • Technologies: Full-Stack Web Development
  • Events: Weekly Coffee-and-Code, Project Showcases, Speakers

Austin Free Code Camp is the local chapter of the global freeCodeCamp community. They host weekly Coffee-and-Code hangouts where you can work through freeCodeCamp‘s self-paced web development curriculum alongside other campers. The group also hosts regular project demo showcases for participants to share what they‘ve built and learn from each other‘s code. You‘ll find an inclusive, collaborative community of coders at AFCC.

Learn to Code Austin

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Technologies: JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Design
  • Events: Learn to Code workshops, Q&A sessions

Learn to Code Austin is a free weekly workshop series from the edtech school Galvanize. Their two-hour sessions give an accessible intro to coding and web development fundamentals. Designed for complete beginners, the sessions combine hands-on exercises and project building. The workshops are also a great place to get your coding questions answered by Galvanize‘s expert instructors.

Austin Open Source

  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Technologies: Various (Python, Ruby, JavaScript, etc.)
  • Events: Technical talks, Collaborative projects, Socials

If you‘re looking to give back and grow as a developer, check out Austin Open Source. This community of open source enthusiasts meets monthly to contribute to each other‘s projects and share knowledge. Each meetup features a combination of technical talks and collaborative coding to tackle issues. You‘ll learn a ton by studying the group‘s advanced developers and getting hands-on open source experience.

Women Who Code Austin

  • Experience Level: All
  • Technologies: Various (JavaScript, Python, Java, SQL, etc.)
  • Events: Study nights, Lightning talks, Interview practice

Women Who Code is an global non-profit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. The Austin chapter hosts a variety of free events to support women and non-binary coders at all levels. Join their monthly study nights to learn a new language or tool, practice interviewing skills with mock whiteboarding sessions, or present a lightning talk on a passion topic. The all-women environment offers a welcoming space to grow your confidence and skills.

Free Online Coding Courses and Platforms

If you prefer a more flexible, self-paced approach to learning to code, take advantage of the wealth of free online courses and resources. While in-person classes offer greater hands-on support and community, online coding courses suit busy schedules and allow you to learn from anywhere. Most platforms offer a mix of video lessons, interactive exercises, and project-based learning.

freeCodeCamp

  • Experience Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Technologies: Full-Stack Web Development, Data Science, Machine Learning
  • Curriculum: 10 Developer Certifications
  • Unique Features: Hands-on projects, Non-profit and donation-driven

freeCodeCamp is a non-profit organization that offers an extensive library of free online coding courses. Their self-paced curriculum spans over 6,000 hours of lessons and projects designed to take you from beginner to job-ready. As you progress through their 10 developer certifications, you‘ll build real-world projects for your portfolio. freeCodeCamp also has an active global forum to get help and connect with other campers.

The Odin Project

  • Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Technologies: Full-Stack Web Development (Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, HTML/CSS)
  • Curriculum: 2 Learning Paths (Foundations, Full Stack JavaScript)
  • Unique Features: Project-based, Open-source curriculum

The Odin Project is a free open source coding curriculum built by an open-source community. Their full stack learning paths are designed to take you from zero to job-ready, with an emphasis on project-based learning. Unlike many other free coding resources, The Odin Project offers a clear roadmap to guide your learning journey. Their supportive student community spans the globe and is super active on Discord.

edX

  • Experience Level: All
  • Technologies: Various (Python, Java, web development, mobile development, etc.)
  • Curriculum: Single courses, Micro-credentials, Online degrees
  • Unique Features: University-level courses, Shareable certificates (paid)

edX is a leading online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT. They partner with top universities worldwide to offer free online courses across in-demand fields like computer science, data science, and programming. Most edX coding courses are self-paced and can be audited for free, with the option to pay for a certificate. From intro programming in Python to full software engineering micro-degrees, you‘ll find a range of rigorous courses taught by elite instructors.

Harvard CS50

  • Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Technologies: Computer Science basics, C, Python, JavaScript, SQL, HTML/CSS
  • Curriculum: 13-week self-paced course
  • Unique Features: Taught by top Harvard faculty, Challenging problem sets and projects

Harvard‘s CS50 is a free online computer science course that‘s been taken by over 3 million students worldwide. CS50 gives you a strong foundation in computer science principles and programming. The rigorous curriculum is taught by Harvard faculty and includes engaging lectures, challenging problem sets, and hands-on projects. You can audit CS50 for free or pay to receive a certificate, and no prior coding experience is required.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Free Coding Classes

As an experienced developer who‘s been both a student and a teacher, I know that getting the most out of free coding classes takes planning and consistent effort. Here are my top tips for using free resources to successfully learn to code and launch a tech career:

  1. Set realistic goals and make a plan. Before diving in, define what you want to achieve through coding, whether that‘s building a personal project, freelancing, or landing a full-time tech job. Use this goal as a guide to choose the most relevant coding classes and chart a learning path.

  2. Code consistently. Dedicate time to coding each day, even if it‘s just for 30 minutes. Consistency is key to making progress and retaining what you‘ve learned. Try timeboxing your study sessions and track your daily progress with a journal or app.

  3. Build projects and contribute to open-source. Once you‘ve grasped the basics of a language, start building your own projects. Hands-on practice is the best way to solidify your skills and gain experience employers look for. Consider contributing to open-source projects to grow your skills and demonstrate your abilities to hiring managers.

  4. Join a coding community. Tap into Austin‘s vibrant developer scene by joining free meetup groups, attending conferences, and connecting with other coders online. Having a support network of fellow learners and mentors will keep you motivated and accountable.

  5. Teach others what you know. One of the best ways to reinforce your own knowledge is by teaching it to others. Share your expertise through blog posts, meetup talks, or mentoring others. You‘ll gain a deeper understanding of coding concepts, generate content for your portfolio, and grow your influence.

Get Started Today

Whether you‘re a coding newbie or a seasoned developer looking to skill up, Austin offers unparalleled free resources to help you learn to code and advance your career. From the city‘s world-class bootcamps to its inclusive tech communities, you‘ll find accessible opportunities to gain coding superpowers at zero cost.

As someone who‘s learned to code through free resources and built a successful tech career, I can‘t overstate the power of free coding education to change your trajectory. The most important thing is to get started now, stay consistent in your learning, and never stop building.

Austin‘s innovative tech scene is waiting for you. What will you create with your new coding skills? The possibilities are endless, and there‘s never been a better time to launch a tech career in the Silicon Hills. Choose a free coding class and take the first step today. Your future self will thank you.

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