Class Central’s 8000-learner webdev bootcamp is about to end. So, to kick off 2022, we’re doing it all over again in January, but bigger and better. This time, there’ll be two bootcamps:
Free Web Development Bootcamp: An improved rerun of our webdev bootcamp led by technologist Jessica Rose and built around freeCodeCamp’s Web Design Certification. You’ll learn HTML, CSS, and accessible and responsive web design. The bootcamp starts on January 10, 2022. Enroll here!
The bootcamps will run on Class Central Cohorts, a social learning platform for open courses. They’ll be 6 weeks long and intense. You’ll attend weekly live streams covering the course material. You’ll build a portfolio of coding projects. You’ll listen to guest speakers talk about the reality of being a developer. And by the end of February, you’ll earn a verified certificate of completion from freeCodeCamp, like the ones below.
Many people want to learn programming. But coding bootcamps typically cost upward of $10k, making them inaccessible to the vast majority of people. We wanted to try to fix this.
We realized that by using open educational resources, by relying on the help of passionate instructors, by focusing on what matters most — the learning — and by building a bespoke platform to tie it all together, we could offer a valuable bootcamp experience, entirely free.
But learning online can be lonely. We know. At Class Central, we’reallonlinelearners. So for the past year, we’ve been running an experiment: we’ve been trying to add a social layer atop free online courses. Initially, we called these “Study Groups”. Now, we call them “Cohorts”. Our bootcamps are simply a special type of cohort, built for scale.
And scaling, it has. Our Mountains 101 study group (May ‘21) had 200 enrollments. Our ALOHAF study group (Jun ‘21) had 700 enrollments. Our webdev bootcamp (Aug ‘21) had 8000 enrollments. And in January 2022, for the first time, we’ll be running two bootcamps and even more cohorts in parallel. We’re excited to see the community continue to grow!
Accessible and responsive web design: websites for all and on all devices.
CSS layout tools: positioning elements with CSS Flexbox and CSS grid.
Projects: personal portfolio website, survey form, landing pages…
Who Are the Instructors?
Each bootcamp is led by a subject matter expert, who’ll support you through your learning, chiefly by holding weekly live streams covering the course material and practical projects.
The webdev bootcamp will be led by technologist Jessica Rose, who also led the inaugural webdev bootcamp. Jess is a self-taught technologist and advocate for better access to technical education. She used to work with FutureLearn and Mozilla. Now, when she’s not working in technical outreach, she likes to do weird projects like this webdev bootcamp.
What’s a Typical Study Week
Perhaps the simplest way of explaining the Class Central bootcamp experience is to walk you through a typical week of learning:
Lesson Monday: On Mondays, you’ll attend a live stream led by your bootcamp instructor. It’s like attending class. Your instructor will walk you through the lesson’s concepts and challenges. And at the end of the stream, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions. If you can’t make it, don’t worry, all live streams will be recorded.
Lesson Tuesday: On Tuesdays, you’ll continue working on the course with your instructor. As always, the session will end with a Q&A. But you can also take questions to the discussion forum, where you’ll get support from peers and instructors alike.
Project Wednesday: On Wednesdays, when the week’s curriculum is theory-heavy, you’ll continue working on lessons. But most weeks, you’ll instead tackle a practical project with your instructor. This will be an opportunity to actually apply the concepts you’ve been learning and to build a portfolio of coding projects.
Guest session: Once a week, you’ll take a break from the course material to attend a live stream where a guest speaker will talk about the realities of being a developer and concepts and tools relevant to a programmer’s day-to-day. For example, during our first bootcamp, Prof. Barbara Oakley and software engineer Zach Caceres explained how to become better programmers by understanding the neuroscience that underpins the learning process. You can find the video below, and you can find all the guest talks of our inaugural webdev bootcamp here.
Long Weekend: From Friday to Sunday, you’ll continue working independently on the lessons and projects you might have yet to finish. Your peers, bootcamp mentors, and instructors will be able to help via the forum. And when you’re all done, you’ll be able to enjoy a well-deserved rest, before starting it all over again the following week.
If you took part in our first bootcamp, you’ll notice some changes. We used to have a single lesson stream per week, run twice to cover two time zones. But reruns had little attendance. So instead of a single redundant stream, our new bootcamps will have more unique streams: two lesson streams and a project stream each week, all covering different content.
What’s the Study Calendar
Our new bootcamps will be 6 weeks long, with 10–20 hours of work per week. Our inaugural bootcamp covered the same content in 12 weeks. But the pace proved way too slow for most learners. So this time, the experience will be more intense, closer to a traditional bootcamp.
Class Central’s new bootcamps will start on January 10. And if you’re diligent, by mid February, you’ll be all done: you’ll have acquired the developer know-how, you’ll have built a portfolio of coding projects, and you’ll have earned your certificate of completion. Hurrah!
Week 1 (Jan 10 – Jan 16)
Week 2 (Jan 17 – Jan 23)
Project: Palindrome Checker
Week 3 (Jan 24 – Jan 30)
Lesson: ES6 Continued
Lesson: Regular Expressions
Project: Roman Numeral Converter
Week 4 (Jan 31 – Feb 6)
Lesson: Basic Data Structures
Project: Caesar Cipher
Week 5 (Feb 7 – Feb 13)
Lesson: Basic Algorithm Scripting
Lesson: Object-Oriented Programming
Project: Telephone Number Validator
Week 6 (Feb 14 – Feb 20)
Lesson: Functional Programming
Lesson: Intermediate Algorithm Scripting
Project: Cash Register
In the webdev bootcamp, here’s what you’ll learn each week:
After enrolling, you’ll have access to your bootcamp platform. The platform is the heart of the bootcamp experience. There, you’ll find links to all the bootcamp components, chiefly the course, discussion forum, and live streams. These are described in more detail below.
The Live Streams
Every week, you’ll attend live streams led by your bootcamp instructor. These will guide you through the course material, help you tackle practical coding projects, or welcome guests for technical presentations. For instance, in our inaugural bootcamp, Microsoft developer and popular blogger Scott Hanselman talked about system thinking and how browsers work. You can find the video below, and you can find all the guest talks of our inaugural webdev bootcamp here.
The Discussion Forum
Every live stream will end with a Q&A session. But your main avenue for support will be the bootcamp discussion forum. There, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the course material, share resources, and naturally, ask questions to peers and instructors.
We use Discourse Forums, a modern software solution well suited for online learning. You’ll be able to write code snippets, copy/paste images, mention specific learners, and more.
How Can it Be Free
Most coding bootcamps cost north of $10k, and many have a formal application process. By contrast, Class Central bootcamps are entirely free, and they welcome all learners. So how’s that possible? What’s the catch?
Let’s set realistic expectations. If we can offer the bootcamps for free, it’s for several reasons:
Regarding the teaching, it’s thanks to the generosity of our passionate instructors, Ramón and Jess, and to freeCodeCamp’s awesome open educational resources.
Regarding the platform, it’s through careful development decisions geared toward sustainability, building a platform that has all that’s needed but without frills.
Regarding the experience, it’s by focusing on what matters most — the learning — and acknowledging what we simply can’t offer, like career advice or job placement services.
Regarding the learning, it’s by placing responsibility squarely on the learner. In these bootcamps, you’ll drive your own learning. And you’ll mainly receive support from your peers. Ultimately, you’ll get out what you put in.
That said, if you keep yourself accountable, diligently tackle the courses, leverage the tools at hand, and take advantage of the support available, we think this can be a valuable experience.
How to Enroll
The bootcamp enrollments are open. Remember: the bootcamps are free and open to all. If you’d like to enroll, here’s how:
You should receive an email confirming your bootcamp enrollment. Once you do, you’re all set. The bootcamps start on January 10. We’ll be in touch before then. In the meantime, enjoy the end-of-year celebrations, and be ready to hit the ground running in January!