Online software development courses from organizations like Codecademy and Udacity can be great for getting some foundational programming knowledge, but are missing that in-person component, while professional web development classes at universities that do offer in-person learning can be a big investment to budget for.
But who says you have to take out student loans to build programming skills in an interactive, collaborative environment?
Whether you already have programming experience or are preparing for a career change, NYC-area residents interested in the tech industry have never had it better. New York is a growing tech hub, and a number of New York City organizations offer free in-person courses and programming exchange opportunities.
Coding Schools & Public Programs
1. New York Public Library: Project Code
The Tech Connect program at the New York Public Library offers more than 80 technology classes throughout the year at locations in virtually every borough. You can register for free Project Code workshops to learn Python, HTML, and other core programming skills.
For those interested in more in-depth training, every spring and fall the library offers a free 10-week program that teaches the basics of front-end web design. The core of the curriculum focuses on HTML and CSS, but students will also learn about layout principles and the best practices for user experience design.
The course culminates with the creation of a website as part of a group project. All students who complete the course will receive a Project Code certificate and will be armed with a new addition to their web development portfolio.
2. NYC Web Development Fellowship
3. Noble Desktop Seminars
Noble Desktop has over 25 years of experience teaching programming and offers coding bootcamps on web development basics, mobile and responsive design, WordPress, and much more. Although their bootcamps cost money, Noble Desktop also offers free seminars--both at their NYC campus and online. Check out their free events and resources here!
4. The Grace Hopper Program
Named for the famed computer scientist and rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, Grace Hopper Program is hosted right here at Fullstack Academy in Manhattan’s Financial District. Grace Hopper Program is a full-time 17-week coding bootcamp for women who want to pursue a career in software development.
5. NYC Codecademy Meetup
Run by the good folks at the popular (and free) learn-to-code site Codecademy, this group gives Codecademy users the opportunity to meet in person to discuss their progress, address questions, and work on supplementary projects in groups. Check their Meetup page for upcoming dates.
6. N Languages Meetup
They also offer a recurring meetup called Code Gym, where coders of all skill levels can get together and exercise their programming muscles. They say it’s “like going to the gym, but with code and coffee.”
7. Women Who Code Meetup
Women Who Code seeks to empower women to succeed and be better represented in the tech industry.
According to their NYC chapter Meetup page, “Women Who Code is the largest and most active community of engineers dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers.” This organization is an excellent resource for women looking to hone their programming skills.
From tech talks to lectures and study groups, they offer myriad learning opportunities. The group frequently hosts Meetups on algorithms, game development, and how to land software engineering jobs. Their Algorithms @ Betterment event is the third Tuesday of every month, and you can RSVP on their Meetup page.
8. Hacker Hours Meetup
The Hacker Hours group is a great resource for beginner and intermediate-level programmers. They host informal “office hours” events at multiple locations around the city on various days of the week. Simply attend one of their events, bring your projects or lessons along with you, and ask for help from an organizer if you get stuck. It’s the perfect place to be productive, discover new dev resources and make coding friends!
9. Ladies Who Code
Ladies Who Code is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting female software developers. They liken themselves to "a book club for superhero women coders," and host "cupcakes and code" events where you can hack the night away or get help with the new language you’re learning.
Whether you are working with Python, Java, C, Perl, Haskell, Bash, PHP, or Coq, you can expect to find a supportive community and tasty snacks to help you get that next line of code down.
10. Learn Python NYC
Python is one of the most popular programming languages out there and is a great tool for both beginners and experienced programmers. Learn Python NYC is ultra-committed Meetup group that holds Tuesday office hours from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on everything related to Python. Activities include informal talks, technical discussions, dev sharing, and Q&A sessions.
Participants are welcome to suggest topics to discover, or sign up to be a featured presenter. While the focus of their worship is Python (the programming language, not the mythological earth-dragon of Delphi), they also conduct useful non-Python info sessions on occasion--like their tutorial on the basics of setting up and using Git + Github.
With all of these cost-effective learning options, what are you waiting for? Start coding and see where your journey takes you. You never know: One of these days, you just might become a full-time web developer.
Ready to level up your coding skills over the summer? Check out Fullstack's Summer of Code student program.