Free Coding Courses for Landing Your First Dev Job

Eva Yi Zheng
5 min readSep 29, 2021

It sucks being a junior developer. I know.

You feel like you know nothing and there’s so much to learn and you don’t know where to start and that you’ll never be good enough and — You get the idea. It’s a neverending loop of self-doubt.

I miss being in Flatiron because of the community, support, and learning style. Now that I’m (mostly) alone in the tech industry, it just feels… different.

So I decided to find online courses to advance my skills. Udemy is popular but I can’t possibly learn from a video. It just feels weird. I find myself distracted often because the videos could go on for 20 minutes and it feels like I’m being lulled to sleep.

I recently fell in love with Codecademy because it reminds me of my bootcamp days at Flatiron. Most of Codecademy’s lessons are test-based, so you get to play around with the syntax and concept. You won’t be able to go on to the next lesson until you pass all the tests, so it’s a great way to get a hang of the idea.

Codecademy has a Pro version (for $19.99 per month) where you will have access to more advanced/in-depth courses, so you can try that as well if you feel like you want to go into more advanced topics.

some of the benefits of the Pro version at Codecademy

I also love freeCodeCamp because it also incorporates test-driven learning into their courses.

All of their courses are neatly organized and always free! They also provide hundreds if not thousands of free articles to expand your knowledge in case you get tired of doing the test-driven lessons.

Here are the free ones that I have been using/ have used/on my to-do list:


Learn TypeScript with Codecademy

If your employer uses JavaScript, it’s very likely that they will also start using TypeScript. I didn’t understand the hype around TypeScript until I started learning about how it prevents bad data and bugs from happening.

This was the first course that led me to fall in love with Codecademy.

Learn Redux with Codecademy

I love the idea of Redux but it has a steep learning curve. STEEP. But it really is a beautiful library to avoid data-drilling because that could cause bugs. The more you have to type something, the more likely that bugs will start appearing.

Although I love the Redux documentation, I prefer to learn it with test-driven lessons.

Learn Java with Codecademy

I eventually want to go full-stack for my employer so this is an important course for me to get to!

Senior devs love to say, “If you know one tech stack, you can learn the other ones easily.” It’s sort of true. It is easier because most of the data structures are similar. The major difference is the syntax. If you find yourself being able to read a language that you’ve never used before, then congratulations!

Learn Java for Beginners with Codecademy

Or if you’re completely new to coding, then you could try this version instead.

Learn JavaScript with Codecademy

This would be a good course to freshen up my JavaScript knowledge if I ever step away from it for too long. And by too long, I mean any time longer than one week.


Front-end Development Libraries at freeCodeCamp

So freeCodeCamp categorized their courses into sections, and due to the fact that I am a front-end developer, I have only looked at their front-end section.

I have been using their React course to help me freshen up my React knowledge because it is so easy to forget the capabilities of a framework especially if you’re a junior dev.

I also plan on learning SASS because my employer uses it, so the SASS course is on my to-do list.

The CSS-Flexbox course is quite tempting as well because, well, it’s CSS and I always need help with CSS and Flexbox is a powerful attribute. It’s so powerful that I’ve seen it as a requirement/bonus for some job postings. That’s intense.

Coding Interview Prep with freeCodeCamp

freeCodeCamp also dedicates a whole course to help you get through technical interviews! How awesome is that?

freeCodeCamp just has A LOT of courses and I can’t possibly list them all, so please do check their site out to see if they have something for you!

Here are the Codecademy Pro courses that I plan on using:

Skill Path: Create an Advanced Web App with React and Redux with Codecademy

If you feel like you have Redux and React down, then you could try this skill path. Even though I am comfortable with React, I am just not sure how to scale an app up so that I could put it on my portfolio. There are just too many simple React apps and I would not stand out with just another simple app.

Skill Path: Build Chatbots with Java with Codecademy

Java is a highly sought-after tech stack and I would love to be able to have a chatbot project on my portfolio to show future recruiters that I know my stuff. This seems like a super cool project to have on my resume!

Learn Asynchronous JavaScript with Codecademy

There are days when I feel like AJAX is a foreign concept. But what can I do except to drill it into my brain? AJAX is the core of JavaScript and it is an important concept to understand for anyone interested in front-end or full-stack development.

Learn Technical Interview Practice with Java with Codecademy

Once you feel like you’ve mastered the syntax, then you could try technical interviewing questions.