Developers are hugely in demand at the moment thanks to a long-term tech skills gap in the UK. It is an attractive route: they earn about £40,000 on average and can work their way up to six-figure salaries.

Developers can work in freelance, permanent or flexible jobs, specialise or opt for general roles and can claim to work in one of the most exciting, burgeoning areas in the economy. 

No wonder so many options are emerging for people to start or switch their careers to coding.

We review some of the best courses and bootcamps in the UK for those looking to make the leap: from paid or free options to day courses or 16-week programmes.

Online vs classroom courses

Online courses let you work at a pace that suits you, drop in and out and not have to leave the comfort of your home, while also generally being cheaper than the in-person alternatives. But there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

Online learning requires more self-motivation and taking responsibility of managing your learning. For those that may struggle with this, a face-to-face class could be the better option. They’re more intense, but you are given more on-hand support and it’s likely you’ll achieve more in a tighter time scale 

Classroom education is more expensive, but for those who want to quickly get to grips with in-depth topics, it might be worth it. 

Code First Girls

Code First Girls was founded in 2012 by Alice Bentinck and Matthew Clifford. The non-profit offers free, part-time coding courses for female and non-binary identifying young individuals across the UK and Ireland.

To date, the coding school has already taught more than 17,000 women across the UK to code for free and delivered around £10 million worth of free coding courses.

Code First Girls is also currently set up to only offer face to face courses, but when its CEO Anna Brailsford spoke to us in 2019, she outlined how she was wrestling with the challenge of enabling the charity to scale more efficiently and offer more flexible delivery options.

Breaking down these potential entry barriers will not only improve how the courses are delivered, but it will also ensure they are more accessible to everyone who wishes to participate.

To apply for a free Code First Girls community course, you must identify as female or non-binary and be aged between 18-23, or aged 18+ and currently studying, or aged 18+ and completed your studies in the past 2 years.

  • How long: 2 hours a week for eight weeks
  • Cost: Free if you fit the above criteria
  • Where: Various locations and universities across the country
  • Find out more

Code Your Future

Code Your Future is a non-profit, volunteer-led organisation which aims to help refugees, asylum seekers, single parents, those from low income backgrounds and the disadvantaged learn to code and open up their future job prospects. Since its inception three years ago, the programme has already supported people from over 30 different nationalities.

It was founded by Venezuelan engineer, Germán Bencci, who moved to the UK a decade ago. In 2019, he explained the motivation behind setting up the non-profit to us, stating that the technology industry tends to favour the privileged and he wanted to help those who often get left behind by society.

Unlike other courses, Code Your Future graduates aren’t expected to contribute financially back into the programme after gaining full time employment and all financial burdens are covered for the entire length of the course.

No previous coding experience is necessary. The only requirements for gaining a place on the course are an asylum seeker or a refugee, you live below the local household poverty line, you have been diagnosed with a mental or physical disability or you face significant difficulties in getting the education you need to find employment.

  • How long: Eight months on a part-time basis
  • Cost: Free if you fit the above criteria
  • Where: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Rome and Medellín
  • Find out more

Decoded

Founded in 2011 by four entrepreneurs, Decoded has always had one mission in mind: to teach course participants to code in a one day.

The idea came about when one of the founders, Kathryn Parsons, was struggling to hire developers at the creative agency she was working for at the time. The realisation that very few people outside the developer community knew even the first thing about coding spurred the company’s creation.

Since its launch almost a decade ago, Decoded has expanded its physical operation outside of just London, with locations in Europe, North America and Amsterdam.

  • How long: One day
  • Cost: Code in a day courses start from £750
  • Where: London, New York, Sydney and Amsterdam
  • Find out more

Procoders

Procoders offers both in-house and online coding courses for a period of 640 hours, which can be completed in up to one year.

The course is split into units, focusing on the web development basis including Ruby, Ruby on Rails and JavaScript.

  • How long: 16 weeks/640 hours
  • Cost: £3,500
  • Where: Leeds/Online
  • Find out more

Le Wagon

Ranked among the best coding schools in the world, Le Wagon is an intensive bootcamp designed to get students building the very best products. The course covers back-end programming languages such as SQL and Ruby, as well as front end techniques such as CSS grid and JavaScript. 

  • How long: 360 hours to be completed full-time over nine weeks or part-time over 24 weeks
  • Cost: £6,500 (London)
  • Where: London and other major cities across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East 
  • Find out more

React GraphQL Academy

There are a variety of courses, bootcamps and meetups on offer at React GraphQL Academy. These courses are geared towards developers looking to refine their skills rather than true beginners. Students will receive excellent mentorship, education on best practices and come out being able to build production ready apps. 

  • How long: 1 week
  • Cost: Prices start from £1728
  • Where: London and Berlin
  • Find out more

Mayden Academy

This immersive bootcamp aims to get novice coders ready to land their first development job. It not only teaches the tech skills required to code but also offers assistance with  the job search by introducing course alumni to local businesses hiring devs. Mayden Academy reports that every graduate has received a junior dev role within the first 90 days of completing the course. 

Makers Academy

There are two main learning options at the Makers Academy: Makers Apprenticeships and Makers Academy. The former takes just over a year to complete while the latter can be completed in 12 weeks. 

  • How long: 12 weeks
  • Cost: £8,000 (women’s discount of £500)
  • Where: London 
  • Find out more

We Got Coders

Depending on the time of year, there are a few different bootcamp options available at We got Coders which vary in length, price and syllabus. There are no formal qualifications required to apply for the course but entrants will need to meet other criteria such as being a self starter with a high aptitude for learning. 

  • How long: 6 weeks
  • Cost: £4,000
  • Where: Merrist Wood College, in Worpolesdon near Guildford, Surrey
  • Find out more

General Assembly

General Assembly offers training and upskilling in tech, data, design and business and has 20 campuses around the globe. Their immersive development courses cover Android, iOS and Software Engineering. 

  • How long: 11 weeks for full or part-time courses, though evening classes are also available
  • Cost: £8,000 for a full-time course; £3,000 for part-time course; Some free workshops and events 
  • Where: London plus various cities across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Online course options are also available
  • Find out more

Codecademy

Codecademy promotes a ‘learn by doing’ mantra meaning no matter your experience level, you’ll be coding from the off. The web development course covers HTML, CSS and JavaScript. 

  • How long: You go at your own pace – weeks or months!
  • Cost: Free
  • Where: Online only
  • Find out more

CodeClan

There are a range of course options at Scotland-based, CodeClan from professional software development to full-stack. The former takes you through the fundamentals of programming, front and back end development and the best industry tools and processes. 

  • How long: 16, 14 or 12 weeks depending on which course you select
  • Cost: £6,250 for the 16 and 14 week courses, £5,000 for the 12 week course
  • Where: Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness 
  • Find out more

Founders and Coders

This nonprofit is founded on peer-led learning and community support. The course covers the basic building blocks of web development through team projects and workshops. 

  • How long: 16 weeks
  • Cost: Free – but with stringent selection criteria
  • Where: London, Finsbury Park
  • Find out more

GreyCampus

GreyCampus offers a range of different coding classes from C programming, PHP training and JavaScript to HTML, CSS and instructor-led Ruby training.

  • GreyCampus has also launched an open resource library called OpenCampus, offering a free resource for professional development certification programs.
  • Cost: Prices start from £50
  • Where: Online and classroom training available
  • Find out more

The City Literary Institute

Students can access over 5,000 courses at City Lit including mobile app and game design and introductions to different programming languages

  • How long: A range of one-off courses, as well as those ranging between one and four weeks
  • Cost: It varies, but mostly between £99 to £229
  • Where: London 
  • Find out more

City University of London

At City University of London there are a range of different short courses in computing including introductions to different programming languages.  

  • How long: 10 weekly classes 
  • Cost: £560 for Introduction to Programming with Python
  • Where: London, City University
  • Find out more