Free Code Camp OR University of the People?

Hey everyone,

I am a 28 years old/from the US/without a degree (if that information somehow helps). Which do you think is better long term, and provides the most options/better mobility. Free Code Camp or an accessible degree at University of the People? I have a feeling that FCC is best for developing applicable skills and building a portfolio, but after dropping out of a CompSci program, doing contract IT work and now teaching English here in China, I still feel the calling of that piece of paper. It was actually because I lacked a degree that I was never eligible for full time positions at places at all of the major corporations I worked at and was stuck in contractor limbo.

What do you think? I really want to find a path and commit, but I’d like to know I am making the right choice. Thanks!


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Well, I do not have a web developer job yet but I think you have a good choice here in free code camp, You should read the section of people who had successfully got a job in this path. Getting a developer job.

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Because course load and real life obligations.

If you desire to work at huge corporation XYZ than you will probably need that degree.
And that degree might need to come from a place not called University of the People even if they are accredited.

Or you can spend the time filling up your github with interesting projects that you can show to perspective employees.

I don’t think either choice is wrong.

Ask yourself what kind of company do you want to work for? What are their requirements?

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You are correct, you won’t have the time to do both. You are most likely to spend time doing the weekly assignments of the UoPeople classes. I had to take a leave of absence from UoPeople in order to have time to complete the projects here at FCC, have a portfolio ready and try to get my feet into the industry and then continue with the degree at UoPeople as a long term project to advance within the industry.

However, I was only able to complete the FrontEnd, BackEnd and Half of the data visualization certificate before I had to go back to class (UoPeople only allows you to be absent for three terms). Now that I’m taking classes I can’t find the time to complete the last three d3.js projects, I find myself spending 15+ hrs on UoPeople and maybe 2hrs a week working on the projects here.

I think it depends of what you want, if you want to start somewhere in the less amount of time, do FCC. if this is a long term plan, do UoPeople.

or you can do like i’m doing now. I’m doing both but UoPeople is my priority since it has real deadlines and whenever i’m free i work on my FCC projects.


It sounds like a good plan. I did the same (more or less). I took a formal education here at Spain and did as much as I could of FCC. I think this is a great complement for our education, and it really teaches you a lot of useful things. The issue is if the companies see it that way. I knew for sure no company would hire me on my country with just an online training, so I did a 2 year formal education and it paid off.

Anyway, I’d want to highlight that been a student motivated enough to complement my formation with online training and participating in international communities (such as FCC) , was decisive to get my current job.

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Thank you for the response! Did you commit full-time or were you working? How many classes did you take simultaneously?

Free Code Camp isn’t a replacement for a traditional 4-year degree.

University of the People, on the other hand, has an accredited 4-year computer science program - one of the least expensive available in the US. I can’t speak to the quality of their program, but I can tell you that a degree is definitely better than no degree - especially if the university is accredited.

4 years is a long time, and I’m confident that during that program, you will be able to find time to complete the 2,080 hours of Free Code Camp.

Again, a traditional computer science degree and Free Code Camp are complimentary. One gives you a lot of math and theory, and the other gives you a ton of coding practice - which is by far the most important skill for becoming a developer.

So I would have to agree with @ArielLeslie - why not both?


I have a young friend who is extremely talented and just keeps going from one great job to another even though he dropped out of college just a few credits shy of graduation because he had a great job offer he didn’t want to miss out on. So, yes, it can happen that you will get work based on your talents. But… 10 or 20 years down the line when you want more stability and find that all the good upper level jobs are going to those people, possibly less talented and able than you, who have that “piece of paper,” you will wish you had it.

Before choosing University of the People, I would take a good look at the online degree program at Arizona State University. They have been doing it (well) for several years now and the quality of their programs is probably excellent. The cost may be more than Uof the People, but that program isn’t free either! You pay a lot of fees for things plus a $100 fee for each exam.

A lot of links to the ASU program you will find on Google are broken, but this one works just fine:

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Thanks for taking the time to respond, Quincy, it means alot to me. I think I will try to do that. I see it as the best option but I feel horrible because I only have money to support myself and soon to be wife for about a year. Her family is happy to help but I feel like I should be a better provider. It sucks because as a boy and even in college it was all about the love, and now, you know…life.

Even while I work with kids every day, I am painfully aware of a dichotomy that has taken hold in my soul. Education should be available to everyone yet parents pay pretty well here for an english teacher and my time goes to the highest bidder. That is what makes FCC and similar programs so special. It is so rare to find something truly altruistic. Thank you!

Thanks GrannieB, I will check it out!

I work full time, I’m out from home from 7am to 7pm, I’m only taking one class and some free code camp on the side.

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It looks like is a lot more expensive than UoPeople. Yes, you pay $100 per exam, but ASU each credit is $490 to $553, Imaging a Math class with 3 or 4 credits, you could pay the entire associate degree on UoPeople with the money you are expending on only one class at ASU. However if money is not an issue or you are willing to get a student loan, i guess it would be better to go to a more established program.

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Many employers offer tuition reimbursement for coursework related to your job. Use FCC to get one of those jobs and then use the employer and the higher pay to get that degree.


Check with ASU to see if they accept transfer credit from Uof the People. If so, perhaps you could complete your AA there and transfer to ASU’s online program for your Bachelor’s degree.

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Thanks everyone for the valuable input :slight_smile:

Like UlisesCabrera, I am also working through the UoPeople CS degree program while doing FCC. I have had to take a leave of absence from UoPeople after about 1.5 years for some military training, but I will get back to it in term 1 of the next academic year while I continue to slowly progress through the FCC syllabus. The UoPeople degree will not carry the weight of a regionally accredited school that P1xt spoke about, but after a year and a half there which is about 12-15 courses, I have found that I’m not going to get much out of the courses if I just do the minimum to get by. In the short term, it is less about the degree and more about the education and CS foundation I can get by going above and beyond in the CS courses there to make sure I understand the concepts well. In the end, I agree with Quincy that the degree and FCC are complimentary.

I’m doing both. It took 2 years for me to finish my BS degree in IT. I started everything at the same time:
-Went back to College
-Started Taking Courses online from Non-accredited sources like FCC and others.

In December I will be finished with my Degree. I’ve already finished a lot of online non-accredited courses like FCC. My advice. Do what you can, and don’t get too upset when you realize that good employment in some places still heavily depends on who you know. From experience, the last part is easier said than done.

The only thing that matters is getting very good at coding (if that is what you want to do). FCC is one of a million ways to learn to code.

I though that those kind of things only happened at Spain xD