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Course Review

App Academy Open

App Academy

Here is our in-depth review of App Academy Open, based on hours of rigorous testing and evaluation.

Updated: November 30, 2023

Bottom Line

Tremendous free curriculum for learning the foundations of fullstack software development, from one of the top-rated coding bootcamps. Not as seamless an experience as our other recommendations, and lacks assessments and feedback on your work, but it's an excellent option.

This Course is Great For

  • Methodical Practice
  • Rigorous Projects
  • Engaged Community

Fast Facts

App Academy Open

App Academy Open

App Academy

By Various Authors

πŸ’° Free πŸ•— 10-12 months at 10 hours per week
πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Videos, Readings, Coding Challenges, Quizzes, Solo Projects

#2 in The Best Self-paced Courses for Learning Fullstack Development in 2024

This course consists of readings, quizzes, exercises, some guided projects, and 4 capstone projects covering the major technologies.

Each lesson in the course includes a hands-on practice project to synthesize the material. These are fairly meaty exercises that frequently require that you do some outside research when you get stuck.

App Academy Open's hands-on practice projects will really test your skills.

This curriculum covers a wide range of material, including frontend vanilla JavaScript, HTML & CSS, backend JavaScript with Node and Express, Data Structures and Algorithms, SQL, React, Python and Flask, and an introduction to DevOps with Docker.

Along the way, the curriculum also covers web security, test-driven development, clean code, and other best practices that will help you prepare for professional web development.

App Academy also provides a Discord community specifically for its Open curriculum, where you can gather with other users. It’s a fairly active community, and there are occasional live streams and accountability checks. Most users in the community seem to be early in the program, but a dedicated few are progressing steadily through the material. And occasionally there are people self-organizing study groups, which we highly recommend participating in if you can.

Before You Buy

The design of the learning management system can be frustrating. Often there's just too much navigation information on screen, various elements in the interface are sticky when they don't need to be, and the in-browser coding environment sometimes gets squished so it's difficult to work with. The curriculum is great, however.

Be aware the curriculum was written for live instruction, daily pair programming, and weekly assessments. The curriculum does not include the assessments or feedback on the capstone projects.

While you can take specific courses, it’s important to note that this curriculum was written with the full time program in mind. Each section assumes that you’ve completed the previous section. There are occasionally references to previous sections. So if you jump right into one of the later courses (e.g. Python) you may find the adjustment difficult.

Go to Course

Other Courses to Consider to Learn Fullstack Developer

Full Stack Developer Career Track

Full Stack Developer Career Track


By Various

πŸ’° $249 per month πŸ•— 4-12 months at 10 hours per week
πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Videos| Readings| Quizzes| Exercises| Solo Projects

#1 in The Best Self-paced Courses for Learning Fullstack Development in 2024

The best self-paced full stack program money can buy. It's expensive, but well worth the cost for the quality of instruction and the quality of feedback on your work. The emphasis on practice exercises and real-world hands-on projects are standout features.

Read Our Full Review

Why You Should Trust Us

Our course reviews are conducted by a team of technical professionals, course developers, and lifelong learners.

The lead of this project, Brian Green, has worked in developer education since 2009. He built the content development teams at Pluralsight and Udacity, implementing quality standards and tutorials to improve course quality and working with hundreds of authors to create courseware. Most recently, he built the product team at App Academy. As of writing, he estimates he has spent nearly a year of his life taking or reviewing online courses, on topics ranging from Web Development, Networking, Server Administration, DevOps, Cybersecurity, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence.

How We Tested

Evaluation Criteria

We reviewed this course using the following criteria:

  1. Outcomes: The course needs to cover the essentials for someone to start working with Fullstack Developer in a professional capacity or on a professional-grade project. That means covering the right topics and not going beyond the scope of the course objectives.
  2. Learning Features: Real skill development happens with fingers on keys, particularly for learners moving from novice level. We looked for courses with more than just videos; exercises and projects were essential.
  3. Production Quality: The course should include polished and professional course materials. In 2024, the table stakes of even an average course are professional video production, uniform sound levels and noise-free audio, and course materials that are free of typos. Videos should also be captioned and transcribed.
  4. Real World Application: A great course teaches you enough to work on a production application. We looked for examples and best practices from professional experience, not just basic examples of how something works on a toy application.
  5. Support and Community: Learning is better together! We promote courses with thriving communities and rapid, helpful support for learners, and tend to rate courses lower if they lack community or if the community isn't valuable.

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