San Francisco. Silicon Valley. When you think of the Bay Area, you think of tech. Some of the biggest tech companies in the world call the city home. Much like the adage of going to Hollywood to get your big break, many would-be software engineers, data scientists, and UX/UI designers consider San Francisco the place to be if you want a career in tech. If you could make it in San Francisco, you can make it anywhere. Right?
Even if you aspire to have a tech career in San Francisco, you may be concerned about actually getting a job in the city. But it may be more possible than you think! Net tech employment increased 5.5 percent to 385,019 in 2018, according to the Cyberstates 2019 report. That’s a net gain of 20,566 year-over-year. While San Francisco tech companies continue to hire software engineers, emerging tech job postings increased 90 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, per the Cyberstates 2019 report.
The best way to learn if a tech career in San Francisco is right for you is by attending a free San Francisco coding class or Meetup. You’ll get to network with software developers in San Francisco and learn what they do on a day-to-day basis. These free coding classes or Meetups in SF and the broader Bay Area could help you find a community or mentor as you pursue your career in tech.
If you decide to pursue a career sooner rather than later, there are many coding courses and bootcamps in the San Francisco Bay Area that can help you start a career.
Flatiron School is one such bootcamp offering career changing, in-person courses in Software Engineering, Data Science, and UX/UI Design at our San Francisco campus. We offer flexible payment options for our in-person, San Francisco data science or coding bootcamps and a money-back guarantee for graduates who fulfill the terms of our Career Services Commitment and don’t get a job within six months of their job-seeking start date are eligible for a full refund of their tuition (see details).
Free Coding Bootcamps in San Francisco
42 Silicon Valley Experience level: Beginner Training: Full-stack development Audience: Career Changers
42 Silicon Valley is a free coding bootcamp located in Fremont, California. Any interested applicant must first complete the Piscine program. Piscine is a 28-day, in-person coding challenge that serves as the 42 Silicon Valley application. If you’re selected after completing Piscine, you select a cohort date and can apply for a free dorm room.
The 42 program is a self-paced, 3-to-5 year program. There are no formal classes or instructors. Instead, it’s a project-based experience that students complete over a set period of time. The 42 program has some required tracks, but students can also create their own learning paths.
Free Coding Classes & Meetups in the San Francisco Bay Area
If you want more of an introduction to the tech community, there are many free coding classes in SF and local Meetup groups that offer opportunities to learn and network. The groups below are a great way to meet like-minded individuals, talk to working developers, build your first lines of code, and develop your first tech network. Some Meetup groups are tailored toward experienced developers, but there are also plenty of great options for beginners.
This Meetup group is designed to be more of a free coding bootcamp in San Francisco focused on SQL and Python. Led and taught by Aman G., SF Free Coding Bootcamp is a 15-25 week course that meets once a week for 2 hours. You’ll learn the fundamentals of Python and how to analyze data using the programming language. There are also practice sessions and you’ll have to complete additional assignments on your own time.
While there are no scheduled events at the time of publication, the organizer states there will be an Introduction to Programming bootcamp in the near future.
Past Events: “Learn to Analyze Data,” “Practice Afternoon,” and “Learn Python and Socialize!”
Organized by the coding bootcamp Galvanize, Learn to Code San Francisco provides students with the chance to learn programming languages and write programs. Geared toward beginners and students who are deciding if coding is right for them, each Meetup workshop focuses on specific programming topics.
Organized by Women Who Code, this Meetup group offers an inclusive environment for women in the tech industry. This national organization feature a large community of engineers, which is great for anyone who has questions or is seeking support as they start their own careers in tech. Events include interview prep, interactive workshops, study groups, and keynote speakers. This is great for novice coders or anyone who is thinking about a career in tech. Women Who Code SF is also ideal for more experienced developers who want to expand their networks or find their next opportunity.
Learn to Code events include interactive workshops, speaker panels, and Happy Hours. While many events are tailored for code novices, there are also events for more experienced developers and anyone who is interested in learning more about data science.
Hack & Learn takes the approach that the best way to learn to code is by doing it. The Meetup group is suited for beginners and more experienced developers working on their own projects. There are open coding events where participants can work on their projects or get help from fellow developers in an inclusive environment. The Hack & Learn Meetup group also has interactive workshops where beginners and developers can learn new skills. If you’re interested in a place that has a more hands-on approach to learning to code in San Francisco, this could be a good fit. For seasoned developers, this group could be a great resource to turn an idea into a viable project.
Past Events: “Hack & Learn - Open coding session,” “Code a Website - Beginners Tutorial to HTML & CSS,” and “Code Unplugged - CS Concepts for Beginners.”
There’s also the Flatiron School Meetup group in San Francisco. We recently launched a campus in the Bay Area and our Meetup group is a way to contribute to the city’s incredible community. All of our events are free and include speaker panels with industry vets, networking events, coding workshops, and social events. This group is a good fit for beginners, industry vets, and anyone who wants to join the tech community in San Francisco.
The San Francisco HTML5 Developer Group describes itself as the “largest Web Development Meetup in the world.” With over 18,000 members, at the time of publication, it’s easy to see why they make this claim. The monthly Meetup events regularly have hundreds of registered attendees. If you want a deep dive into the world of web development, this is the Meetup group for you. The talks are geared toward industry vets, but it could be interesting to check out if you’re curious to learn more about the community.
Past Events: “Declarative Reactive Web Components with LitElement,” “All about WebXR,” and “The Past, Present, and Future of Angular.”
Charles Poladian is a copywriter for Flatiron School. He previously worked as a journalist and his work has appeared in the International Business Times and Mashable. Charles currently lives in Brooklyn.