I stumbled across App Academy Open a few weeks back and read up a bit on the program and what it is. App Academy Open is the free version of their Bootcamp curriculum, which supposedly covers everything that is in their paid bootcamp program. Seems great right? So far, it is! There are a few things you don't get if you go the complete cheapskate way as I did - I do not have access to their Slack Channel or subreddit, I don't have any job/career support, and I do not have any tutoring access either. Basically, if you go this route, you are completely on your own (save for some pre-recorded video lectures and practice problem explanations).
On the pre-recorded lectures, my man Alvin is fantastic. He does a great job explaining concepts and will often backtrack to cover the basics while going through a multi-step problem. I really appreciate that. I have learned several techniques and ways to break down and solve problems, just by watching him answer them once I've finished on my own. Having access to pre-recorded videos like this is a new thing for me. As far as teaching me a little bit on how to "think", the pre-recorded lectures are clutch.
Being on my own? Kinda sucks. The challenge with this comes from not having any sort of hints or help on the practice problems. Most of the problems I'll eventually figure out, but there have been a few I needed help to solve which meant I had to watch the problem explanation video and feel like an utter failure. At one point this morning, I realized I wasn't going to get a problem answered on my own and got so frustrated at myself, I had to put the computer away for several hours before going back with a fresh mind and the acceptance that I couldn't do it. There are zero hints to get you thinking in the right direction, so when you are completely clueless, you are SOL. (One thing I enjoy about freeCodeCamp are the hints to point you in the right direction).
Besides being on my own, I've really enjoyed the experience thus far. I'm still near the beginning since it takes me awhile on my own, but I'm learning. And that's what counts. Plus I started on Ruby for the first time with this program and have picked it up pretty quick thanks to the videos and practice problems. I also get to use VS Code and my terminal, and I have uploaded a lot of my own work to Github which is a plus.
If anyone else is out there and currently doing the free a/A Open course, give me a shout! We're pretty much on our own and I'd love to meet others doing it! Also, if you are just starting out on it yourself, let me know. Happy to provide help where I can!