Codi Review: A Free Coding Bootcamp For Underprivileged Youths

July 6, 2021

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Founded in 2017, Codi is a free, in-person, full-time, full stack software development bootcamp located in Lebanon that seeks to offer underprivileged youths who can’t afford a traditional education the chance to build a career in tech.

Codi's flagship program is a 6-month bootcamp that teaches both back-end and front-end development. Another, more basic 2-month course on Computer Literacy is designed to give complete newbies to computers a nudge in the right direction to see if coding is right for them. Finally, they also offer short summer coding camps for kids to spend 3 weekends learning the basics of computer programming and developing their first games.

In the two main courses, the class schedule is Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, while the Codi Kids camps are usually held close to noon on Saturdays. If you live in Beirut or Tripoli and are thinking about becoming a professional programmer, don’t think twice and apply now. There’s no risk or loss in doing so!

Codi is a combination between a coding bootcamp and a leadership course that is based in Lebanon. It’s an organization founded in 2017 in Beirut that fosters digital education for underprivileged youth in Lebanon. Its mission is to use coding & programming to enable inclusion and employment and as a catalyst for social innovation and diversity.

The school is a free full stack web development bootcamp with a focus on JavaScript. It is a full-time, in-person commitment that offers a great opportunity to many underprivileged people who don’t even own a computer the chance to learn coding and software development.

The school targets young individuals who have a passion and strong motivation for digital technologies and want to build a career in tech but lack the financial means to pursue a traditional education.

Besides technical skills, Codi also teaches other soft skills like leadership, entrepreneurship, teamwork, emotional intelligence and more, all of which are highly valued by recruiters in today’s job market.

Who Is It For?

Codi’s programs are open to anyone who wants to apply, but they primarily target unemployed youth with little academic background and otherwise marginalized from society. Codi delivers and ensures the quality of education by employing trainers on the ground, leveraging a proven methodology to maximize chances of success for students in Lebanon. These students will develop coding skills and have a strong foundation to become future innovation leaders and influencers.

Having said that, the only true limitation to enroll is that you must be at least 17 years of age upon enrollment. Other than that, anyone with or without coding experience or experience in IT, for that matter, is welcome to join. The school doesn’t even require any kind of degree to be accepted, just that you have the drive and the motivation to change your life for the better by starting on a new career path.

What you’ll need to be accepted is:

  • To be 17 or older (although there are coding camps for kids)
  • To have strong motivation.
  • A passion for information technology and all things digital.
  • Appetite to work in teams and solve problems.
  • To live in Beirut or Tripoli, since the classes are in-person.

What you won’t need in order to apply is:

  • An educational degree of any kind.
  • Prior technical skills.
  • Your own computer (Codi will provide one for you).
  • A specific nationality (refugees are welcome and even encouraged to join).

Features & Benefits

Here are a few of the most important features and benefits Codi has to offer:

A Free Full Stack Software Development Course

The most prominent feature that sets Codi apart is that it’s completely free for students of any age or background. The entire philosophy is to help those in need who want to pursue a career in tech but who lack the resources to pay thousands of dollars in tuition for a normal coding bootcamp.

You Don’t Need To Bring Your Own Computer

Laptops can go for hundreds of dollars, and not everyone can afford one, especially one with the specs needed for efficient coding and software development. That is why Codi helps students even further by providing the tools they’ll need to learn to program.

In-Person Instruction

If you don’t own your own computer, online classes are simply not an option. Consequently, in-person classes are the only way to go. Nevertheless, for all the pros that online instruction can have, nothing beats being face-to-face with your instructor and being able to ask them anything you want the moment a doubt arises. This sort of feedback is much more effective in person than through a computer display.

Additionally, in-person classes let you interact with other students, discuss ideas, make friends and begin networking with your peers and new acquaintances. This can prove invaluable down the line when alumni end up working for a big Fortune 500 company, or they start a new thriving business.

A Focus On Soft Skills As Well As On Hard Skills

Codi teaches coding and full stack web development very well, but these skills aren’t the only ones you’ll need to get a job in a big tech firm like Google or Amazon. Interpersonal skills, the ability to work in teams, emotional intelligence, creativity, leadership and other soft skills are things that recruiters always look for and can sometimes outweigh the technical skills a candidate may or may not have.

That’s why, at Codi, you’ll also get training in what they call Life Skills such as:

  • Communication.
  • Project management.
  • Entrepreneurship, and more.

This seeks to make a well-rounded professional that’ll fit in seamlessly as an integral and productive part of any team.

Codi's Course List

Students who enroll in Codi's programs get more than 1,000 hours worth of training in software development, computer literacy or life skills. Codi offers 3 different programs:

  • Web Development Programme.
  • Computer Literacy Programme.
  • Codi Kids.

In the following table, you'll find an overview of the basic features and cost of these 3 courses.

CourseCourse TypeCourse LengthTuition
Web Development ProgrammeFull-Time
6 months
(40 hours/week)
Computer Literacy ProgrammeFull-Time
2 months
(40 hours/week)
Codi KidsPart-time
3 Saturdays
(1-3,5 hours/week)

Here’s a breakdown of all of these programs:

Web Development Programme

Beirut and Tripoli
Class SizeN/A
Start DatesSeptember and November
Time CommitmentFull-Time
40 hours per week.
Course Length6 months
Cost of TuitionFree

Codi's Core Web Development programme has a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on coding and digital skills for full-stack web development, focusing on JavaScript. However, they have also dedicated a portion of the programme to include English and key Life Skills (e.g. communication and interpersonal skills, CV writing, interview coaching, entrepreneurship skills, financial literacy, industry discovery workshops, etc.).

This programme focuses on modern, versatile and ever-changing digital technologies. Codi focuses on shaping productive, self-learning and quality programming talent that never stops learning.

Skills You Will Learn

The Web Development Programme course focuses on the following skills:

  • React, a powerful Javascript library that is used to build more complicated web applications.
  • MongoDB, a source-available cross-platform document-oriented database program.
  • MySQL, a fully managed database service used to deploy cloud-native applications.
  • Git, a free and open-source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
  • GitHub, a cloud-based hosting service that lets you manage Git repositories.
  • Visual Studio Code, also known as VSCode, the most popular development environment and is where students will be writing their codes, learning which extensions to use to increase their productivity.
  • Webpack, a module bundler. Its main purpose is to bundle JavaScript files for usage in a browser.
  • Babel, a free, open-source JavaScript transcompiler mainly used to convert ECMAScript 2015+ code into a backwards-compatible version of JavaScript.

Coding Languages You Will Learn

The core coding languages you will learn in the Web Development Programme course are:

  • JavaScript, also known as JS, the programming language for the Web. It is used to make web pages dynamic and interactive since it can update and change both HTML and CSS.
  • Hypertext Markup Language, also known as HTML, the standard markup language used in building applications and web pages.
  • Cascading Style Sheets, also known as CSS, also known as CSS, is a style sheet language used for describing how a document written in a markup language will look.
  • Node, a back-end language used to handle databases, application logic and user authentication.
  • PHP, a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.

Computer Literacy Programme

Beirut and Tripoli
Class SizeN/A
Start DatesOctober
Time CommitmentFull-Time
40 hours per week.
Course Length2 months
Cost of TuitionFree

This programme aims to continue to boost employment by making the technology sector more accessible to people in need of a career. The curriculum for this 2-month programme focuses on developing skills for working in Internet or network environments, using collaboration platforms and designing digital solutions.

The course begins with computing fundamentals, including browsing the internet and using proper technical jargon. From there, the course looks at constructing knowledge through tools, exploring how to produce data from research, how to understand and construct databases and which software is best to use for word processing, spreadsheets or presentations.

This program focuses on digital communication and collaboration basics, including email setups, business etiquette, and using online drives and collaboration tools like Google suite.

Skills You Will Learn

The Computer Literacy Programme course focuses on the following skills:

  • Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, the process of improving or optimizing a website's content and structure to increase its visibility towards relevant searches in popular search engines to increase organic search traffic.
  • Internet research.
  • Collaborative tools.

Coding Languages You Will Learn

The core coding languages you will learn in the Computer Literacy Programme course are:

  • HTML, a website coding language.
  • CSS, a programming language to edit a website's style and look.

Codi Kids

Class SizeN/A
Start DatesSummer weekends
Time CommitmentPart-time
1-3,5 hours per week.
Course Length3 Saturdays
Cost of Tuition$35

During the summers, Codi offers their only paid programs, which are the Codi Programming summer camps. These workshops run on 3 Saturdays across 3 different age groups for fun opportunities to create, develop and build programs and games.

Coding Languages You Will Learn

The core coding languages you will learn in the Codi Kids course are:

  • HTML, a website coding language.
  • JS, the programming language for the Web.

Job Placement & Career Support

Codi makes sure to surround you with people who will support students every step of the way and whose main focus is their success. Along with their technical syllabus, you'll also receive training for interviews, CV crafting, cover letter writing and more, which are essential when looking for a job.

Meet The Team

The team at Codi is made up of 6 key people:

Hortense (Founder)

Before founding Codi, Hortense spent four years as a strategy consultant in Private Equity at The Boston Consulting Group. During that time, she co-founded Unicef NEXTGen, a global Unicef initiative bringing together diverse groups of young professionals committed to helping transform the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Joseph (Director & Head of Operations)

Joseph is passionate about Codi because he believes in the power of programming as a tool to building a better future and a long-term sustainable career. His mission: to inspire and empower. Before Codi, Joseph worked as an Operations Manager across multiple sectors (IT, Retail, Software) and has over ten years of experience. He holds a B.Sc. in Management Information Systems and an MBA from AUST (Beirut, Lebanon).

Samar (Lead trainer)

Samar is a freelancer and teaches in several universities the basics of programming and computers. She holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut. Before Codi, Samar was active in both the technical and academic fields. She held positions in several companies as a project manager, IT manager, and Web Developer.  She now feels that the best way to convey her knowledge and experience is through teaching.

Laura Jardine Paterson (Head of Communications)

Laura is the Head of Communications at Codi, responsible for making sure everyone in Lebanon knows about Codi. She manages all the Marketing, Social Media, external communications and recruitment of new Codi students. Laura is particularly focused on gender equality in the tech sector and is on a mission to get more women into programming worldwide. Before Codi, Laura was working as an Operations Specialist in London at Mediacom, one of the largest Media agencies in the world.

Rex Stretton Pow (English mentor)

Rex is the English teacher at Codi. As well as teaching English, his responsibilities include designing the English curriculum and giving workshops on skills to prepare Codi graduates for the English-speaking workplace and professional world. Rex is very happy to be part of the Codi team and to have a chance to teach English to those for whom it will make the biggest difference.

Khaldoun (Trainer)

Khaldoun graduated from the American University of Beirut in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science. He is really passionate about Software Engineering and particularly Web Development and Machine Learning, with a recent growing interest in DevOps and Cloud Engineering. Khaldoun leads the Computer Literacy course as well as assisting Samar with the Core.

How To Apply

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply to Codi and increase your chances of being accepted:

Step 1: Go to Codi’s website

You can do so simply by clicking on the link below.

Step 2: Fill out the form

When you reach Codi’s website, you will need to click on Apply to start the registration process. Besides giving some basic contact information, you’ll have to fill in a quite lengthy 5-page form that basically assesses your socioeconomic status.

Step 3: Get 300 points on FreeCodeCamp

For everyone to start on an equal footing, you’ll be required to take some of FreeCodeCamp’s free online tech courses. You’ll have to go through enough lessons to accumulate a total of 300+ points (the more, the better).

Only after you’ve proven that you were able to get the points will your application be considered.

Step 4: Interview

If you qualify with 300 points or above on FreeCodeCamp, you will be invited to a face-to-face interview in Beirut or in Tripoli (that will depend on the answers you wrote on the form)

Step 5: Probation

If you pass the interview, you'll enter a one-month probation period at Codi. If you do well, you’ll finally be accepted as a proper member of Codi’s new cohort of future full stack web developers.

How to Get Accepted

The key to being accepted at Codi is to be older than 17 years of age and be as honest as possible when answering the form. Try to be as natural as possible and don’t overthink your answers trying to figure out what Codi’s enrollment team wants to read.

You won’t need a computer since Codi will provide one for your training.

Codi User Reviews

Here are just a handful of verified Codi reviews from a few of their members:

“With Codi, I have been able to be free and accepted by supporters that will embrace my true colours. What’s hard is to accept to back down for any reason, and that when I graduate it will be the time where I’ll be taking my own path, saving all the care and bits of advice in heart and mind. A second journey will be reborn where I am an artist full of creativity and strong qualifications that will allow me to embrace my passion. So dreams will be a reality – let’s see where it will lead. A big thanks to the Codi organization and Codi team – I’m so grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me.”Rebecca

“Normally, it is challenging to finish countless tasks and meet deadlines but at Codi where you are working under the supervision of inspiring mentors and teaming up with people who are not just your colleagues but people whom you feel like you have known forever, it feels different. At Codi, you learn the required skills to become a full-stack web developer, the proper use of English, and many more skills such as self-learning, teamwork, time management, communication and public speaking skills. During this experience, I realized that every path you take will add tons of useful skills that will serve the process of finding your purpose.”Hamida

“Codi gives you all that you need to start your career as a developer. It provides you with all the support and resources along with a professional experience. It’s a safe environment where you meet many people who share the same interests as you and you can fail and make mistakes and learn from them. You can also learn from others’ mistakes to reach the level where you have the skill set you need to pass any interview for any position you want or even start your own freelancing business.” — Farah

Codi Alumni

In case those reviews haven’t convinced you, here are a few quick stories about Codi members—the sort of people you’ll be rubbing shoulders with once you enter the program.

Before CodiAfter CodiDo They Recommend Codi?
Jihad was falling into depression when he discovered that all the knowledge he got from the university wasn’t enough to make him employable.After countless online courses and dozens of fruitless cover letters, Jihad found Codi, and it changed his life.“You may be wondering what power does Codi owns to turn someone's life upside down? Youth are diamonds in the rough. All they need is someone to believe in them and lead them to the right way to activate their power and creativity, and shine. It is about taking out the power buried underground. That is what Codi is about.”
Fatima was a math major who took one programming class and fell in love with coding. But life had other plans for her, and she couldn’t pursue her dream.Codi opened the door for Fatima to become a software developer and land a job as a teacher in her dream school.“For me, the admission process was real fun. I got introduced to Codi’s incredible team. Being around people who are always smiling and having important but delightful conversations with each other, made me sure that if I got accepted I would have a whole new family.  The good news is … Yes! I did get accepted.”

How To Contact Codi

In the following table, you'll find the most important contact info so you can get in touch with Codi to learn more, ask any questions you may have or sign up.

Phone+961 78 940 942
Email[email protected]
Social Media
Apply Now button
Mailing AddressPigier Gemmayzeh, Andalusia Building. PO Box 105 Beirut Lebanon

In Summary

Based on the user reviews and on a general appreciation of what Codi offers, it’s safe to say that Codi is a great place to start learning software development, no matter what your background is.

But when you consider that it’s a free course and that they even provide computers for you to work with, you really get the feeling that they go out of their way to help those in need.

Imagine having only barely ever used a computer before, and someone not only offers you the chance to use one and play around with it as you like but that they also teach you how to use it to create anything you can think of, from beautiful websites to exciting games to useful and problem-solving apps. It is a completely life-changing experience.

But, underprivileged students aside, Codi also offers an incredible amount of value for anyone who is accepted into the program. The chance to learn coding in an in-person environment, guided by professional instructors and not having to pay a dime, is something anyone can benefit from, so if you’re in Beirut or Tripoli and are looking for a tech school to take your coding to the next level, you have to start your quest by applying to Codi.

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