Free tools for student software developers

Kian Hagerman
MesaCC Legend

Students interested in developing software have access to a range of free tools to further their efforts, through the GitHub Student Developer Pack. GitHub, Inc. offers this pack to students through Github Education, a site intended for instructing on the use of GitHub to dispense code amongst groups of people who may be working together on a project. GitHub allows users to post builds, and along with the open source, Git system allows users to work in tandem with software development by keeping track of any change that is made. Those who access the Student Developer Pack must do so by providing proof of enrollment in school, and other pertinent information. Companies like Amazon and Microsoft provide many of the tools included in the pack, along with GitHub itself. Many of these can be accessed without the pack, like AWS Educate or the Atom text editor, but the pack provides an additional bonus. AWS Educate gives Student Developer Pack members bonus AWS credits of up to $110 on top of what those that might enroll directly with their site would get.

Atom is a text editing environment that is open source, and can thus have its code changed by users to attenuate it to the needs of the programmers using it. A number of the services made available through the pack can be useful even to those that don’t develop software. A huge boon to those who qualify for the pack is access to Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio integrated development management and a wide range of tools for developers through Microsoft Imagine. The cost of accessing such tools might otherwise be prohibitive for student. Commercial application of a number of the offers of the pack are possible. For instance, Stripe will waive transaction fees for pack users up to $1000 in revenue that is obtained through use of its service. Bitnami provides access for 1 year to their Business 3 Plan, which gives users access to three servers, monitoring, and support and normally costs $49 a month. The servers are used to automate the deployment of software stacks for applications, along with maintenance once successfully deployed.

Carto will upgrade student accounts to provide greater access to their spatial data services for 2 years for pack users. With Carto’s web mapping, creators can better understand their audience so that their needs can be catered to precisely. Datadog’s Pro account level which includes the use of 10 servers is made available for 2 years as well. The services provided can be used for application performance management through the use of tools also available from Datadog. Digital Ocean offers $50 of credit towards the use storage solutions, virtual machines which allow developers to test applications, and a number of networking services. Flatiron School gives 1-month free access to their Community-Powered Bootcamp, normally $149, where interested parties can learn the necessary skills of a software developer. Learning to work in teams is encouraged and facilitated, something that is common in software development. GitKraken gives users access to a Pro account free for 1 year, so that they may use GitKraken’s Git GUI for commercial purposes. Through Travis CI students can receive private builds for free, a service that normally runs $69 a month.

Travis CI builds and tests code that one seeks to put on Github to make sure it runs properly, then communicates the results to the developers.  It can streamline the processor working in large teams who may be working from different parts of the globe. HackHands provides $25 of credit on their platform so that pack users have access to the company’s live programming help, which is available 24 hours a day. Those who need to get a question answered by an expert can use the service to make a request for help, setting and set a budget for how much they are willing to pay for assistance on a per minute basis. Namecheap offers an SSL certificate and domain name registration for a .me website for one year, which can benefit users that wish to establish somewhere online for interested parties to visit to learn more about their software projects. SendGrid offers the use of their email service, which is used by a number of companies to send out information to those their customers and can be used to quickly and effortlessly inform others about software project updates and streamline the delivery of announcements. Sentry is an open-source error tracking project that allows users and developers to isolate and reproduce errors in software, so that they may be fixed in future iterations.

Available online as a service, Sentry gives Student Developer Pack users 500,000 events each month, for an unlimited number of projects and members through the service. Taplytics gives access to analytics, and a wide range of tools for evaluation of data are made available on the use of mobile applications free for 6 months.  The tools provided can give developers insight into the use of their software, and a wide range of tools for evaluation of data are made available. An example of how Taplytics can serve developers is that the geolocation of users can be used to tailor the mobile app experience to individuals. The contribution Thinkful would likely be most beneficial to those interested in web development, which is one month access to a course on HTML/CSS, Javascript and associated tools. Those who are not already working towards an education in software development but are interested in trying to learn about what that entails might also find value in this offer. Transifex offers localization solutions for integration with software, and pack users get a free 1-year Starter plan, hosting for 50,000 words and translation of live content throughout the development cycle.

This could be a powerful resource for those that intend to deploy their software projects to non-English speakers. Unreal provides those that qualify for the pack with the Unreal Engine, which can be used for game development intended for most platforms. Though each developer’s needs are unique, and not all of these tools may be necessary, the tools provided in the Student Developer Pack could be essential to the success of a project. Those that have evaluated what has been offered and seek to gain access to these tools may do so by visiting “https://education.github.com/pack”https://education.github.com/pack and following the instructions.

About Author

These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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