In an attempt to build customer loyalty, companies routinely give away free or discounted stuff to college students. GitHub is no exception as they, with the help of various sponsors, provide just over $10,000 worth of services that you can incorporate into your own projects though the GitHub Student Pack. Provided you have a GitHub account with an associated .edu email address, you can access these tools from web services through to payment platforms.
What’s in it?
- Atom.io – Text editor created by GitHub.
- AWS Educate – Amazon’s AWS platform which comes with up to $115 of AWS credit.
- Bitnami – Allows you to deploy web applications through their premade containers.
- CrowdFlower – A crowdsourced data processing platform that lets you perform a variety of tasks such as audio transcription, moderation among others
- DigitalOcean – A cloud hosting service that allows you to power your web applications with simple to install Linux servers.
- DNSimple – A domain management tool and registrar.
- GitHub – A code review, management platform
- HackHands – A coding help line, like an instant StackOverflow
- Visual Studio – Microsoft’s IDE for Microsoft stack products, like Xaramin, C#, ASP.NET etc.
- NameCheap – Domain registrar and web hosting service.
- Orchestrate – “Database as a service”
- SendGrid – A platform that lets you send transactional emails such as notifications and payment confirmations.
- Stripe – A payment platform that lets you process payments for mobile and web applications.
- Travis CI – A code testing and deployment tool for code repositories hosted on GitHub.
- Unreal Engine – Cross Platform game engine
- Major League Hacking – Hackathon League
Atom.io is an open-source text editor made by GitHub. It has fancy features such as code autocompletion, syntax highlighting, a file browser as well as package support to add extensions such as language specific highlighting, git integration and the ability to launch full stack frameworks within Atom. It is built with
AWS Educate is an initiative by Amazon to teach schools and students on how to use their web services platform called, AWS (Amazon Web Services). AWS includes S3 for hosting file assets, EC2 for virtual web servers, Cloudfront for serving web pages quickly, Glacier for very slow S3 among many others.
ExpeditedSSL does a good job explaining AWS services in simple terms here. In addition to educational resources, you can get anywhere between $50 and $115 worth of AWS credit depending on whether your college is a member of AWS Educate.
Bitnami is a collection of development stacks that let you easily develop and manage your web applications as well as deploy them to a cloud server, like Amazon’s EC2. For example, if you want to make a WordPress site better than mine, Bitnami will give you a platform with PHP, MySQL and the Apache Web server needed to run and maintain a WordPress site.
Bitnami is offering their Business Micro Plan 3 worth $49/month for free while you’re still a student. It comes with the ability to deploy three servers as well as lots of support options and server management tools.
CrowdFlower is rather difficult to describe but they describe it as “the essential data enrichment platform for data scientists”. It lets you upload data and through the power of crowdsourcing, you can perform a wide range of jobs such as sentiment analysis, moderation tools, data validation among other data processing services.
DigitalOcean is a cloud hosting service that comes with easy to install server images. It also comes with really good documentation and tutorials which seem to come from paid community writers. The thing that makes this a great deal is that as a student you get $50 dollars worth of Digital Ocean credit which is 10 months of their cheapest option. You used to get $100, but $50 is still nice.
DNSimple is a DNS service platform that allows you to manage, register and purchase domains, purchase SSL certificates and set up WhoIsGuard to keep your personal information safe (since you need to provide such information in case someone want to buy the domain from you). As a student, you get access to this platform on their personal plan for two years worth $5 a month.
Github is a code management, review, and collaboration tool that lets you host Git repositories. Basically, it lets you host and share your code with others to either collaborate or serve as a portfolio for your projects. Typically, you have unlimited public repositories and in order to make private repositories, you need to move to one of their paid plans. Fortunately, as a student, you get to have five free repositories while you’re a student. Once you graduate, you can use services such as Bitbucket and Gitlab which offer unlimited
Once you graduate, you can use services such as Bitbucket which offers unlimited repos and even Mercurial support if Git isn’t your version control tool of choice. Oh, you can also host your personal website through GitHub Pages there as it gives you the domain username.github.io for free and you can also set up your own down with NameCheap, like I did.
HackHands is a platform that lets you connect with professional developers to help you with your programming issues. Think of it as an instant StackOverflow where instead of waiting indefinitely for someone who might help you. I guess there are loads of ways to get free help, put HackHands gives you $25 worth of credit as a student, so it’s worth trying it out one day.
Visual Studio is Microsoft’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that lets you develop C#, VBasic, Azure, ASP.NET among other Microsoft Development Stacks. Microsoft is nice enough to offer you their (already free) Visual Studio IDE, $25 of monthly Azure credit for their cloud services as well as access to their DreamSpark network which comes with access to lots of free applications. There are a whole host of benefits as well, including trials and educational tools.
Namecheap offers domain registering, management and web hosting platform. True to the name, they offer really cheap domains (like their $1 .xyz domains) which all come with WhoIsGuard to protect your private information. In the Student Pack, you get a free .me domain for a year (great for your personal website) plus an SSL certificate for a year to keep your website safe.
Orchestrate is a “Database as a service” platform that allows you to “orchestrate” your database. With Orchestrate, you can perform quick database queries, data graphing as well as location and time-based data manipulation. As a student, you get a developer account worth $49/month where you can support 2 applications, perform 500K operations as well as write 500MB worth of data.
SendGrid is an “email infrastructure as a service” product that lets you send out transactional emails, such as payment confirmation, newsletters among other notification based emails. Under the GitHub education pack, you use the appropriate student plan which gives you 15K free emails a month/200 emails a day.
Stripe is a payment infrastructure payment which gives you the ability to process web and mobile payments, like PayPal. So it will come in handy if you ever need to let users but stuff. Being a student, you get waived transaction fees for the first $1000 in revenue through the Stripe platform.
Travis CI is a tool that allows you to test and deploy your code hosted on Github. In addition, you can post a badge on your README telling viewers about your current build status and if they are nice enough, they might fix it for you through a pull request and Travis will let you know if their fix will cause any merge conflicts (issues). As a student, you get access to use Travis for your privte build worth $69 a month while you’re a student, although open repositories are free.
Unreal Engine is a game development suit like Unity that lets you create cross platform games (including VR) as well as movies and architechture. Using C++ you can make great looking visual applications and since you only get charged 5% of your revenues, it’s a great option if you want to get into Indie Development since there is no upfront cost.
This is the “official student hackathon league” which hosts various hackathons throughout the year at universities across North America and Europe. At these hackathons, you attempt to build something within the space of a weekend. They provide you with a wide range of hardware, food,
exposure to potential employers professional mentors from technical companies and biggest of all, a hacking culture. There are a lot of issues surrounding hackathons, but it’s worth attending, especially if your educational institution doesn’t have a strong hacking culture.
So that’s it! That is just over $10,000 worth of free stuff (assuming you start using this as a freshman), not including the value that the products themselves provide. So far, I’ve only used the NameCheap domain and Digital Ocean, although I’m eager to try out all of this stuff by the time I graduate.
Next week, I’ll try to find out about more free stuff that you can use.
 Assuming that you use the services provided all throughout four years of college. The prices themselves consider the price charged by the sponsor and not the actual value they provide. For example, Unreal is “free”, but it comes with a lot of features. The napkin math I used to calculate this figure is here⤷
Thanks for reading! At soJava, I have finally made a new post explaining how various code blocks works, namely if..else, while, for and case/switch statements. I hope to get a post on how methods and classes work next time around.