SAN FRANCISCO — Having recently moved to the Bay Area, 24-year-old Keeley Nakamoto figured it was a no-brainer to get into software engineering. Tougher to figure was how exactly Nakamoto could make that happen, especially for someone with no background in coding.

That’s why three weeks ago, she enrolled in Fulcrum, a new online program designed to help anyone looking to kickstart a career in software engineering. Fulcrum provides the introductory skills needed to apply for coding schools, which are private businesses that have emerged in recent years as popular routes into the tech industry.

“It gives you a really good taste beyond just doing free online exercises -- it gives you a real taste for what it would be like to get more into programming,” Nakamoto said.

The program was formally announced Monday morning by Hack Reactor, one of the top coding schools in the nation, and its network of sister academies. Hack Reactor Core, as the schools are collectively known, is hoping Fulcrum can reduce the barriers keeping non-techies out of coding camps, thereby expanding the pool of potential customers.

Though coding schools are often marketed as an avenue into the tech industry for those with no coding skills, the truth is that most of these three-month programs require that students have at least a basic knowledge of software engineering.

This is why many students at coding schools are people who took a computer science course or two in college or began to teach themselves how to code months prior to their applications. With Fulcrum, Hack Reactor Core is giving potential students a straightforward path to learning the basics they’ll need.

Hack Reactor Students work together at Hack Reactor, which on Monday announced Fulcrum, an online introductory program into coding for those who wish to start a career in software engineering. Photo: Hack Reactor

“Hack Reactor is a very competitive school,” Fulcrum Program Director Shu Liu said. “This makes it difficult for students who are working other jobs or have not had as much training on their own to successfully get admitted into the program.”

“Fulcrum gives them an opportunity to learn all the solid foundational knowledge in order to be competitive in Hack Reactor,” Liu said.

The program, which costs $2,980, is a nine-week online course that allows individuals to prep for coding camps at their own pace. Fulcrum eases students into the world of software engineering, giving them ample time to decide if coding is something they actually enjoy. The program is also designed to let students maintain their day job as they learn the basics of coding, a major benefit considering the steep price of coding camps -- Hack Reactor, for example, carries a tuition of $17,780.

“It’s really an investment,” said Nakamoto, who plans to keep her current job in marketing and communications. “Up front, at least, it’s really good to have the time to save your pennies and prepare for the amount of time that you won’t be working.”

Fulcrum can be used to prep for any coding camp, but students who complete the course and apply to a school within the Hack Reactor Core have the course price credited toward their tuition. Fulcrum also counts as the prep work required for Hack Reactor Core classes.

“It’s really the fastest way for students to prepare for coding school,” Liu said.