Should you learn to code on your own?

Should you learn to code on your own?

We are firm believers that anyone CAN code, but the path to getting there can be challenging.

With an overwhelming amount of learning materials, videos, and low-cost online classes, one has to wonder if they could just teach themselves to code. Coding boot camps are a big commitment and saving up to $15,000 sounds pretty good, right?

Here are a few things you should consider before deciding to skip a formal coding curriculum and go it alone.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS IN LEARNING HOW TO CODE?

Are you an entrepreneur who wants to be able to make simple design changes to your existing product? Are you a marketer who wants to be able to speak to clients with more technical knowledge?  Do you want to completely change careers and start a new job as a programmer? Do you want to uplevel your existing job as a Project Manager to become a Technical PM?

You can probably get by with online materials or asking a friend to walk you through some simple exercises for the first two. But for the latter, you will require more formal training in order to make a decent ROI on your investment.

WHAT IS YOUR LEARNING STYLE?

Have you tried teaching yourself something technical in the past? Do you prefer working alone or in a group setting? Will you really have the discipline to study or are you easily distracted? This is the time to be 100% honest with yourself. If you know you will come out strong in the first week or two, but then get sidetracked in week three, you probably need a class to keep you on track.  

DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT YOU CAN PUT TOGETHER A CODING CURRICULUM?

With your goal in mind, you will need to put together a syllabus for yourself, otherwise, you will easily go down coding rabbit holes and never fully learn a topic. How will you know whether or not you have mastered a skill to move on to the next one? Skip a Bootcamp if you feel like you can pull this together yourself. Otherwise, you will want to rely on a Bootcamp that has structured schedules, learning roadmaps, projects and quizzes that let you know how you are progressing. 

DO YOU HAVE PRIOR CODING EXPERIENCE?

Most people with computer science backgrounds find it easy to pick up skills and teach themselves. However, even if you know how to code, boot camps can introduce you to new frameworks, tools and programming languages. The best way to become a better programmer is to practice…a lot. How good are you at debugging? How do you split up the effort of building a mobile app among team members? These are all things boot camps offer over being self-taught.

HOW FAST DO YOU WANT TO LEARN?

If you want to learn quickly and get started on your product, startup, or find a new job, then you probably want to join a Bootcamp. They are designed to get you up and running quickly. You will be given projects that mimic projects you will be faced within the real world. You will most likely work in a group, which simulates working in a team environment. These are skills you must have if you want to change careers and become a valuable programmer. If this isn’t a goal, and you are just learning a new hobby, then skip Bootcamp.

We believe anyone can learn how to code if they put in the time and effort. However, when you are involved in a coding Bootcamp, you are able to ask questions, bounce ideas off other students, and develop an invaluable network. If you are ready to take the leap, take a look at ways to pay for Bootcamp.


Maisy Shaw

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