Now that you’ve decided to bring your aptitude for coding to the next level, it’s time to choose whether to take up self-taught courses or to enroll in a coding bootcamp. It’s a tough decision, especially when resources abound for both options. In this post, we broke down the main differences between the two learning forms to help you determine which will best meet your goals.
Self-taught Courses Pros and Cons
Fits Any Schedule
If you’re a self-starter and willing to spend a significant amount of time learning coding, then self-taught courses are for you. They give you the freedom to choose your own schedule and allow you to continue your lifestyle. You’ll also feel comfortable with open online courses if you can’t stand group work and want to take full control of the learning experience.
While self-taught online courses offer flexibility, they make it easy for you to get distracted and fall into the procrastination trap. When urgent matters in school or work require your full attention, online courses very quickly can become the easiest to remove from your schedule. Moreover, online courses lack mentorship programs that can push you to go beyond your limits.
Affordable, More for Beginners
Online learning resources, from free materials to paid courses of every budget range, are readily accessible. You can start them anytime you want. Free online courses may appear attractive, but the quality of their materials can vary a bit. Usually, they’re only good to get you started. So to a certain extent, you get what you pay for.
By providing learners the freedom to choose the material they want to know, self-taught courses are low investments for beginners. With this type of course, you’ll have a difficult time knowing where to begin or which technology to work with.
Bootcamp Pros and Cons
More Structure and Content
Learning how to code is not a simple task, that’s why when you attend a bootcamp, whether onsite or remote, your progress will most likely be monitored by those who also developed the bootcamp’s cohesive coding curriculum. In a bootcamp, your learning is more structured. You can be sure that your carefully planned program, which took months to complete, will build up your coding skills one level of mastery at a time. The challenge with this learning setup, however, is that if you’re not keeping pace with the materials, you can look forward to spending many late nights catching up, and if you move too fast, you might get frustrated with your slower classmates.
To provide learners an in-depth understanding of coding, bootcamps maintain an immersive and collaborative environment by putting together the tools learners need to succeed. It’s called a bootcamp because you eat, drink, talk, and breathe code for months at a time. By demanding such an intensive focus, that kind of learning environment pushes you to set all your other concerns aside and allows you to accomplish more and learn more technologies at a rate you wouldn’t think possible. Effective bootcamps provide students with mentors who serve as guides and coding peers. Some coders feel a sense of security and comfort in a structured environment.
If you plan on going to a bootcamp, it would be wise to give your loved ones a heads-up, because once there, expect to have little time for anything else.
Group Learning and Networking
One advantage of attending a coding bootcamp that might strike you is how it accelerates your learning. The collaborative environment it creates makes coding concepts easier to learn compared to learning them solo. Being able to discuss concepts with someone at your own level, or helping others understand them is an enjoyable and powerful way to learn. The collaborative and immersive environment of coding bootcamps is tough to beat, especially for people who don’t have a background in coding.
In a bootcamp, you don’t just get valuable content, you also get to surround yourself with people who share your goal, and could become part of your professional network. They could become your future teammate, boss, client, or employee. One of them may even be the key to unlocking your dream career. You can’t stop at the bootcamp, of course. Networking requires commitment. Going to local events, or joining online communities or forums are great ways to meet people who share your passion for tech.
Some bootcamps provide career guidance, which can assist you in navigating the fierce tech job market jungle. Tech has its own set of job search rules. What could be considered as conventional wisdom in other industries might not be applicable when you’re looking for work in tech.
So if you thrive in environments that encourage collaboration, and you’re not afraid to put yourself out there, then a bootcamp is precisely what you need to kickstart a fulfilling career.
You Must Evolve!
Whether you prefer self-taught courses or coding bootcamps, remember one thing: one course or qualification will not teach you everything you need to become a great coder. Your first bootcamp may set you on the right path or show your next move, but ultimately, you need to learn and evolve continually. Even as a bootcamp grad, you’ll still probably hunt for free online materials to keep your coding skills and knowledge updated. And somewhere along the way, you need to adopt an independent method of learning, especially when you begin to view coding as more than just a career or a fun activity, but a new way of looking at the world.
Sign up in Q College’s Practical Skills Web Development bootcamp and gain real-world work experiences and highly employable skills in the tech industry.