College VS Bootcamps VS Self-Learning

The debate of how to get into the development field has been getting fierce in the past few years. There are three choices that soon to be developers can make in order to get into the field. Colleges, coding boot camps or self-study are the paths that you can take. There are significant pros and cons that you need to consider for each one of these options.

To me: going the traditional route of getting a College degree is by far the easiest out of all three options. My reasoning for this is that there are a lot of gate keepers out there. Notably ATS and HR departments seem to filter our candidates that are more than capable of fulfilling the roles that they have posted for not having a degree. Obtaining a degree in Computer Science from a reputable school can enable you to jump over the initial bump that the gatekeepers raise. The biggest drawback with getting a degree is the fact of how long it takes. The typical CS program takes four years to complete. Additional time can easily be added on to that total if you tested low in your initial application to the school and now have to complete some prerequisites before you take advanced classes. There is also the chance that you may elect to not to be fully loaded each term so that you may focus on classes that are particularly difficult.

Coding Bootcamps are a fast track pathway to getting into the field. One of the appealing aspects of boot camps is that you can learn the fundamentals and can get proficient enough to land a role as a developer. Georgia Tech even has a web developer boot camp; this demonstrates how popular they have been getting. With that being said don’t swipe that credit card just yet. Bootcamps can cost quite a bit of money for the regular Joe. The average cost that was being tossed around was between $10,000 and $15,000. Bootcamps also are not accredited like colleges are which may scare away learners who want to make sure that their investments are safe. However this is actually as much as of a strength as it is a weakness. They do not have to answer to a board and changes to the program can be done almost instantly. If the local market suddenly needs thousands to MEAN stack developers, they can hire the staff and create a curriculum with ease. Some critics say that you can’t possibly fit four years of education into three months of boot camp. It is fair to note that you don’t take four years of only CS related classes in college, so this is an unfair criticism.

The last option is going on the journey of becoming a developer via self-learning. With the way the internet has evolved; we have so many resources to learn from. YouTube has an insane amount of tutorials for any language or technology stack that you can think of.  There is a great selection of paid services that you can buy/subscribe classes from. Udemy is a great choice (might be some bias here, I get a lot of courses from them during their $10 sales) Treehouse is a great option as well. Even the free sites and service are great; Free Code Camp has a good curriculum and you get to build projects for nonprofit companies, which is a big plus for me. Even MIT has great free courses online over at OpenCourseWare. To think MIT would have their courses online for free is crazy. Of course there are draw backs with self-learning. It certainly was frustrating trying to track down tutorials that were good. The issue being that anyone can create a tutorial, and they can easily abandon them as well, leaving you to find another person who creates similar ones. It can be pretty challenging to stay on track if you are easily distracted to have a tendency to slack off. If you have good self-discipline then you can make it out fine.

I certainly hope this might have helped someone make the decision on which path they decided to take while learning to program. I personally have a mixture of going the traditional way and being a self-learner. Figure out which way or combination works for you.