The Advantages of Taking a Coding Bootcamp Over Self-Teaching
Coding is a valuable skill that nearly everyone can make use of. However, learning how to code is difficult, and there are a lot of different methods for doing so. Some methods have clear advantages over others.
When it comes to coding bootcamps versus self-teaching, coding bootcamps have the advantage. This article will examine both and explain where this advantage can be found.
What Is a Coding Bootcamp?
A coding bootcamp is a program run by professionals designed to teach coding. In most cases, they focus on the practical aspects of coding. These are the aspects that directly relate to skills people need in the workplace. Nowadays, coding bootcamps often take place online but can also be held in person.
Coding bootcamps come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some focus on coding basics. Others focus on specific subjects with the intent of diving deeper. This variety allows people interested in coding bootcamps to pick an option that suits them best.
What Is Self-Teaching?
Self-teaching is when you explore a subject on your own, with whatever teaching resources you can find. These could be books about coding, videos you find online, apps that attempt to teach the basics, or websites explaining how to code. In these cases, you guide yourself through the study material rather than having someone instruct you.
Coding Bootcamps vs. Self-Teaching
There are a few obvious reasons that coding bootcamps have the edge over self-teaching. These include the design and approach, the community, the job training, and the potential for building your resume.
Design and Approach
Learning to code is difficult. So, the first thing to think of when debating between coding bootcamps and self-teaching is the program’s design and approach. This is at the core of both learning methods and, thus, will have a large impact.
Self-teaching generally has very little design to it. When most people teach themselves, they work with the materials they have until they become proficient enough to move on to more difficult materials. This means that progression is not planned and, therefore, the jumps from level to level will be less effective.
Even in cases where self-teaching has a greater design, this comes with its own disadvantage. It takes a lot of time to design and plan a self-teaching approach. This is time that could have been spent learning. So, at its best, self-teaching is effective but wastes a lot of time to be this way.
Meanwhile, coding bootcamps are designed by professionals. They are well-planned and have a progression that has been tested for its effectiveness. Working your way through a coding bootcamp feels natural and makes the best use of your time.
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Self-teaching is inherently an individual exercise. Most people self-teaching coding work with a workbook or on their computer but do not work with others. In some cases, they will watch videos of others teaching but even these lack interaction.
Meanwhile, coding bootcamps are conducted with groups of people. This introduces the learner to a larger group of people with a similar goal. They can reach out to these other learners for help or to form study groups. They can also reach out to the teacher for assistance. No matter how they choose to be a part of it, learning coding as part of a coding bootcamp makes someone a part of a community.
There is also evidence that learning as part of a larger group makes learning easier. So, coding bootcamps don’t just introduce a community; they improve what that community does.
Most people want to learn to code for their jobs. They may want to get a job that uses coding or improve the work they already do for a company. However, in either case, the skills they learn need to be transferable to the real world.
With self-teaching, it is difficult to do this. Most resources for coding are very general. They teach coding from the ground up and often do so in a conceptual way. Their primary focus is on the abstract concept of coding rather than how it works in the real world.
Meanwhile, coding bootcamps focus on exactly this pragmatic aspect. Most bootcamps know that you are learning to code for a job, and they have considered this while planning their program. So, every step of a coding bootcamp is planned with real-world application in mind.
Coding bootcamps also simulate what it is like to work in a job that uses coding. Interacting with the instructor and the other learners in the program is akin to interacting with an employer and coworkers. These low-stakes practice interactions help prepare your communication and teamwork skills for your future job when they really matter.
However, finding the right coding bootcamp is important. Not all bootcamps teach skills that are needed by all jobs. So, picking one that aligns with your career is necessary.
Building a Resume
As you learn how to code, you want to prove that you actually know how to code and haven’t only absorbed surface-level concepts. Otherwise, potential employers will simply have to take you at your word.
It is very difficult to put self-teaching work on a resume. You can read all of the coding books you want, watch all the videos out there, and read through several workbooks. However, none of this comes with proof. You don’t have to have proof for soft skills, but for skills like coding, it is helpful to do so. You can mention your self-teaching in a job interview, but without anything backing it up, the interviewer won’t take it too seriously.
Meanwhile, coding bootcamps have a well-defined structure you must work through to completion. If you show an employer that you completed a bootcamp, you can show them exactly what you did and what skills you learned along the way. Doing this is more tangible than anything you can do while self-teaching.
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The Advantages of Coding Bootcamps
If you’re debating between a coding bootcamp and self-teaching, the superior choice is obvious. Coding bootcamps have a better structure, come with a better community, teach more relevant skills, and are something you can put on your resume. Going with a coding bootcamp gives you plenty of advantages.