👩🏾‍💻

Should you pay to learn how to code?

December 14, 2020

This is a video I made about a year ago.

Below is the (rough) script for this video:

Story: Back in 2016 or so, I started a business – and by start a training program called CITE. my goal was to have 1:1 with those interested in coding regardless of age or gender, or whatever, if you wanted to learn I wanted to teach. I printed out a bunch of flyers, passed them out around the city, started a instagram, and all that. And I ended up with 1 student.

I think met with her every week for about 8 weeks or so, and she ended up having to move. Over the course of teaching, I was reminded of one crucial thing: Learning how to code is hard. It's like pushing a car – it's hard at first, but gets easier as you go. Coding is always an uphill battle, but I guess I forgot how hard it is to get the wheels moving.

Transition: I mostly learned how to code for free – using message boards, and forums (shout out to the newgrounds.com programming forum). And even though I didn't personally know any developers, I had friends on AIM that were down to teach me.

Intro to topic: I started learning how to code around 14 or 15 or so. Mostly for free. I learned more in college. And even more on my first job. I've never paid to learn – but when I was learning, there weren't any bootcamps or online courses weren't as prominent – or accessible to me.

Today I wanted to go over some pros and cons of paying to learn how to code.

Yes:

A reputable institution on your resume, will give you a leg up – but well known does not mean well respected

You don't have to go to college for it. Major tech companies like IBM, Apple and Google don't require degrees anymore. The rest of the industry will follow – so I don't necessarily mean college, when I say institution – it could be specific courses or a coding bootcamp.

And yea, don't be afraid to list online courses or certifications on your resume.

Depending on how you learn, the structure and curriculum of a school could help you learn faster. Being around other people that are on the same mission as you, might help.

Despite the costs, if you're dedicated, investing in yourself will pay off.

No:

There are a ton of free resources, why spend the money. Freecodecamp is one of my favorites.

Most jobs don't care WHERE you learned how to code, as long as you're good at coding

If you go this route, you'll need a STRONG resume, you'll need a strong portfolio either way, but personally, if i'm hiring someone that doesn't have a background, ALL I have is their portfolio.

Ultimately, it depends on you:

Personally, I got a degree in Computer Technology, even though I already knew web development and had been freelancing already. But it was useful to learn related areas like circuit design, networking, etc.

I definitely learn best when I'm apart of a group on a mission, and the structure of a class or course helps me. But everyone's different.

So if you're interested in learning my advice, before you do anything – is to learn how you learn. Don't make hasty decisions and waste a lot of money if you don't have to. As with most things, there really isn't a right answer.