The tech world has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years. Software Development took a quantum leap as the worldwide web became more accessible and hospitable. Browsers today are leading the world of app development as they are becoming more flexible to host all kinds of apps that are seemingly native in nature. With over 1.8 billion websites online, there are a plethora of technologies running seamlessly on the web to cater to enterprise as well as consumer needs.
So the questions today for a learner are - What should one choose to learn today from the vast ocean of tech stacks available, and what are the best places to learn programming?
The Self-Taught Way
With technology having made its way into every aspect of learning and living, students can find almost any knowledge accessible and affordable too, on the internet. There are millions of developers who have walked the self-taught way and been successful in their pursuits. However, this path has its own disadvantages too, the major one being that there is no mentorship available when one finds oneself too deep in the waters. The other disadvantage is that anyone without a computer science or technology background will most often find themselves very lost without a structured learning path, and without a means to network and find fellow students along their journey. We will discuss why these aspects are important, further along in the article.
That said, the self-taught path is an adventurous one that often prepares developers to be self-reliant and to explore solutions from various sources.
The Bootcamp Way
Bootcamps are arguably the best first step to anyone looking to break into the tech world. Most bootcamps around the world welcome anyone with or without a background in computer science, and prepare them over the course of 4-6 months in various aspects of becoming a software developer.
Let’s see why bootcamps are necessary and useful -
Having a mentor is a lifelong investment on one's learning path as well as career. Mentors have the real-world experience and knowledge to help students learn how to be ready for the industry, especially if students lack previous work experience in the tech field or any other field too.
That is what a bootcamp stands to provide. Students are trained not only in the in-demand technologies or trending tech stacks, but they are also ingrained with a really strong set of fundamentals that are cemented for the rest of a developer’s career.
2. Learning How To Learn
Bootcamps do not just equip students with the right tools, but also provide the right way to approach learning. Once equipped with this knowledge, picking up any programming language is like a muscle memory. One can instantly know how to approach learning a new technology without having to fumble with the vast resources on the internet.
This is a very important skill for developers, since the technology world is always brimming with newer languages, libraries, frameworks, and tech stacks almost every few months. Learning never ends with one course or with one bootcamp graduation.Learning is a lifelong process that developers have to get familiar with in order to tackle challenges in the industry.
3. Community Support
In a bootcamp, a student is guaranteed to find fellow learners on the same journey as theirs, thus making the entire learning process a fun and engaging one. Having a community automatically ensures support, help, and often the much needed inspiration as one sees and supports each others' progress.
The other advantage of a community is the concept of collaboration and teamwork. These are an integral part of working in the industry and learning and working on projects and building apps with teammates instills confidence in students. It also often replicates real world scenarios that students can get familiar with and become job ready in a holistic sense.
Learning to program is in itself not a difficult path. However, programming definitely presents its set of problems along the way. Overcoming hurdles and mastering the subtle art of programming takes dedication, help, and fellow students who share the journey. This comes with a community of students sharing the same journey and helping each other inch closer towards their goals.
4. The Tech Stack
This is probably the most important factor to choose a programming bootcamp. While languages can be learned in a one-off manner by watching YouTube tutorials or blogs, a full-stack development journey is different altogether. Bootcamps that offer full-stack courses are worth it, since the industry today is moving towards developers having a wide range of skills. Tech stacks are often debatable and one must always choose the stack depending on the demand, salary offered, and interest towards the set of technologies. While the popular MERN stack (MongoDB, ExpressJS, ReactJS, NodeJS) is in high demand in most industry hubs and startups, AngularJS is also ranked high amongst enterprise app development. There's also the Python stack for the backend where Django or Flask are used. So one should choose a bootcamp based on these factors.
Learning full-stack prepares a developer for many years to come. The challenges faced in developing full stack apps ensures that a developer knows the intricacies of what goes into planning, designing, prototyping, and finally developing modern apps that work seamlessly. A bootcamp offers these with a structured learning path that takes the hassle out of students' hands, of having to prepare and plan everything by themselves. Proper guidance goes a long way in making the journey that much easier and better.
5. Structured Roadmap
Learning programming takes a lot of time and commitment. There’s no two ways about that. But what ensures that this time and commitment is utilised perfectly, is a proper roadmap that guides students on a clear and precise path.
Bootcamps design the curriculum keeping in mind the need to teach students effectively, while making sure that their path ahead is laid out in a structured manner so that they can invest more time on learning and building projects instead of searching for resources for every topic.
6. Practice Materials
Theory is great to learn but actually utilizing that knowledge to solve problems and build apps will go a long way in cementing that knowledge perfectly. Learning at one go and waiting to build something at the end is not an efficient way to learn programming. At each milestone, one has to keep practicing and solving problems to solidify one’s understanding of the various concepts learnt.
Especially in programming, practice is the only way to keep growing. Bootcamps make sure that there are plenty of practice materials to tackle and solve, before moving ahead to the next topic.
7. Feedback Loop
This is perhaps the most important part of learning programming in a bootcamp and goes parallely with mentorship. Getting feedback on your work is a great way to rectify mistakes and learn better ways to build projects. A constant stream of feedback from mentors and peers will build a positive approach to learning as well as build character. This loop ensures that there is quantitative as well as qualitative progress at each level of learning.
Programming bootcamps are today's alternative to colleges since they offer a much more focused approach to learning relevant skills. Degrees and certificates are becoming less of a factor to enter the software development world since the right skills matter. There are unlimited opportunities for a software developer today, especially in the web ecosystem since it has a low barrier for entry and is the most accessible platform for the majority of customers and developers alike.
While self-learning is always emphasized and encouraged, the learning that comes by being part of a bootcamp is unparalleled. From people skills, teamwork and learning communication tips, to becoming a skilled software developer in relevant technologies, bootcamps undoubtedly offer a holistic learning approach to everyone who has the goal of becoming a software developer.
All the best for your programming journey. 🙌