Tutorialzine published this awesome post at the end of last year, describing all the newest trends in web development. It is a very comprehensive list, but for someone starting out, the prospect of learning one or more of Python 3, Go, PHP 7, ES6, Node.js, Swift, and TypeScript, can be a little daunting! If you’re looking to break into web development, learn one technology from each of the three parts of the stack: the database layer, the backend layer, and the presentation layer. There will always be more technologies to learn, but when you are starting out it is more important to focus your energies.
Michael Janda wrote Burn Your Portfolio with graphic designers in mind, but there is a lot of wisdom that can be applied to any career in any industry. Of course, he is not actually recommending that you burn your portfolio, but that there is more to being a graphic designer or web developer than they can teach you in a four-year degree or three-month code school. If you are considering freelancing after code school, Janda can help you avoid a lot of common mistakes.
Sometimes the sheer amount there is to learn about web development can be overwhelming. To help me stay productive and push through these times, I found an awesome triaging technique called Learning Zones.
In this approach, you triage your learning goals into these three categories: the Comfort Zone, the Learning Zone, and the Terror Zone. Similar to the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” goals that are too soft will not challenge you to grow, while goals that are too complex will set you up for failure. Look for the “just-right” goal that you can find in the learning zone.
Course Report is an awesome resource for anyone thinking of attending a coding bootcamp. It is an impartial site where you can find honest student reviews and resources for every stage of your journey. They have just published the results of their second annual Graduate Survey, and the numbers paint a glowing picture for prospective students.
Spoiler alert! In the end, most students are very happy with their decision to go to code school, with reported satisfaction ratings up to 8.42/10 from 8.1/10.
The internet is full of free resources for learning how to write code, and all of the technical content covered at a typical code school can be learned independently. So why are so many people opting to pay for content that they can easily find for free?
TechCrunch recently published an article by Stephen Nichols titled “Coding Academies are Nonsense.” While I disagree with the thesis (for obvious reasons), the biggest problem with the article is the assumption that code schools are only about learning to code, which anyone can do through self-study. Coding is only part of being a programmer, and code schools provide a lot more.
Being a beginner is hard in general, and being a beginner programmer is even harder. Not only are you straining your mental muscles to wrap your head around new abstract ways of thinking, but you are also adapting to new environments, new coworkers, sometimes even a new city. The great thing about programming is that you are surrounded by people who are also working things out for the first time: new problems, new technologies, and new ideas.
Code school is just the start of your programming education. Doctors, plumbers, and electricians don’t allow students fresh out of school to begin plying their trade on critical systems, so it’s crazy to think that a programmer could do the same (from Robert Martin, The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers). Dev Bootcamp co-founder Shereef Bishay said in an interview with USA Today that his school is more of an apprenticeship program than an educational institution, but really your 90-day apprenticeship starts after code school. It begins when you land your first job in the real world of software development.
“I don’t enjoy programming. Will I once I am good at it?” This question was posted recently on Switchup.org, a resource site for people considering code school. Learning how to program is a difficult challenge, and it can be hard to understand the rewards when you are struggling with the foundations. I asked myself the same question when I was tackling the first steps, but I didn’t have to wait until I was good at programming (I am still waiting to be good at programming) before I began to enjoy it.