So, you have decided to learn coding and programming. That’s an excellent decision. The next step is to find out the best ways to do so. Below are 6 effective ways in which you can learn coding and programming.
1. Get a degree in Computer Science
This is the traditional way of learning coding and programming in a classroom setting. Pursuing a degree in Computer science entails more than just learning how to code. You'll be taught all things about computers. You'll be taught the design, development, and analysis of computer software and hardware.
You'll get to put your knowledge into practice by carrying out research. You'll use your software and hardware knowledge to solve problems in various facets of life.
You'll be introduced to diverse branches in computer science, out of which you may want to specialize in one. Coding and programming are aspects of computer software management. Your professors will touch upon various topics, but it’s up to you to build on the knowledge foundation that will be laid.
Even if you decide to pursue a computer science degree to learn coding and programming, you'll still have to learn more on your own. Many successful programmers today are self-taught. They didn’t depend on the traditional educational system to acquire knowledge.
To this end, even if you plan to pursue a computer science degree or are already in school studying the course, you still have to be motivated enough to go further. You have to practice coding and programming extensively. You'll need to take up internships and practise your skills regularly.
This is because when you go for a job interview, the hiring manager needs to know that you can get the job done. Your portfolio is what matters at that moment. That’s why it isn’t surprising that both Computer Science (CS) and non-CS undergraduates are taking up internships at companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. They know that they need the experience, skills, and expertise to become full-fledged programmers. A CS degree isn’t enough to become a good programmer.
However, learning coding and programming through the CS degree route is still relevant because many firms are living in the traditional era. They don’t employ a programmer without a CS degree. However, this mentality is starting to change now.
When considering a CS degree as the means of becoming a programmer, you need to consider other related aspects as well. Can you handle the time (3-4 years in college) and financial (tuition fees) commitments? Are you ready to put in the hard work to get the degree and build a topnotch coding/programming portfolio? If yes, then this learning route is excellent for you.
2. Coding Bootcamp
Coding Bootcamp is another excellent way through which you can learn coding and programming. Unlike the CS degree pathway, bootcamps have a shorter timeline and are more specialized. In addition, they are usually quite affordable.
You can decide to enroll in an in-person or an online Bootcamp. They typically range from 10 weeks to 24 weeks in duration. Bootcamps will help you prepare more for a career as a coder or programmer.
This is because you'll get to work on different coding and programming projects that will boost your portfolio. Most of the time, a certificate from recognized bootcamps gives employers enough justification to employ the applicant.
Bootcamp is an excellent code learning pathway. This is because the course is usually intensive and specialized. The curriculum is mostly a combination of content that’ll teach the students everything they need to know and find their way in the tech world. Unlike self-learning, coding bootcamps allow you to learn alongside students who have similar career goals as you.
Also, the availability of tutors to guide you with your learning process makes you learn faster. Your tutors and your fellow boot campers will boost your spirit and encourage you to stay focused even when the going gets tough.
Again, the opportunity to work on projects alongside other students will hone your time management and teamwork skills. The time bound manner in which learning takes place in bootcamps will help you learn more in less time.
3. Website-based Learning and Online Programs
Online courses will be your best option if you prefer a learning pathway that’ll give you the flexibility of time. Depending on the kind of course/program, most online courses are not as expensive as degrees or bootcamps. You can even find some free courses.
Just like bootcamps, some online courses use online tutors to guide the students during the course. The best part is that after the successful completion of your program, you'll get a verified certificate as evidence of your study.
Online coding and programming courses afford you flexibility and convenience. You can continue your main activities while learning coding through online classes. If you can stay motivated enough to complete the course, you'll learn a great deal.
Most online and website courses follow a streamlined progressive approach that helps you keep your eye on the goal. This is because you’ll be given assignments and projects to work on.
If you get easily distracted, the online learning pathway may be better for you than a traditional classroom setting. By the end of the online course, you'll have gained self-discipline, determination, and motivation. This is because you cannot successfully complete an online course or program without cultivating these traits.
Most of the time, coders and programmers can productively and efficiently work from home. Taking online courses will help to prepare you for that.
There are so many online courses and programs available today. You just need to know the right place to look. You can take up online courses on platforms such as Coursera, Tutorme, Edx, Futurelearn, and the likes.
Also, you can hire your own personal tutor on platforms like Tutorme. This means that you don’t have to search the whole wide world before you get your private python tutor.
4. Unassisted Learning (Self-teaching)
The self-teaching approach can incorporate a bit of online programs, but it’s mostly learning about coding and programming through blog posts, videos (mostly Youtube), eBooks, and textbooks.
The self-teaching pathway requires continuous practice. This means that you have to put everything you’ve learned into practice again and again. The use of videos for learning has gained prominence in recent times. Video teaching makes e-learning easy because you'll be able to interact with the information being presented.
Do you want to learn programming languages such as Python and Java which are hard-to-learn? Videos will go a long way in breaking down the processes involved for you.
You’ll be able to digest the content quickly and learn by observing what is shown to you. Videos-based learning helps increase retention because it’s easier to concentrate on videos for assimilation of concepts.
Platforms like YouTube have diverse informational content on coding and programming. Most of the videos therein are created in a captivating and interactive way to help you learn and understand faster.
The use of videos in self-teaching enables you to think faster and deeply. You can learn to offer scientific solutions to world problems.
Using the practical examples given in coding and programming videos will help you learn faster. It’ll boost your morale to practice and it’ll motivate you to continue learning. You may become the next Zuckerberg or Bezos before you know it.
Using textbooks and eBooks is another great way through which self-teaching people learn coding and programming. Actually, it’s not just the self-teaching learners that make use of books. Textbooks are a must for anyone who wants to learn coding and programming, irrespective of the pathway chosen.
Even if you get the information you need about coding and programming from videos, lectures, and online courses, you still need to seek more information from books. Books will often go into more detail than the other learning methods.
Also, since there are numerous books on shelves and online, you'll learn new ideas and strategies about coding and learning. After finishing a book, move on to another one. You'll always keep learning no matter how many books you read.
Reading from books is an effective way of learning to code. Every chapter of the book will open up a new world of coding and programming. Books such as Coding for Dummies, Programming for Dummies, How to Code, Introduction to Java, and the likes will help you to know more about different aspects of coding and programming.
You can also use games to teach yourself how to code and program. There are so many apps that will guide you through the coding and programming process. Most importantly, the learning will be a fun exercise. Most of the games are made for kids/teenagers, but you'll still gain practical knowledge about beginners’ coding and programming.
5. Internship and Volunteering-based Learning
You’ll not become a professional coder/programmer by theoretical knowledge alone. Internships and volunteering will help you learn by experience. Learning practically, by observing people do what you’ve been learning theoretically, is a topnotch way of honing your coding and programming skills. Whether you learn at a university, a bootcamp, an online course or through self-teaching, volunteering and internships will help you achieve your goal of becoming a pro in coding and programming.
You need to use this method to put what you’ve learned into practice. This will serve as the most tangible basis of your experience. The need to gain practical knowledge is the reason why students today are going for internships and volunteering. They know these activities will help them build their skills and experience.
No matter how much knowledge you have, you need a platform to prove yourself knowledgeable and suitable for the role of a coder and programmer. This is why you should endeavor to apply for internships and serve diligently. The experience you gain there will forever be yours.
For example, the knowledge, skills and experience you gain while volunteering to build an orphanage home website will be yours forever. It’s a double win for you because you'll be serving humanity while boosting your portfolio.
6. Coding Clubs and Circles
Show me your connections, and I will tell you who you are. Show me your circle, and I will tell you your worth. These statements explain why connections matter.
No matter which learning pathway you take, you need to have a group of fellow coders and programmers that you can always run to when the going gets tough. They may be able to help you solve your coding and programming puzzles. They may also motivate you if are feeling down.
Real-life is different from the Hollywood cliché that shows loner programmers. In real life, being part of a coding circle or a programming club will help you get far. Also, having a circle of fellow programming professionals will enhance your mental resolve.
You can decide to join a coding club even if you don’t know anyone personally to introduce you to the organization. Your university colleagues, in the case of CS degree students, can form that coding circle. Your coding circle can comprise members of the coding bootcamp that you attended.
From the circle, you may learn more about various opportunities and ideas. Next thing you know, you and your clique may come up with an innovative software. You can even start a Fortune 500 company.
The points above are not exhaustive. There are some other ways of learning to code and program. However, the above-mentioned routes are the ones that most aspirants take. Getting a degree in computer science, attending a coding bootcamp, learning online, and self-teaching are the common ways in which you can build a solid base. Internship and volunteer-based learning will fortify your programming capabilities and make you a practical programmer. Coding clubs and circles will help you network and remain in touch with the latest trends. Now that you know how to learn coding and programming, which methods do you want to choose? You don’t have to make your decision now. Think it through and weigh your options. Pick the learning pathway that suits you the most.