I want to become a web developer, where should I learn to code?

Article Written by Stephen Bell- Marketing-Development @coffeescreative

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Ever heard someone say this?

“You know, I really want to get into development and web coding, but I don’t have any formal training. Someone told me boot camps can get me into a job in just a couple of months. But, have you seen the price? Are they worth it? Do I get any accreditation for the program? What about a collage, or could I just learn it myself?

Hold up there partner! There are yes and no answers to these questions, so lets have a look at the upside/downside in the rising area of web coding education!

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The Three areas of Web Study

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Personal – “Do it yourself” kinda thing

You don’t need a degree or diploma to be self taught. Many successful programmers today are indeed self taught. Online tutorials, and even youtube video series, can be instrumental with coding skill development. The benefits of this approach are the $0+ tuition cost, of course, and the flexible schedule! But here’s the catch. You need a great amount discipline to learn in your free time, as well as the skill and insight to put together your own curriculum, so to speak. Also, without any kind of formal training, you might have a hard time landing a job unless your portfolio will speak for the lack of education.

Conclusion: Only recommended for the focused/self disciplined types who can create a portfolio to impress

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College Diploma or University Degree

Ahhh, here is the tried and true method. A diploma or degree in computer/software engineering. You get the certification from the school required and are often placed above others with applicant selection. You also receive tutorials and a structured learning environment.  Sounds great right? Well there is a catch. Number one, these programs are often antiquated in their approach at teaching curriculum relevant to today. Maclean’s Magazine states “7 out of 10 institutions are teaching older platforms of code.” Javascript is fantastic, but what about Ruby on Rails, Python, Java, Bootstrap, Js-Node or angular, PHP, SQL, Swift, SAS… and on and on and on. Number two, $$$$$. Let’s face it, its expensive to educate ourselves. In many cases, these 3-4 year programs can run easily at 10-20k a year, and sometimes that figure only applies to a collage. Universities are often higher in tuition cost.

Conclusion: If you have the funding available, and are in search of the certification, than this is the step for you. Just be aware, you may need further study in areas not covered by curriculum, and that a degree does not create a portfolio.

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The Coding Bootcamp

In North America alone, well over 60 boot camps have risen up in the last few years boasting to get young developers on the fast track to a 6 figure job in software/web development. These programs—usually 8 to 12 weeks long and costing $10,000 on average—offer hands-on training, career guidance and community support, and the opportunity to work on personal projects you can showcase to prospective employers. They offer a much more focused education in programming languages or tracks. You will often learn current coding languages, and work in team environements, focused on projects.  While boot camps can get you job-ready faster than the college route, there’s only a short time to learn, and, like in a vocational school, getting a good job isn’t guaranteed. These programs are intense, and often require a 9-5 commitment as well as evening study to finish projects. Having spoken to developers who have completed bootcamp courses, many have stated they were unable to work during this time of study, making it a financial pressure as well.

Toronto has become a leading city in web development bootcamps. Companies like, HackerYou, Bitmaker Labs, and Brainstation offer competitive programs at a reduced rate of tuition cost.

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Graduates of boot camps surveyed by Course Report had an average 44% boost in income after attending the boot camp. (The survey included 432 graduates from 48 programming schools.) Before attending the boot camp, 48% were employed full-time, and after attending the boot camp, 63% were employed full-time. Some coding bootcamps will offer job placements (internships and low level entry positions/apprenticeships on contractual basis) However, Bootcamps do not give education certification (diploma, degree etc.) as they are not YET government recognized institutions. But for the cost benefit of study and intensity of learning, Bootcamps will teach you the trade you need to learn.

Conclusion: If time and money are available, you are focused on the portfolio rather than the degree, and you are looking for current industry training, than this is the step for you.

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