Because coding is such an in-demand skill, many people are keen to pick it up. But can you learn this valuable skill on your own? According to the 2019 Stack Overflow Developer Report, almost 90% of developers have taught themselves a new language, framework or tool outside their formal education. 25-year-old Talitha Kruger, based in Kempton Park, attempted this strategy as well. She says:
I tried to teach myself front-end web development through various online resources, but I wasn’t making the progress I wanted.
She decided instead to enrol on a part-time Full Stack Web Developer Bootcamp, which she’s doing online with HyperionDev.
Web development is not her first career. Many people start working in one field only to find themselves changing careers to something completely different – for example, from restaurant owner to doctor, or from marketing specialist to web developer. So too with Talitha who has tried a number of different careers. She says:
I have a background in aviation. I worked for Mango Airline, rotating between Check-in, Cabin Crew and Call Center departments. I was then recruited by Qatar Airways, but I became homesick. When I returned to South Africa, I started working as an au-pair, which is what I am currently doing.
Talitha is motivated to embark on her career change for two reasons. Firstly, she wants to earn a better salary and secondly, she’s keen to do stimulating and meaningful work, potentially at a non-government organisation or in her community. But currently, Talitha is really enjoying her web development course. Here’s what she says:
There’s nothing better than proving myself wrong – I look at something that seems beyond me and then I find a way of working it out. I love it when my code works! I also really like that idea that programming is only becoming more powerful, in the sense that it can be used to make people feel and think and ultimately change their lives through their user experiences.
Talitha recommends taking a bootcamp to acquire “industry-ready knowledge and know-how”. However, if you’re considering whether to study coding on your own or via an online course, consider the following five questions, via Course Report:
- Do you have prior coding experience? Those with a computer science background or a knowledge of programming will find it easier to fly solo and teach themselves another language. If your knowledge is fairly minimal, you’ll learn quicker with a coding bootcamp.
- Will you be able to set up your own curriculum? If you don’t have a mentor, you’ll need to decide what you should and shouldn’t be learning. This can be tricky for new learners in coding.
- What is your learning style? In the past when you’ve given yourself a project or a self-study, have you finished and stayed motivated? MOOCs (or “massive online open courses”) tend to have less than a 15% completion rate.
- What are your time and commitment pressures? The chances are that it will take you longer if you’re doing it by yourself. It’s a matter of calculating how much it will cost you (e.g. lost salary) to take longer to qualify.
- Is a network of fellow programmers important to you? Do you have a group of people you can consult for basic support and future job opportunities? If not, a mentor-guided online experience will help set you up with your fellow classmates who will be of use to you in your coding career.
If you’re keen to learn coding via a course, HyperionDev offers online bootcamps in Full Stack Web Development, Data Science or Software Engineering. You can also trial one of these courses for free. If online learning is not your thing, you could join a face-to-face Web Developer or Software Engineering course in Cape Town or Johannesburg. Courses are offered on a part-time or full-time basis. Start your career change today.