Is it better to teach yourself how to code, or to get a formal education? While there is no definitive answer to this question, it is still important to compare both options in order to gain a clear perspective on which would work better for you.
Flexibility and Convenience
Along with the flexibility of learning on your own comes a lot of convenience. The self-taught approach can be more convenient than a formal education because you can create and follow your own schedule. You can read books or articles and watch video tutorials whenever and wherever you want.
Self-study does not require tuition. One of the top reasons why a lot of people choose to learn on their own is that it is cheaper than formal training, if not free. There are a variety of free online resources uploaded daily that students can take advantage of.
Being self-taught forces you to be disciplined. Without classes to attend and an instructor to guide you, you have to be resourceful and learn everything on your own. You need to learn to focus and develop self-control to avoid distractions.
Certifications and/or degrees are a valuable part of your résumé. Certifications legitimize your skill set. This can help to build-up your resume and set you apart from other candidates who may not have the certifications, or who may need a bit of additional training once hired.
While learning on your own can certainly be convenient and flexible, a formal education will provide much-needed structure. You would have a mentor who would give you assignments, impose deadlines, and ensure that you do the work instead of deciding that you can watch one more episode of your favorite TV series.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone you can ask whenever you have a question, instead of scouring forums all night long trying to find someone who is able to explain your issue? It would be so helpful if there’s someone who can guide you, help you with your progress, and provide you with feedback.
Essential Information and Skills
With the overwhelming amount of coding and programming information available, it’s very hard for the average person to have time to sift through all this information for what is most valid, accurate and up to date. Formal training comes with a solid curriculum that will help you learn the essential information and skills you need.
You have the chance to get hands-on learning. Instead of spending hours watching video tutorials of other people, hands-on learning will allow you to try out what you are learning as you go.
Attending a class, seminar or training session is one the best ways to meet new people and gain connections. Not only will you get to meet and interact with other attendees who have the same interests and passions, but you will also have the chance to expand your network in this industry.
Job search assistance and career guidance
Most schools provide career development and job search assistance to their graduates, and this is one of the best benefits you could reap from a formal education. Instead of you doing your entire job search alone, a good school should be able to give you the guidance and support you need in finding the right job.
Choosing between becoming a self-taught programmer and pursuing formal training depends on your preference and circumstances. But whatever you choose, be sure that you are eager, patient and passionate about learning and willing to take every opportunity to practice what you learn.