How to Train as a Software Developer

Choosing a software developer learning path

After exploring the three primary pathways to becoming a software developer – traditional Computer Science degrees, bootcamps and online courses, and DIY learning – you may be wondering which path is right for you. When considering which route to take on your coding journey, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Your goals: Consider what you ultimately want to achieve in your software development career. Are you aiming for a specific job or industry? Do you want to focus on a particular technology or skill set? Your end goals will help determine which path is most suitable for you.
  • Time commitment: Think about how much time you can realistically dedicate to learning. A traditional Computer Science degree typically takes 3-4 years to complete, while bootcamps and online courses can range from a few weeks to several months. DIY learning allows you to set your own pace, but may require more self-discipline and motivation.
  • Financial investment: Consider your budget and the costs associated with each option. Traditional degrees tend to be the most expensive, while bootcamps and online courses can vary widely in cost. DIY learning is often the most affordable, with many free or low-cost resources available.
  • Learning style: Reflect on your preferred learning style and which environment is most conducive to your success. Are you more comfortable in a structured classroom setting, or do you thrive in a self-directed, independent learning environment?

A Questionnaire to Help Find the Right Path for You

After reading all of the above info you might immediately know which option is the best for you. If not, here is a (very basic) questionnaire to help you to find the right path. There’s nothing groundbreaking here but these questions might spur some thinking which could help you to make your decision.

Answer the following questions. Assign a point value to each answer, as indicated in parentheses, and tally your points at the end to determine your recommended path.

How do you prefer to learn new skills or concepts?

a. In a structured, classroom environment with a set curriculum and guidance from instructors (1)
b. Through a combination of guided instruction and hands-on, project-based learning (2)
c. Independently, at my own pace, and with the flexibility to explore topics that interest me (3)

How much time can you commit to learning software development?

a. I can dedicate several years to a full-time degree program (1)
b. I’m willing to commit several weeks or months to an intensive course or bootcamp (2)
c. I’d like to learn at my own pace, working around my existing schedule and commitments (3)

What is your budget for learning software development?

a. I can afford the cost of a traditional degree program or am willing to take out student loans (1)
b. I have some funds available for a more affordable bootcamp or online course (2)
c. I’m looking for low-cost or free resources to minimize my financial investment (3)

What level of support and guidance do you feel you need to succeed in learning software development?

a. I prefer a high level of support, with access to instructors, tutors, and classmates (1)
b. I’d like some guidance, but also value the opportunity to learn independently (2)
c. I’m comfortable learning on my own and seeking out resources and support as needed (3)

Tally your points, and refer to the recommendations below:

If your total score is between 4-6: A traditional Computer Science degree may be the best fit for your learning style, goals, and preferences.

If your total score is between 7-9: A coding bootcamp or online course might be the ideal option for you, offering a balance between structure and flexibility, along with a more focused time commitment.

If your total score is between 10-12: DIY learning could be the perfect path for you, allowing you to learn at your own pace, customize your education, and minimize your financial investment.

Of course, these recommendations are not definitive, and it’s essential to consider your unique circumstances and preferences when making your decision. You may also find that a hybrid approach, combining elements of each pathway, works best for you.

Choosing the right path for your coding journey is a crucial step in setting yourself up for success in the software development world. By carefully considering your goals, time commitment, financial investment, and learning style, you can make an informed decision and embark on the journey that’s best suited to your needs and aspirations. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to learning software development – the key is to find the path that aligns with your unique strengths and goals, and then commit to it wholeheartedly.