February 12, 2018
In an environment customized for learning, the classroom setting enforces subtle influences conducive to success. Having face-to-face interactions with instructors and fellow students inspires accountability and promotes responsible academic behavior. A relationship of expectations forms between participants, creating healthy pressure to complete lessons on time and strive for academic success. Working alongside peers, you get healthy competition and the opportunity for collaboration and camaraderie. Having to follow a schedule that requires you to be in class at a specific time promotes productive learning habits. Without the accountability that mandatory attendance, project deadlines, and student-teacher relationships enforce, learning to code on your own volition can be a struggle, and well-intended study habits can fall prey to procrastination.
When learning to code online, you might breeze through lessons with little trouble. You follow the instructions, work through the problems, and if you run into a snag, look up a YouTube tutorial. No problem. But there may be times when you can’t figure out what is causing your code to malfunction, preventing you from moving forward. There might not be a tutorial that addresses your specific issue and you end up hitting a wall. If your online class has an instructor or other students available for help, contacting them can take time, and trying to fix your code across the Internet comes with its own suite of challenges. When learning in a classroom setting, there are instructors presenting step-by-step lessons to you through lecture. You get to practice the material through guided lessons or projects, and if you get stuck, you can receive help without having to communicate across many miles or time zones. If your fellow peers are tied up, you can turn to your instructor to help you work through problems and find creative solutions.
When learning in-person at a coding bootcamp, you’re engaging with a community full of like-minded individuals to collaborate with, share ideas, and work through problems together. Taking a coding class with other students allows for a more dynamic curriculum through the implementation of group projects, peer reviews, and team activities. This means more opportunities for you to learn skills found in actual career environments. With online coding courses, you might not have the luxury of peer engagement. Sure you might be great at coding, but are you able to work well on a team? Do you even know how to work on a team? When learning to code online, you risk missing opportunities to build team skills that employers seek, such as:
There’s a lot you need to learn to consider yourself hirable. You do some research, figure out what online coding courses to take, and dive in. But are you sure you’re focusing on the right set of skills? How would you even know? By joining an in-person coding bootcamp, you are being led by professionals who have the experience to back up why you’re learning what you’re learning.Of course, it is possible to figure out which skills would be the most beneficial to learn on your own, but you risk being left without a complete understanding of how the material connects to the bigger picture. Much like learning a new instrument, you can pick up a guitar and try to teach yourself how to use it, but having an instructor to show you relevant scales, strumming patterns, proper technique, and how it all ties together with the rest of the orchestra will allow you to play better with the band.
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