Code me like one of your french girls
For many, learning code can be the key to starting a new career and opening up a large, diverse group of employment options based on the programming language learned. Whether learning to develop websites or video games, the fast pace of development is also a natural boredom repellant! Above all, many people value the freedom and autonomy that working as a developer can offer, with some developers eventually deciding to start their own consulting businesses to have full control over what projects they choose to work on.
Even if you don’t plan to code professionally, it can still be a great skill to learn. Many people who attend coding workshops are employed in fields like design and marketing, and are constantly working with engineers and programmers. One of the biggest motivators for these students is that learning to code could help them start to bridge the communication gap between them and their colleagues, which is invaluable in the workplace.
Beyond the workplace, becoming “tech literate” helps one acquire a deeper understanding of the social and political issues currently surrounding technology. As artificial intelligence becomes more and more influential in our society through things like the automation of manual work, a basic understanding of technology can help you differentiate between facts and fear-mongering in discussions.
It might also come as a surprise that the lessons learned from coding aren’t limited to the world of technology. Coding can be an excellent way to teach problem-solving skills, especially for children and teenagers. “Computational thinking”, as it’s known, is beginning to be introduced in the K-12 curriculum in British Columbia. By integrating step-by-step problem solving exercises in subjects such as Math and Social Studies, the goal is to teach children to be able to rationally dissect and analyze problems in all sorts of fields.
For adults, there are plenty of options for learning to code depending on your goals and learning style. If you’re looking to dip your toes into coding, a good place to start would be to take a single-day workshop! For people who are seriously aiming to make a career change and are willing to invest a bit of time, money and effort, the best course of action would be to enroll in a bootcamp like Lighthouse Labs or CodeCore.
Not all workshops and bootcamps are created equal, however. With so many people interested in shifting their careers into coding, the tech bootcamp industry has become ridiculously lucrative. While most of the options out there are run competently, there is still a chance of running into subpar workshops and courses run by organizations looking for easy money. It can be difficult to tell apart the good from the bad, but here are a couple steps to take make it easier to find the right ones:
1. Research the instructors to see if they have substantial experience in the field, and to see if they have a history of teaching. Some early concepts can be pretty tricky to learn, so it’s important to have a patient instructor who can walk through any gotchas.
2. Check up on the alumni of the programs to see what kind of work they ended up
being involved in. Some bootcamps boast impressively high employment rates post-graduation, which is great indicator for your chances of success. However, some bootcamps have bad reputations for churning out a high number of less-than-stellar developers, leading tech companies to purposefully avoid hiring their graduates.
3. Go through the curriculum with a tech-savvy friend to see if the material is up to date and relevant to your interests, as it’s not always obvious whether learning a specific programming language is going to be beneficial. In addition to that, some courses are too rigid in their structure and might not give their students a good general understanding of programming concepts, which can leave students stunted when they enter the field.
Once you pick up the basics, the possibilities with coding are endless!
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