/ FireUpMarch2017

Self-teaching || Coding Bootcamp

In 2016 I decided to learn how to code and make a career out of it. Unfortunately, I am a business graduate with no prior knowledge of programming; so I had to start from scratch.

And after a long week of research of all the different programming languages and tracks out there I decided to go with Web Development!

A few days later I started studying, I studied for 4 straight months from different resources and then I enrolled in Al-Makinah, the first full-stack development bootcamp in Egypt. It’s been 9 weeks since I joined (3 weeks to go). Over these weeks, I have learned more than I could have ever imagined… I have met people I would have never met and honestly if I was ever to choose a family to be a part of I don’t think I would’ve been that lucky. Having tried them both, studying on my own and joining a bootcamp, I would like to share my experience and highlight the main differences between both.

1- Curriculum
Self-study: when it comes to self-teaching, finding a comprehensive learning plan can be challenging, you have to spend a great deal of time researching and customizing a plan that suits you.

Bootcamp: On the other hand, bootcamp curriculum is very structured, up-to-date and it allows you to learn immediately. Plus it includes all the technologies you need to learn.

First tip: If you decide to learn on your own, do your research first, make a solid plan and stick to it until you’re confident/ good enough to land a job.
2- Time
Self-study: Time is a very important factor when deciding between teaching yourself and attending a bootcamp, I have wasted a lot of time trying different online courses until I found a website that offers a decent curriculum I could follow, even after that — the amount of information to digest was tremendous, I thought I could finish the whole curriculum in 3–4 months but I was wrong, after 4 months I was only halfway through it, but that’s just me — it differs from one person to another.

Bootcamp: Coding bootcamps usually take 12 weeks to get you market-ready with the tools, technologies and mind-set needed to become a decent software developer, that’s considered a short period of time compared to self-studying.

Second tip: In order to save some time, find someone who has experience to guide you in the right direction and apply everything you read/watch while learning — otherwise you will revisit the same part over and over again.
3- Support
Self-study: When you are on your own there’s no one to support you in your everyday journey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own, you also have other options — google of course and joining an online community.

Bootcamp: Unlike being on your own, bootcamps provide support in many different ways — everything from instruction and mentorship in the classroom to remote support, plus you are always surrounded by experienced instructors and like-minded students who are always willing to help.

Third tip: Whether you learn how to code on your own or in a bootcamp, you must learn how to google things the right way, googling is a very important skill for your career as a programmer. Check this quora discussion about how to master the art of googling as a programmer.

4- Practicing
Self-study: I spent most of the time watching videos and reading books/articles, but when it came to actually writing a code or solving a problem — I opened my text editor and didn’t know what to write or where to start because I haven’t practiced enough.

Bootcamp: In a bootcamp you learn by practice — I spent hours everyday solving different problems and exercises, even on weekends they encourage us to solve more problems and that’s what makes you special.

Fourth tip: If you wanna be good at coding, you should code every single day, practice whenever you have time, think of anything you wanna turn into code and start building it.

In the end it’s your choice to make whether you want to self-study or to join a bootcamp but from my perspective and personal experience I would choose joining a bootcamp everyday and twice on sunday.

The is re-post of the original blog post by one of our FireUp March 2017 Graduates, Yousef Sobhy Original post