Learning Code: In Person Versus Online

April 10th, 2019

Lauren Mabra

Marketing Outreach Coordinator @ Suncoast Developers Guild

Congrats on your interest in wanting to learn code and get your web development career rolling! Now, you’re most likely doing your research to help decide whether to attend code school in person or solely online. We’ll help uncover the pros and cons on either side so that you can make the best decision, most informed decision in this next chapter of your life.

Motivation and Self Discipline

You will need plenty of self-motivation and discipline whether you’re learning how to code in person or online. However, the online route highly demands that you push yourself. If you don’t then who will? You can collaborate with others online or those who are taking the same online code course, but nobody is going to make you power on your computer and do the work. Learning to code online is you and you alone at the end of the day.

On the other hand, in-person courses allow you to be among like-minded individuals who are going through similar challenges as you. Diving into your coding career is going to be one of the most challenging things you will ever do in your life. You will hit walls and get stuck which is when it’s most important to have peers and instructors who you can ask questions and lean on for support. We aren’t saying that it’s impossible to do on your own using online courses and resources. It’s just important to set yourself up to succeed and have a plan for when roadblocks occur.

Goals

Think about what you’re wanting to get out of learning web development. Where do you envision yourself in the long run? Are you wanting to learn so that you can make a career change? Or are you wanting to learn the basics just for fun? Your goals are a huge factor in making the decision between online and in-person. If you’re wanting to learn enough to change careers, in-person classes will best fit you to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible. For example, our full-time curriculum is entirely immersive and offers career support for both current students and alumni that will make help with the job search from to start to end until they’re placed.

If you’re just wanting to learn the basics or brush up on pre-existing skills, learning online might benefit you. Learning code “online” could mean two things: through an online code school/bootcamp or through resources. We recommend checking out Udemy and Codeacademy. Learning from resources lets you learn at your own speed, but it doesn’t exactly let you know if you’re learning. Depending on your experience, resources may be just what you need to get you to your goals. They are great for those who already have some experience because although resources can be great learning material, you have to know what information you’re looking for.

Cost

Possibly the most attractive thing to you about learning online is the low cost compared to in-person schools. There are plenty of online code schools and resources out there that all differ in quality, but lack the structure and benefits that in-person classes offer. The learning shouldn’t stop at the hard, technical skills. A good program will focus on preparing students to enter the workforce. At SDG, the support and education extend into soft skills, such as stress management, resume building, and managing your health, so that you will be set up to succeed in the workplace.

Environment

We call our full-time, in-person program “immersive” for a reason. In order to learn how to be a developer quickly and efficiently, it’s best to be deeply engaged in what you’re learning. During our full-time program, students are immersed for three months. Those three months involve being on campus in person, every weekday for eight hours. Most people stay motivated best when they’re surrounded by others who they can relate and collaborate with them. Students often bond with classmates and form a support system.

Summary

Learning online

  • Typically lower in cost
  • Lack of structure
  • Demands high self-motivation and discipline for success
  • It can take much longer
  • Allows you to work at your own pace from anywhere

Learning in person

  • Clear expectations and structure
  • Typically higher in cost
  • New connections and collaboration with fellow classmates
  • Support from instructors and staff
  • Efficient for career shifters
  • Lacks flexibility (in hours and location)
  • Offers experience and support that will prep you for the workforce

Regardless of which course you choose, this is the beginning of your journey to crafting a skillset that you are passionate about. Take a test run with part time or dive right into full time.