Coding Bootcamp vs. Self-Taught - Which One Will Help You Learn Your New Skill

Whether you want to elevate your coding knowledge or start from scratch, you are probably banging your head over one thing. And it's which path to take and in what way to learn. That's why we will compare coding bootcamp vs self-taught and point out the pros and cons of both. Just remember that whichever path you choose, having a coding buddy can help you achieve your goals more quickly and efficiently and grow in tech in no time.

Know Your Budget and Time Limits

If you are completely new to coding, you might see self-taught coding as the more reasonable route, especially if you are already busy with your job so you believe that in the choice of coding bootcamp vs. self-study, the first would take a lot more of your time. If you are unemployed, you might not have thousands of dollars available to spend. However, you should also take into consideration the fact that a coding bootcamp might help you achieve your goals faster, with more focus, especially if you are a procrastinator. And in the end, it will be worth it if it means doubling or even tripling your current salary.

Does It Really Differ in Time and Money Spent?

Before you take both approaches into consideration, let's assume how these scenarios could play out. It would be in one of the following two ways:

  • If you have enough learning motivation on your own and you can set your goals straight, you can try self-study. After all, in the vast world of IT, it's not unheard of that self-taught coding can be highly successful - just like with Jan Koum and WhatsApp. You should be prepared to spare six months for learning (perhaps even less for collaborative online learning,) and one month for the job search, after which you can start making around $5,000 a month.

  • Bootcamp is perhaps the safer option for some because you get to the goal more quickly. Although you should spare less time than with self-study (around three months,) and the same amount of time on a job search (one month,) you should keep in mind that it will take you around $15,000 out-of-pocket and around four months of unemployment to achieve the salary of around $5,000.

However, both these approaches are much more efficient if you decide to learn programming online with a partner because it could give you much-needed motivation to learn and hold you accountable for all work and progress you're making.

Get a Good Grip on Your Learning Style

If you are self-disciplined, have a great focus and grip on learning and motivation, and can hold yourself accountable without any greater issues, you might be the perfect candidate for self-learning. However, before you make the ultimate decision, you should assess yourself with honesty, because the levels of self-discipline (and motivation for learning) you should possess should be extraordinary. Also, one more thing to take into consideration and avoid a faulty perception of your learning skills - how did your past attempts at self-teaching go? If you were able to meet your goals with ease, there is no doubt you can choose self-study.

However, most people are more relaxed when they invest in a program such as a coding bootcamp, and they don't even consider deciding between self taught vs. coding bootcamp, but instead opt for the latter without thinking twice. Both these options have their own setbacks and advantages, but our advice with either route would be to learn coding with a partner, because collaborative learning pairs you up with an experienced accountability partner.

Set Your Learning Goals

If you are starting from scratch, it can be overwhelming. But even if you're not new to the world of coding, the questions are - how to teach yourself the things you don't know, where to start, and how not to get distracted with too much information? That's why setting learning goals is incredibly important when learning to code.

Why It’s Important to Have a Clearly Set Goal

Firstly, when you set your goal from the beginning, it will help you stay focused, motivated, and on track. Learning to code can be quite a complex and challenging process, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and skills you need to embrace. By setting clear goals for yourself, you can break the learning process down into manageable steps and make continuous progress.

Secondly, it will make it easier for you to measure your progress and the success of your learning venture, and to prioritize with ease. This helps you separate the things you shouldn't be focusing on right now from the ones that are mandatory to achieve the set goal.

Finally, setting clear goals can help you build a strong foundation for your future learning. This way, you will be able to develop important skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and self-discipline. These skills will always be valuable not just for learning to code but for any future learning or career development you undertake.

Coding Bootcamp vs. Self-Taught Pros and Cons

Both options have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right path depends on your personal goals, learning style, and financial situation. But first, let’s compare the pros of each studying route.

Self-learning pros

  • You can learn from free resources found online, which are great for beginners
  • Self-studying can help you realize whether you enjoy coding or not
  • When you decide to learn on your own, you can freely learn remotely, and find support on forums and elsewhere online
  • Self-study is important when you want to be up-to-date in the tech industry

Coding bootcamp pros

  • You can get support from another perspective because you will be working with tutors
  • Bootcamps simulate work surroundings so you will get to see how it is to work in teams as a developer
  • You will get better opportunities for employment once you leave the bootcamp
  • Bootcamps can help you set the right goals and reach them much quicker

The Cons of Both Routes

When it comes to self-study, even if it seems like the perfect solution for you, you should keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, staying motivated to work hard and stay on track might be difficult. After all, when you start coding, it's an everyday task that you shouldn't skip for any reason. Also, if you don't join buddy programming, you are on your own, and there's no one else to keep track of and hold you accountable for your goals. Getting a job can prove to be more challenging than when you've learned to code in a boot camp, and learning on your own doesn't prepare you for what being a developer truly means - working in teams or in a pair, understanding the system architecture or best practices.

When we're talking about the cons of coding bootcamps, the first thing that comes to mind is the fact that most require students to come in person every day in order to attend courses. But perhaps the biggest obstacle for many that take the self-learning path is the cost. Although they are significantly more affordable than attending a university, they still cost a significant chunk of money. And finally, not all bootcamps are the same, and that's why you should enter one carefully and do the proper research beforehand.

Online Collaborative Learning Tools Can Help With Both

The decision to pursue a coding education through a bootcamp or self-teaching depends on personal preferences and learning style. Bootcamps offer a structured curriculum, hands-on experience, and the opportunity to network with industry professionals, but they can be expensive and may not fit everyone's schedule. Self-taught coding offers the flexibility of learning on your own time, at your own pace, and for free or at a low cost, but it requires self-motivation and discipline.

Regardless of the path chosen, entering buddy programming can be a valuable asset in both scenarios. Collaborative learning involves two people working together on the same coding project, helping each other solve problems, and exchanging knowledge and ideas. This can enhance the learning experience, provide support and motivation, and improve overall skills, whether you're a beginner or you're looking to advance your knowledge.

Image credits to:

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels
Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels