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Is It Worth Learning to Code in 2020?

By Andrew Foronda

Photo by Christina Morillo

“Should I learn how to code?”

It’s a question many are asking themselves in 2020.

Some want to learn code in order to transition into different, potentially lucrative career paths.

Others want to learn code in order to work on personal projects.

Some folks just think it could be fun to learn code or that the skill might come in handy one day.

But no matter which category you’re in, is it worth it?

If so, how should you go about it?

After all, learning code isn’t easy.

If you’re someone that’s busy already, you may wonder if the time spent learning is going to have the impact you’d like it to.

So let’s talk about it.

Photo by ThisIsEngineering

Learning to Code in Order to Advance Career Prospects.

If you have no experience and you want to launch a career as a developer, you have a few options for learning:

  1. Enroll in college and get a computer science degree.
  2. Join a coding bootcamp.
  3. Learn through the various free resources available on the internet.

For many, getting a 4-year degree isn’t really an option.

That’s why bootcamps are a great alternative for a formal coding education without the hassle of enrolling in a university.

One option is Lambda School. They offer 6 month full-time or 12 month part-time programs aimed at preparing you for a career in Data Science or Full Stack Web Development.

They also offer flexible payment options. You can either pay $30K upfront, or you can spare 17% of your salary for two years upon landing a job in your field.

But is the $30K tuition cost worth it?

The data points to yes. According to salary.com, a Full Stack Developer in the United States earns between $81,210 to $107,541. Not bad for only a year of schooling.

Image by Olenka Sergienko

Lambda School Isn’t the Only Option for Coders.

There’s also local coding bootcamps like the one offered by the University of Pennsylvania. They offer a 12-week full time program or a 24-week part time program.

According to their website you can:

Learn through a rigorous curriculum that covers a full stack: HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, Express.js, React.js, Node.js, progressive web apps, agile methodology, computer science, database theory, MongoDB, MySQL, Git, and more.

You’ll also get access to Penn’s comprehensive career services in order to prepare for interviews and create a star resume.

Photo by Prateek Katyal

Learning to Code for Free on the Internet.

It may be less glamorous, but it’s still effective. Many coders learned by taking advantage of online resources, and saved a lot of money while doing it.

Doing a Google search will net you dozens of resources for learning to code online.

One resource I discovered is the Odin Project. It’s a free and full stack curriculum sourced entirely from the internet. Start with their foundations course and move into a Full Stack Ruby or Javascript curriculum.

Alternatively, you can start out with free online courses provided by universities, like Harvard. You can take their Introduction to Computer Science course here.

There are dozens of options for learning to code free on the internet. The key is just getting started.

Now for the million dollar question.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Is It Worth Learning Code in order to Advance Career Prospects?

Absolutely.

Particularly if you become passionate about coding, and are willing to continuously improve your skill set. After all, technology is always changing. There’s always something to learn if you seek to keep your skills up to date with emerging trends.

Landing your first coding job might not be a walk in the park. You may have to experiment with gig work or personal projects until you find the right opportunity.

The good news is you have an in demand skill set that is valuable to many employers.

Photo by Mohi Syed

Is It Worth Learning to Code if You Just Want To Build Something?

The answer is… maybe. The gig economy is alive and well. You can easily hire a developer for your pet project on freelance sites like Upwork or Fiverr.

The cost doesn’t have to be grand either. There is coding talent overseas that can be hired for a lot cheaper than talent in the United States. The quality of work is often as good.

If you’re looking to get something built for free, learning to code is a great option. Especially if you have the time to spare.

Photo by Pixabay

Coding for Fun.

If you’re just interested in learning to code out of curiosity and the need for a hobby, then go for it!

Coding isn’t all about nodes and semicolons. It’s about problem solving and thinking in first principles. Learning to code is a great way to keep your mental muscles sharp.

Even if you don’t pursue a job as a programmer, your coding skills can be put to use in your daily life as is.

Work in Excel everyday? Learning a bit of Python can help you write scripts to speed up your workflow. Have an idea for a cool app, but don’t want to hire someone to build it out just yet? Go ahead and create a working prototype to see if the idea is even worth pursuing.

Coding is one of the few mediums where your imagination is truly the limit.

Andrew Foronda is 24-year-old freelance writer from Philadelphia. He loves reading science fiction, hiking, and eating sushi. He also enjoys discovering new trends in business, technology, and space travel. Andrew started his writing career shortly after leaving college, when he discovered that you didn’t need to be an author to become a career writer. He hopes to continue writing for a long time about topics that he finds interesting. His favorite book of all time is Dune by Frank Herbert. If he had one word to describe himself it would be “chill.”

Get in touch with Andrew: Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, website.

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