The explosion in SMAC technologies (social, mobile, analytic, and cloud) in recent years has created unprecedented opportunities for those who can code. Indeed, programmers are the gatekeepers who are on the frontlines of the most momentous technological transformation in our history. Those who can code the mobile apps, the games, or the automation software of our digital world will demand the best jobs and garner the biggest promotions.
There are no lack of opportunities in software programming and development, and more and more folks are jumping on the bandwagon – either refreshing previous skills or changing careers and learning code from scratch. There have never been more channels available for learning code online than present.
Let’s walk through some of the most popular outlets currently available for learning code online.
Another option for learning code is through any one of a number of MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Course platforms, which have sprung up in the last few years. Udacity is one of the earliest and best known examples of this new educational disruptive space. One of Udacity’s signature courses is Intro to Computer Science, which since its inception in 2012 has introduced over 400,000 students worldwide to Python. The course links theory with practice by having students build an actual search engine using Python; the course was recently revised to also include the addition of a social network component. In addition to Python, Udacity offers a number of computer science and programming related classes.
While Udacity started with free courses, it has shifted to charging a modest fee for a verified certification process on all of its courses. The courses range in price from $150-200 per month depending on level of difficulty. Udacity’s newest innovation is the Nanodegree, which are project-based certificate programs that can be completed in 6-12 months for a fraction of the cost of a 4 year degree, a mere $200/month. They are currently offered in 6 areas: Introduction to Programming, Front-End Web Developer, Full Stack Web Developer, Data Analyst, iOS Developer. Udacity, in partnership with Google, also just recently added its exciting new Android Developer course with the deal that students get 50% of their tuition back upon graduation.
As a result of breakthroughs in HTML5 technologies and video and audio online capabilities, there have been a flurry of online code bootcamps. One of the best online coding bootcamps out there is Bloc . Through Bloc you can choose one of five tracks: UX Design, iOS Development, Front-end Web Development, Android Development, Rails Web Development, or Full Stack Development (big focus on Ruby on Rails). The price is $4999 but it seems to be worth it in relation to the course content, mentorship, and guidance that students get. Bloc works on an “apprenticeship” model which means you focus your time on doing projects and then culminate in a “capstone.” Bloc also affords lots of flexibility for completing the courses; you can go with 12 weeks, 18 weeks, or 36 week sprints – depending on how much time you can invest each week. Mentors are assigned to each student and are available each week for guidance and Q&A.
Tealeaf Academy is a highly regarded professional online coding bootcamp, but is distinct in that it focuses on Ruby on Rails. The curriculum centers on 3 main courses that are 4 + 4 + 8 weeks and $475 + $610 + $1485 – so the pricing option is cheaper than Bloc. The first 4 week course is called “Intro to Ruby and Web Development,” the second 4 week course is “Rapid Prototyping and Ruby on Rails,” and the last 8 week course is “Build Robust and Production Quality Applications.” Instead of doing multiple projects and a final capstone, Tealeaf students focus on one major project in each of the 3 courses. And instead of mentors, Tealeaf employs a global corp of teaching assistants that are available to answer questions at any time.
Thinkful is another online coding bootcamp that gets a lot of attention. It offers a wide range of development courses including Front-End, iOS, Android, Python, Rails, Angular, Backend in Node.js, and more. These courses run at your own pace but generally can be completed in 2-3 months if you study 10-15 hours per week. Prices are $300-500/month and you pay only for the months you need. Students should plan to invest 10-15 hours a week for working on the assignments and portfolio-building projects. The tradeoff is that they’re supported along the way with a dedicated mentorship model through weekly video sessions, daily class office hours, and an interactive online community.