Should I learn programming on my own or pay for a course

If you want to see more content follow me on Twitter

This is the most common question that every beginner asks, and I decided to write about it. Some will suggest to not pay for a course because it’s a waste of money, while some will suggest a course that they attend. But I have the right answer for you in hope that you don’t make a mistake by choosing the wrong solution. Whether you want to go to a course or on your own, both sides have its pros and cons. Depending on what type of person you are you will be able to pick the right one.

There are two types of people, those who can learn on their own and those who need a support from a teacher. Now let’s talk about pros and cons.

Learning on your own

This is the type of learning that I personally prefer, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you too. If you are a type of a person who is very motivated to work on its own, understands discipline and is willing to give it all, then this is the best choice for you. As it may sound great, but this has its flaws. You will never have feedback on the code you write and you might learn bad programming practices. You can still post on forums, but you can risk getting a wrong answer, not getting an answer at all or get an answer too late. Most online tutorials will not teach you practices that are used in the real industry because these tutorials are aimed at beginners, but the advanced material is harder to find. Not knowing practices can prevent you from getting your dream job. In general, the good thing about self-learning is that you can save money.

You might give up too early if you don’t see progress. This is the most common issue with self-learners, they will give up after a short period of time because there is nobody to applaud on their progress.

Might end up with the wrong project, start working on something that you don’t like and then get a burnout. Burnouts are very common in this industry and it may cost you the time you spent on learning.

You will spend most of your time alone and risk of being less social. This maybe doesn’t look like a real issue, but not socializing with other humans can lower your self-esteem and confidence. Of course, this is not always the case, but there is a risk and you should reconsider this

PROS

  • Save money
  • Study when you want
  • Study as much as you like
  • Study exactly what you want

Cons

  • Bad code practices
  • No feedback
  • Less social
  • Burnout
  • No support
  • Requires strong mindset to keep going

Paying to learn

Although I am self-taught, I always tell beginners to consider going to a camp (or similar). Indeed you will spend your money, but also you will learn and inherent good programming practices. Consider this as an investment and not as a waste of money, because money invested in things that can bring you more money is never a waste. There are going to be teachers around you and you can ask them any questions about issues that you encounter. On average a person that attends Bootcamp learns faster. Of course, there are people who can learn faster on their own, but on average a person with camp experience learns faster.

In boot camps or courses you will be more social. You will build connections, build confidence and your chance to get a job is much higher. After leaving boot camp you will have an already built portfolio, which enables you to get a job faster.

Pros

  • Good code practices
  • Communication
  • Feedback from industry professionals
  • Working on real stuff
  • More social
  • Connections
  • Easier to get a job

Cons

  • Spend money
  • Risk of bad teachers (yes this can happen too)
  •  Pressure
  • Hard to get out, if you don’t like it
  • Risk of toxic and unsupportive group
  • Traveling
  • Extra costs (food, traveling, group hangouts etc)

Conclusion

None of the solutions is the best, it’s up to you what to choose. These are some general rules, but this does not apply to every person. This is the experience from my personal experience that I decided to share if you have your own experience that you’d love to share, leave it in a comment.

Darko Tomić on EmailDarko Tomić on FacebookDarko Tomić on InstagramDarko Tomić on LinkedinDarko Tomić on Twitter
Darko Tomić
Freelance Game Developer and Content Writer at TOMICZ
Darko Tomić is a content writer at www.tomicz.com who works as a software and game developer. An entrepreneur by profession, a gamer in a heart. Loves to write about IT development and helping developers with their issues.
Besides his knowledge in IT area, he loves to write content about philosophy for developers because if a person wants to become a great developer, also has to be a great person.