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Brenda Lim贸n
Brenda Lim贸n

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Code camp or self-learning

I recently started learning programming, HTML, CSS, JS, using websites and online courses, it's okay, but I feel that I need more consistency, as I can watch only one class per month and nothing happen.

A friend suggest me a code camp, but without a scholarship it's expensive, and there's a lot of startups and companies with different programs, so I need your advice, how did you learn to code? have you ever went to a code camp? was it really useful? what sites did you use for your online learning? what code camps?

Thanks guys!
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Top comments (13)

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I was self taught (with some previous programming classes, so I wasn鈥檛 starting fresh.)

I didn鈥檛 have much money at the time so I pirated videos.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I think self-teaching is a fine way to go. Just remember you鈥檙e never going to feel all that ready to go get a job, so don鈥檛 put off trying that route for too long. I know some self-taught folks who never think themselves ready.

brendalimon profile image
Brenda Lim贸n

Your advices are always awesome Ben. The only obstacle we have is ourself, I started with a couple of courses now and with the community help I'm sure I'll be in the game very soon.

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whoisryosuke profile image

I'm a huge fan of self-taught if you're capable of the discipline it takes.

I've been self-taught since I was 10-11. The best way to do it is to find what way you learn the fastest. Sometimes it's following tutorials and guides, sometimes it's copying other people's projects and deconstructing them.

I learned the basics using resources like FunkyHTMLChicken and W3Schools. I refined my skills by reading blogs of professionals in the industry (like Zeldman and A List Apart, or Coyier and CSS Tricks). It takes the foundation you learn and refines it, since places like W3Schools don't teach you best practice -- they just get your head around the concepts. It'll take a while to refine (in a way, you'll never stop...), but as long as you keep working to improve your code, you'll be fine - no one knows everything at one point in time.

I also suggest videos. I'm a huge fan of video courses. Laracasts helped me pick up some Laravel concepts, as well as other people on YouTube.

FreeCodeCamp has some great courses and videos if you're looking for a free learning platform. I think you even get a degree/certificate at the end of each course. Other site's like work well too, even if you just stick to their free courses.

avikaminetzky profile image
Avi Kaminetzky • Edited

I taught myself using a combination of books, in-browser coding tutorials, like,,, Coursera. Books had the highest return-on-investment.

It definitely takes a lot of discipline. Here are a few points to consider:

1) Learn how to filter the abundance of resources for a) quality, and b) what is most compatible with your learning style.
2) Stick to one or two resources at any given time. It's very tempting to jump from language to language, or from tutorial to tutorial.
3) Create a clear roadmap of which skills you want to cover. or any bootcamp syllabus is a place to start. A while back when I was learning, bootcamps were teaching Ruby on Rails and ReactJS (it seems they still are), so I focused on those technologies.
4) Force yourself to break out of the comfort of tutorials and actually build something. Eg, half the time work on coding challenges, the other half work on a program with those skills. It don't need to be anything fancy, but something that solves some theoretical problem.
5) Find an active, beginner friendly chat room or post on StackOverflow. Nothing will replace getting realtime feedback when stuck on a knotty problem.

stacy profile image
Stacy Montemayor

If you haven't already, take a looks at Ada's Developer Academy in Seattle. I've heard nothing but super positive things about the program - there's no cost and it's six months. Then you get a paid five-month internship in Seattle following the course. It sounds super competitive to get it, but it's outstanding once you get in.

As I kind of mentioned the other day, I'm self-teaching. I'm only a couple months in, but I'm doing a wild combination of freecodecamp, Harvard's CS50, and a pretty solid front end Udemy course. Once, I'm done with the Udemy course and have a basic front end foundation set, my plan is to really target my learning with classes to learn very specific things. The main resources I think I'll end up with are treehouse, a youtube JS guy that people have great things to say about, and some google/udacity classes. Not that I know what I'm doing, but it's what I've settled on for now. The idea is as I try to build something new, I'll take a free/cheap class that teaches around that topic. And the plan is to just build, build, build.

Also, fwiw, I ultimately decided against (online) bootcamps because once I really looked into their employment numbers for their grads - even at "the best" schools - the numbers didn't seem to justify the cost for me (the numbers would reveal things like only 50% of the people who started the program graduated...), plus I think I'm a little slower of a learner, and I didn't think I could keep up with the 20-year-olds! Or, at least not without losing my mind in the process.

georgeoffley profile image
George Offley • Edited

If you're not doing a four year degree, I would say self learn. Everyone learns differently and I think some people learn better from code camps. For me self learning was the key. I used tools like Treehouse,, Codeacedemy I also used a couple courses taught by Bob Tabor to learn programming.

alexgwartney profile image
Alex Gwartney

I personally have been for the majority of the time self taught. Out side the a few classes I have taken when I was in school. But back when I was specifically studying web before I decided to swap over to c++. I took and learned from places like treehouse as well as freecodecamp. Mixed in with other websites and books. But mostly treehouse.

adempus profile image
Jeff • Edited

I learned to code through a traditional 4 year degree in computer science. A lot of time was spent alongside the theoretical mathy stuff learned in CS, along with practicing code on my own time, cause you can only learn so much from HW.

I currently attend a coding bootcamp to supplement things I didn't learn in CS like full stack web development. One thing I notice is that a lot of people who attend camps without formal knowledge in computer science, struggle grasping concepts like data structres and algorithms. This is where I believe self teaching comes in because you can be taught how to code, but without knowledge in cs fundamentals you're left writing pretty inefficient code. Bootcamps don't really give in depth lectures and assignments in data structures and algorithms as they tend to be fast track & straightforward. (At least mines is)

I suggest taking the time to learn these things in detail on your own time to supplement bootcamp material. Corsera and are great places to catch up on things data structures and algos. This added knowledge can greatly improve how you think about code and how you devise elegant, efficient solutions.

Also, youtube channels like CodingTech are great as well, and HackerRank has good challenges for fundamentals.

denisehilton profile image
Denise Hilton

You can also check these free Web development courses that are meant for beginners and take you to the advanced level. The best thing is these courses are completely free and some of them even offer free certificates. Here's the link.

nebojsac profile image
Nick Cinger • Edited

Or the 3rd option, get a mentor to help guide your self-learning. I hear that recently started a project for mentorship ;)

creativ_bracket profile image

I was also self-taught, having read Sams: Teach Yourself HTML in 24 hours after the frustration I experienced while using a website-builder software. Jeffrey Way's free video series on YouTube is still one of the best introductions I've found to HTML and CSS.

Code camps could be useful should you find it difficult driving yourself or staying motivated, although for the languages you've listed, I wouldn't worry myself with scholarships. Meetup groups and mentors are very effective for accountability.

rhymes profile image

Yesterday I came across an article that mentioned this 12 year old girl that taught herself dubstep only by watching YouTube videos and practicing:

This to say that there's a value in controlling the pace of one's education and the ability to re-read or re-watch or re-listen content.

Coding bootcamps are definitely a valid option but maybe not worth it if you can't afford them.

There's so much free or cheap content online that you can at least give it a try and maybe think about a coding bootcamp in case self learning is not your thing too much.

Something halfway might be a Udacity nano degree, which according to Google search is around 2000$, not cheap but less expensive than a bootcamp: