One friend of mine is planning to quit his job to take up a 3-month programming course at Code Academy. As a digital marketer, he recognises the uprising of big data and the new opportunities that are opening up in the space. He’s recognises the need to learn new skills in order to remain relevant. He recognises that if he doesn’t act, he’ll soon be left behind.
Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen an explosion in automation. As Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape, put it: “Software is eating the world”. How long will it be before your job is automated? Troves of executives are now rushing to learn how to code. Excel macro skills no longer cut it. The modern corporate warrior needs a much larger arsenal of skills in order to excel in this new digital playing field.
Should You Learn To Code?
Are you going to be left behind soon?
Before you commit to anything, here’s a quick checklist for you to decide if it’s time to learn to code
1. Do You Have A Specific Objective?
Knowing how to code is great, but do you have a specific use for this new skill?
Learning a new skill like coding is really hard. The dropout rate for online courses are close to 90%. Are you going to be one of them?
If you have a specific project in mind, your motivation to learn will be much higher. It’s akin to having a weight loss target to motivate yourself to exercise. Jumping into a new project with no end goal is a recipe for disaster. Don’t make that mistake.
2. Do You Have Time?
How’s your current work life balance? Is your boss planning a large new initiative for you to lead? Are you and your spouse planning to start a family?
Prior to investing in a coding course, ensure that you’ll be able to sustain the commitment. Inform your friends and family that you’re going to need to refuse some social commitments in order to see this project through. Clear your schedule. Give yourself a chance to succeed.
3. Paid Course or Free Course?
There are plenty of free online resources to pick up coding. However, I’d strong advice against them. A free course means you don’t have experienced teachers to whom you could ask questions. Don’t forget, your time is precious. Invest in a good school to accelerate your learning process. If you want quality, you’re going to have to fork out some money.
4. Online or offline course?
There are plenty of institutes whom offer physical lecture & tutorial classes in a format not too dissimilar to what universities use. Do not go to one of these courses. This is the new digital world. Online schools like Udemy, Coursera and General Assembly use the latest in analytics to deliver the best learning experiences – all from the comfort of your home.
Study online reviews and pick the right courses which are well rated by previous attendees.
5. Do You Need Certification?
Why are you trying to learn to code? To expand your knowledge or to improve your CV for that next career step. If its the latter, it’ll be best to take a course with a formal certification or scored testing process. That will add far more weight to your CV as compared to a run of the mill online course.
6. Already A Decent Coder?
Perhaps you’ve already got some coding chops but professional experience? Are you now looking to make a career change? Perhaps build your first app? Some companies, such as CodeCloud, have just the solution. They’re an online school that let’s you build real apps for real companies and connects you with recruiters looking for technical talent. A fantastic way to make a career transition!
Learning to code is a fantastic endeavour which will benefit you for years to come. Pick the right timing, course and commitment level and it’ll make your employability so much more relevant, for years to come.