This article, originally published on November 30, 2015, has been updated.
Online learning is a new frontier, and an incredibly exciting one at that.
Of course, not everyone has the gumption to be a digital pioneer — especially when it comes to the realm of education. So, if you’re interested in becoming a software developer, how will you know whether an in-person or online course is the right path to take? Without further ado, here are five questions to ask yourself to see if learning to code online is right for you.
1. Is self-motivated your (long, hyphenated) middle name?
If you choose a flexible program like Flatiron School’s online coding bootcamp, one of the greatest aspects of online learning is how it allows you to be the master of your own schedule. You’ll have the freedom and flexibility to organize your life as you see fit. But, in the wise words of Spider Man circa 2002, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Do you have masterful organization skills? Are you good at setting goals and holding yourself to them? Whether you have a management system that keeps you on track, or you just know how to get pumped up to work with the right music, finding that self-motivation is key to a successful experience.
2. Do you enjoy learning for the sake of learning?
A successful online learner’s greatest assets is their love of learning. It’s what powers them through the rough patches in the learning process. So, how do you know if you’re one of those people? Think about your hobbies and favorite pastimes. Have you ever picked up an instrument and didn’t put it down until you could play a song? Did reading Moby Dick inspire you to write your own (huge) novel? Have you deconstructed a bike just to learn how it works? If you enjoy learning for the sake of learning, you’re more likely to be a natural when it comes to learning programming online.
An insatiable drive to create is what matters most.
3. Do you live to build and create?
If you’re a creator, you know what it’s like to have that inner drive to make something for yourself and for the world at large. People who learn to program have a drive to build something of significance, and code is a powerful tool to make those dreams a reality. Maybe you’re a master origamist, you add improvements to your car, or you make stop motion movies for your YouTube channel. What you do isn’t all that important — an insatiable drive to create is what matters most.
4. Are you brave enough to ask questions (and find the answers yourself, too)?
Learning to become a developer takes a certain level of humility. There will be times when you have absolutely no clue what you’re doing, and want to incinerate your computer rather than seeing one more line of code. But that’s OK because you have something special: the courage to ask questions. Are you ready for Google to become your new best friend? To find a new definition of self-reliance, and unearth answers to questions you didn’t even know existed a few weeks ago? If you’re excited to challenge yourself and find your own solutions, learning online may be a good fit for you.
5. Do you know what you want at the end of it?
Learning for the sake of learning is a wonderful approach to life (see point number two). However, it’s also important to know what you want at the end of this process. Are you just looking to dabble in code? Do you want to skill up so you can build out a professional website that showcases your other talents? Or do you really want to become a professional developer? It’s important to research exactly what you want before you choose an online program, because they all offer different experiences, different levels of commitment, and different outcomes.
When it comes down to it, only you know whether you’re ready to embark on that adventure, and whether online learning is the right approach for you. The good news is, passion is a great indicator of your future success — no matter how you decide to pursue it.
Of course, another great way to know if online learning will work for you is to try it yourself! Get started with our Bootcamp Prep course for free today.
Make yourself useful.