There are many different ways to learn to code and become a web developer. What works best for you depends on your learning style, resources, and time commitment. Here is an in-depth look at the most common ways you can make a career change to become a developer.

These outlines will help identify which path suits you best. Everyone learns differently, and each journey has its own pros and cons to consider. The outcome of each option depends greatly on your own personality, commitment, and professional experiences. The important thing to realize is that regardless of your path you can achieve success if you put in the effort.


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Path One--part-time bootcamp student:

Enrolling in a part-time bootcamp course allows for flexibility in the hours you put into learning each week, the overall time it takes to complete the course, and amount of time you can dedicate to required assignments. This career path is usually most appealing for individuals who currently work a full-time job, and for those with a full-time job and have family responsibilities.

Part-time courses are self-paced but they still require accountability. All bootcamp courses are built differently--Thinkful’s programs include a personal mentor to help keep you on track with your learning and assist you during conceptual and practical learning roadblocks. Get in-depth information on how we work.

A part-time bootcamp schedule can also allow for more time in your week to apply for open positions in your new industry. Assigning a schedule to apply to and interview for positions is essential to getting yourself out there and displaying a focused mindset. All Thinkful courses include six months of dedicated career services after the course is completed. Our 1-on-1 career coaching, interview practice, and salary negotiation advice will ensure you present your best self and rise to the top of the hiring pool.

Downsides to part-time learning can include less scheduled collaboration time with peers and mentors, more opportunities to get off track with learning and assignments, and fluctuations in feelings of commitment.

With Thinkful, the downsides are reduced by the learning model we use to build all of our programs. We provide a team built around your success, entirely focused on you. From peer collaboration to day-to-day mentor guidance, to maintaining your commitment by working with an academic success manager throughout the program, you’re never without support. Becoming a developer is made easier by consistent positive reinforcement.

Path Two--full-time bootcamp student:

Full-time bootcamp courses are the best option for those ready to devote their time to learning completely for a couple months. This option requires the most hours per week, but less overall time to complete the program. By far the quickest way to learn--immersive programs allow students to outpace the learning goals of all other paths.

Full-time learning is built on a structured schedule and requires a strong motivation to dive into a subject fully. Peer interactions are also very structured, which will help you develop critical collaboration and communication skills, as long as you commit to being present and thoughtful in peer interactions.

With a full schedule, carving out time to seek open job opportunities can be difficult and balancing a healthy work-life schedule is essential to maintaining your course commitment. Finding a bootcamp that has a solid career service program upon graduation, like Thinkful, will ensure that you have a support team to help you find, apply for and nail the interviews of open job opportunities. Thinkful Career Coaches are concentrated on getting you into your next career, not just a new job.

Before joining any bootcamp, it’s important to research the career outcomes of each program to validate program success. Outcomes can also relate to the latest technologies taught and used by the bootcamp you choose. Check out our industry-first look at promotions, raises, and job growth a year and beyond Thinkful graduation.

The biggest downside to full-time learning is not everyone can quit their job and commit to full-time learning. Another downside can be the mindset that a non-traditional background is a con, but many bootcamp graduates find their unique background gives them skills that more traditional programmers do not necessarily have. At the end of the day, your soft skills set, hard work, and people skills matter significantly more than your background.

Overall, it is absolutely amazing how much you can learn in 3 or 4 months with a high-level of immersion, support, and accountability. Thinkful also offers various payment options, scholarships, and other support that can help you make it through.

Path Three--Self-taught programmer:

For most people, this is the hardest option, but if you have no problem being uber-disciplined and learning in solitude, this route can be for you. You need to be okay with feeling stuck, problem-solving, and overcoming learning challenges on a regular basis. Your best learning tools will be Youtube, Google, and free community platforms.

With all the free resources online this is the least costly learning path, however, it is highly likely you will be learning slower than other paths. What you save in money, you can easily lose in time.

The absence of scheduled interactions with teaching staff, peers, mentors, and career services does free up your time, but having those supportive roles sets you up to learn best practices, gain understanding through different perspectives, and apply solutions to problems that have stumped you. Additionally, a strong career services team will help you find and land the job at a time when you may be burnt out from learning in solitude.

Choosing the self-taught path can help you learn foundational skills, but it will only get you so far. Think of it like this, you can learn guitar if you research chords but if you want to play flawlessly, you’ll get there faster with a tutor.

Path Four--Computer Science undergraduate

This is the traditional path to become a web developer--much of your time will be spent learning a lot of theory behind the practical applications and technology that may be obsolete by the time you graduate (or before then, depending on how quick to adopt new technologies your CS department is).

For those who pursue an undergraduate degree in Computer Science or who have an undergraduate degree confirmed, there is still additional learning that needs to happen to rise to the top of the applicant pool. Additionally, the obvious drawbacks to traditional universities are they can be extremely expensive, require a large time commitment, and require coming onto a campus to learn.

You don’t need to start at or return to a university for ongoing learning. Today you can learn the skills needed to be hired in a shorter amount of time and have far more resources at your disposal that directly relate to starting a career. Thinkful can help you supplement the skills you gain from an undergraduate degree to ensure you are a high-quality, relevant candidate with a real-world portfolio.

Choosing the bootcamp path

Thinkful has been teaching people the skills they need to break into tech careers since 2012 and our mission is to provide accessible education so people can improve their long-term career options and salary value.

If you are ready to learn more, earn more, and make a change that lasts a lifetime--schedule a call with our admissions reps to have an introductory call at a time that works for you to get started. Start the conversation about your background, goals, and possible hurdles to problem-solve.

We will help you choose the right program and format, and guide you through next steps to changing your career and becoming a highly paid data scientist. Our reps can also offer in-depth information on payment and financing options for the course that fits you best.


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