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Choose Your Own Coding Adventure!

catcarbn profile image Cat Carbonell Updated on ・3 min read

You've heard them all:

  • "I went to college and studied CS!"
  • "I taught myself how to code-- just dove right in!"
  • "I went through a bootcamp!"
  • "I was born knowing code. I breathe it. Get on my level."

Dear N0ob dev, fret not. There is a way to discern your own path.

In order to successfully learn how to code, you have to find the right method, program, and/or mentor/coach/master/sensei who can communicate with you positively, whose concepts resonate with you and understand with ease.

Where do I start?

Some of us learn better by simply reading the documentation, scouring StackOverflow.

Some of us learn better by physically attending a bootcamp or even investing in a 4-year degree program.

Some of us learn better or are limited to taking advantage of the free classes on Codecademy or freeCodeCamp.

If you're having trouble getting started--

Consider the following:

  • Where are you in life right now?
    -- Are you in college?
    -- How soon do you want to make the big switch?
    -- Do you have dependents?

  • What is your budget like?
    -- Living paycheck to paycheck?
    -- Got some change to spare?
    -- Are loans a viable option?

  • How do you learn best?
    -- Reading?
    -- Watching and listening?
    -- Need more structure/ prefer to adhere to a set curriculum?

  • How is your self-discipline?
    -- Can/Have you stuck to a strict dietary regimen?
    -- Do you use a hamper?
    -- Do you make the bed?

  • What does your life look like within the next 1-3 years?
    -- 5 years?
    -- 10?
    -- How about next week?

  • How much time are you willing to invest?
    -- Let's be real: you're going to have to sacrifice time with friends and family depending on your goals and timeframe.

There are many variables to consider when you're starting out.

Here are some suggestions according to your lot in life:

Note: I have not tried all of these, however, these schools/methods have come up many times in conversation, search, and mentions on podcasts

- You're broke

- You can only spare about 10-30 mins a day

- Flexible schedule

- You have dependents that need constant attention

- Have some change to spare ( < ~$100 )

- Able to invest about 1 hr almost every day

- Dependents are autonomous or can be taken care of by someone else

- Got the time and $$$ (or work can foot the bill)

- Very serious

- Very disciplined

- You're in High School and you're set on the decision to go to college

- You are a very brave person that can spare the time and $$$ to go back to a traditional school curriculum

- Earning a college degree is very important to you

(I chose this one)

Top 3 Universities:

  • MIT (private)
  • UC Berkeley (public)
  • Stanford (private)

Online Degree Program:

Note: Considering a public or private school is important as to what kind of loans you can take out or what scholarships you apply to

Your path isn't even limited to these options! You can also attend local meetups in your area! Look up gatherings on Meetups.com or Eventbrite, usually under the "Tech" category. Sometimes the meetup is online!

Real talk, though:

I urge you to carefully consider your priorities and your answers to the aforementioned questions.

You at least have a ton of choices if you choose the way of the Dev.

Remember to know your limits, set your boundaries, plan well, take breaks, ask questions, that comparing yourself to others is a deathtrap, and hydrate.

You can do this.


  • What would you add to the list of considerations or suggested programs?

Let's keep in touch! Find me on:
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Hello Carbonell, I am exactly where this article starts at, wanting to get more in-depth at programming! Thanks for sharing the ways I can get started doing that. To be honest, I had already looked at some of them, mainly Udemy and TreeHouse(not in-depth yet). As far as I know, SkillShare is also a viable place to get programming courses. Thanks for writing this article, it made me seriously consider where I am, and where I am going with my career.


PS: I'm also really interested in bridging the gap between designers and developers(like you are), as that is what I am currently doing with Qub3d!


I totally forgot about Skillshare. I'll add it to the list! Thanks for reminding me. Best of luck to you and your company!


I also have done some great things over at Sitepoint, and SoloLearn, and the newer one Enki.

I totally forgot to add those. I'm on SoloLearn all the time.


Thanks! But, to be honest it's not exactly a company, just an opensource project.

Ah! I should've looked at it more carefully. My apologies!

No problem! :D It does sound like a company though.


YES! YES YES YES! I couldn't put it any better myself.

Can we somehow make this article an official canonical answer for this question?




This is awesome 😀 So many people have asked me this question, and I've always kind of stumbled through an answer. Now I can send them here! Seriously, thank you for taking the time to lay this all out. It's so important to consider where you are before you decide where you're going (and how you're getting there). 💯


Maybe I should make a comprehensive list of all the possible places to enroll haha
Thank you for sharing this post!!! :D


If you can spare USD 29 per month, Pluralsight is a great resource. The materials (and instructors) are carefully curated. Watching the videos and combining it with textbook references + deliberate practice, it should get a noob up-and-running very quickly.


Nice one. I want to add Udacity in the option you don't have money, as you can do several of their courses for free.


I totally forgot some of their courses were free. I get so many emails and see ads about the classes being on sale. hahaha


Thanks for this Cat! I have a friend who was just asking me about this stuff. I'll send him here!


Awesome! Thank you for sharing!


You covered three scenarios for people with time and money. Nice!


I covered the broke people too. I was there. lol