Changing careers is a big deal. Before you jump in, take the time to see if a tech career is right for you.
First, you need to know if you like coding. A free class will allow you to get your feet wet and determine if it's something you’d like to do every day. There are even free online courses, which make it even more accessible for you to learn to code.
If you’re just starting out, take a free coding class to see if you like coding before committing to a career-changing coding bootcamp. On the other hand, if you’re certain you’d like to change to a career field that requires coding, look into a paid course so that you can learn coding quickly and in depth.
What are the benefits of learning to code?
It goes without saying that learning to code can open up job opportunities in the tech field. There are numerous job openings for beginners and seasoned coders alike. Also, coders are needed in every industry, meaning that you’ll not only earn more money, but open yourself to new career opportunities.
In addition to a wonderful career in computer programming or web development, there are some hidden benefits of learning to code:
Problem Solving: Learning to code can help you develop a problem-solving mindset as you gain an understanding of complex systems.
Collaboration: Knowing code can aid in working on multi-disciplinary teams as it gives you a realistic understanding of what can and cannot be achieved.
Flexibility: Armed with your new skills, you can work in any industry, open your own business or side hustle, or even volunteer for organizations with little to no budget.
Confidence: It’s a fact that not everyone can code, and it takes time, effort, and skill to do so. You’ll have the special ability to help others bring their ideas to life, boosting your own confidence.
What's the difference between free coding classes and paid coding classes?
On the most basic level, free vs paid courses are going to have some differences. These courses are excellent resources to learn coding, but the one you choose will depend on your personal goals.
Free courses tend to be introductory level courses. Geared towards hobbyists or those considering starting a tech career, any beginner can attend.
Paid coding courses will usually be more in depth, may include guided instruction, and often include practice exercises that will help you begin to build a portfolio.
Best free coding classes
The best free coding classes are the ones that cover the coding languages you want to learn. A free coding class should give you a good high-level understanding of the coding language, but you may need more self-study to get more in-depth comfortability with the language.
After taking a course (or several), you should have a basic understanding of coding and the types of languages you’d like to pursue further. If you decide coding isn’t for you, that’s okay too. There are plenty of other opportunities in tech that do not require coding.
Best paid coding classes
A paid coding class will give you the in-depth knowledge you need to start coding professionally. So, if you decide coding is the next best step for you and your career, it’s time to pick out a program.
Paid coding classes come in various formats, lengths, and price points. Some are interactive and include instructor feedback. Others are simply slideshows or videos with tasks that you work through at your own pace.
A coding bootcamp is an excellent type of paid coding class. In a coding bootcamp you will spend several weeks dedicated to learning everything you need to know about coding and landing a job in just a few months.
Bootcamps are intense courses that prepare students by teaching them a lot of topics in a relatively quick timeframe. The main advantage to attending a bootcamp is that you’ll be job-ready within months. Even better, some coding bootcamps like the one at Flatiron School include career support to help you land your first job!
No matter which course you choose, do your due diligence. Look closely to make sure you’re learning programming fundamentals, languages relevant to your preferred career, and that the coursework fits into your current schedule.
What should I look for in a coding class?
Unfortunately, not all courses, free or paid, are created equal. Some are certainly more valuable than others. Set yourself up for success by finding a class that aligns with your interests and career goals.
Here’s what to look for in a coding class:
Programming Fundamentals: Technology changes fast, but the underlying principles stay the same. A good coding class will teach you the fundamentals so that you can learn new languages and adapt as technology changes throughout the course of your career.
Credentials: While your instructor doesn’t necessarily need a degree from a four year university, make sure you do your research. Some things to ask: How long have you been working in the industry? How did you start? What’s your best advice for future students?
Online vs. In-person: Choose what works best for you when it comes to taking a class online or in-person. Additionally, you may want to look for courses with like-minded individuals (such as courses just for women in tech or career-changers).
Schedule: Regardless of the type of course, (free, full-time, self-paced) get the most out of it by making sure it fits into your existing schedule.
Community: The best courses have thriving communities of people just like you that are willing to share their knowledge and cheer you on.
Because changing careers is a big decision, it’s wise to take a free coding class. These lessons, led by industry veterans and tech enthusiasts, give you an introduction to coding. With this knowledge, you can decide for yourself if you’d like to learn to code and enroll in a career-changing bootcamp.
If you’re interested in coding and working in the tech industry, you can start learning to code for free here at Flatiron School.