The “Learn to Code” movement has got everyone from primary school kids to retired grandpas start to spend their free time learning to code. And of course, this has led people to believe that programming is easy and that you can learn the skills required for a software engineering role in 12 weeks, and the result is a mushrooming of coding bootcamps across the world. But can you really go from Zero to Programming Hero in 12 weeks? Didn’t think so. I came across this Bloomberg article that exposes the dark side of coding bootcamps and provides caution to those looking to leave their current jobs in the hope of landing a six-figure salary in a matter of months: Want a Job in Silicon Valley? Keep Away From Coding Schools
I’ll post some key insights from that article here:
- Interviews with more than a dozen coding school graduates reveal that when they do land a job, often their engineering education doesn’t cut it. Many admit they lack the big-picture skills that employers say they want. Training them often requires hours of hand-holding by more experienced staff, employers say. The same holds true for graduates holding computer science degrees, but those employees generally have a better grasp of broader concepts and algorithms, recruiters said.
- Mark Dinan, a recruiter who works with Bay Area technology companies like Salesforce, said many companies have told him they automatically disqualify coding school grads. “These tech bootcamps are a freaking joke,” he said. “My clients are looking for a solid CS [computer science] degree from a reputable university or relevant work experience.”
This post is not meant to demotivate anyone, but to rather remind them that programming is hard, and like any other human endeavor such as music or sport, it takes years to get good at it. Every aspiring programmer should read Peter Norvig’s timeless essay on “how to teach yourself programming in 10 years”: Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years