Choosing the Right Online Education Option for Web Development
The different options that are available to pursue an online education in web development and software engineering is dizzying! How do you decide which one best suits your needs given your educational goals? One program may not be the same as another and provide the same support and access to instructors. By the way, what the heck are MOOCs? Well, we won’t be delving too deeply into MOOCs which are often associated with a university or college and typically provide education around a particular topic through video, tutorials, and limited, if any, interaction with a live instructor which you would find in a classroom. MOOCs certainly have a place in education especially in conjunction with a university or college. However, the initial luster has definitely worn off as it relates to MOOCs (think Coursera, Edx, Codecademy etc.) as the completion rate is downright dismal at well below 10% generally. The engagement associated with these courses is simply not great. However, if you are looking to gain some fundamental knowledge and ensure you have an interest in development, then Codecademy is actually a pretty good option. We at LearningFuze, definitely recommend it as an introductory step in preparing to pursue a career in development.
If you are looking to pursue web development professionally, the first question to ask yourself is how you best learn and how you can leverage your strengths to get the most out of your education. Without the option to take an in-person program, it comes down to learning remotely. How do you choose among the different remote learning descriptions which are confusing and tend to be used interchangeably in the commercial market such as distance learning, e-learning, and online learning? It’s all about defining what you need. If you are looking to become a professional developer in a relatively accelerated period of time with truly marketable, best practice skills then emulating as close as possible a quality in-person program should really be the goal. With that in mind, it’s important is to ask the right questions to ensure you know what you are buying and that it fits your learning style and your professional goals.
- Is this program led by an instructor with live lectures that occur throughout the day?
- Will I mostly be watching videos and tutorials?
- How often during the day will I interact with instructors live?
- How will I interact with instructors when I need help? (i.e. Slack, video conference etc.)
- Is the program self-paced or will students follow a structured agenda?
- How closely does it resemble an in-person coding bootcamp?
- How do I gain access to instructors for help and how often during the course of the day?
- How much help is available?
- Will I mostly be left to my own devices during the day or what is the level of interaction with fellow students as well as instructors?
- Is this an online program or a program that is simply online until the pandemic is no longer an issue and we will then be in-person?
- Are there opportunities to work with other students on projects or is everything solo?
- How is this program different from an in-person coding bootcamp?
- How do career services compare to an in-person program?
- Will all the events that are offered in-person be the same remotely?
- What are the biggest differences between the remote and in-person programs?
I am sure given the specific program that other questions are warranted. The bottom line is you want to ensure that you will have competitive skills at the conclusion of the program and the structure is in place that will truly support that goal. As a final note, it is critically important to first evaluate the quality of the program and then consider cost. What is of utmost importance is that you are able to obtain the skills to be able to compete for lucrative positions in the market and to be ready to take advantage of the somewhat latent yet increasing demand for developers especially given the current situation and the growing reliance on tech!