College is still better for coding

Wed Dec 30 2020

WITH A LOT OF CAVEATS!!! All I ask before posting comments is to read and think about the points I plan to make to explain why I believe going to college is still the best path for a career as a developer/software engineer.

WHO I AM: I moved to the US from Colombia when I was 12 years old, went to public school in GA, and then went to Georgia Tech, where I graduated with a Computational Media Degree in 2010. So I have been working for ten years and, more recently, focusing on React. I am sharing this so that, as a reader, you can see my experiences, and this opinion is based on my experiences.

Supposing you are someone who has not had a career in the “Real” world and is trying to decide between college and coding camps as a way to start. College is the right place to learn the skills to help you with the rest of your life. In a coding camp, you will learn to build an app or a web page, but you won’t understand why things are done a certain way. Starting out may not be an issue, but as soon as you are no longer a junior dev, you will have to learn many of these fundamental CS concepts, or it will become harder and harder to progress in your career. These fundamentals don’t change from language to language, and as technology moves forward, it will be easier to move on to the next technology, as I have had to do in the past ten years. And that is only on the purely technical side of the equation unless your family already are white-collar professionals with a network, no matter how brilliant a coder you are. Those starting jobs will probably first go to the recent grads of colleges. Access to those Alumni professional networks, especially as a PoC, is invaluable. It’s a lot like climbing a mountain with and without a rope. You can do it, but it’s a lot more dangerous, while with the rope, even if you are not always perfect, missteps won’t set you back as much.

Ultimately it is your life, and only you know the right path for you.

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