Learn to Code to Further Your Career

Computer programming is a lucrative career field with great job security. Entering the field, either as your initial career or by making a pivot later in life, can be a terrific way to boost your income and give yourself real financial security. While it is possible to become employed as a coder without a college degree, earning that degree will make your life much easier, improve your compensation, and allow you to get your foot in the door at more prestigious companies. If you are concerned about the cost of earning this degree, look into borrowing from a private student loan lender. The rates are generally competitive, and the increase in your compensation after graduation will allow you to repay the loans.

You Can Self-Teach Coding

The internet is full of resources you can use to teach yourself to code. Many are free, and many others are available at a very low cost. Regardless of how you decide to learn, these sites allow you to teach yourself coding. Once you are comfortable coding, you may feel you are ready to look for a job, but there is much more you will not know. Coding is only one small part of getting a job as a computer programmer.

Algorithms, Problem Solving, and Critical Thinking Skills Matter

Just understanding the process of writing code is not enough to be a successful programmer. You will need to learn and understand how algorithms work. Knowing the names of different algorithms and when to use them may seem like enough, but to write clean, effective code, you need to have a deeper understanding. Many of the online coding workshops give a surface level understanding so that you can start creating projects. It is up to you to do a deeper dive into how algorithms work.

You also need to understand what you are being asked to do, the problem you are being asked to solve, and how to write code that does that. Depending on the place where you eventually land a job, you may be responsible for a start to finish project over many months or years, a small section of a larger project, or coding updates and bug fixes. Each of these requires different skillsets and come with different expectations. If you have never worked in this type of atmosphere before, the entire process can be overwhelming.

Build Your Skills by Earning a Degree

Earning a college degree smooths the transition to becoming a coder. While there are skills you can self-teach, many of the qualities needed to become a successful programmer require a strong academic background. Having a solid understanding of higher-level math, for example, makes algorithms easier to understand and use effectively. Seemingly unrelated courses, such as logic, sharpen important skills in critical thinking. A final benefit that should not be overlooked when you are considering the value in earning a degree is the ability to intern. Colleges can help open doors for you to intern in your chosen field. By doing this you will get real-world experience with things such as writing help tickets, performing bug fixes, and writing clear code that makes sense to your fellow programmers.

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