This post was updated in October 2017 with new information.
Long gone are the days when someone would check out a book from the library to learn how to code. Compared to years ago, there are now a variety of mediums developers can use to learn programming languages or work to improve their coding skills.
According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, only 1 in 10 schools nationwide currently are teaching computer science classes. If developers aren’t being presented the opportunity to study computer science during their school years, they’re going to have to find alternate ways to learn to code. This helps to explain why so many developers are learning to code in non-traditional ways (aka not through earning a BS in Computer Science).
90% of developers we surveyed reported that they are “self-taught” in some sort of capacity. So how do they do it?
When looking for candidates for your open technology role, it would be ill-advised not to consider self-taught developers. If you insist on only hiring developers who have a Ph.D., you’re missing out on a huge pool of motivated, smart talent.
Over 41% of developers we surveyed reported learning to code through on-the-job training. Often this type of training is executed through pair programming, which sets up the less-experienced developer with a Senior-level developer within the company.
Putting the money into training for your technical employees upfront can seem hard, but this will ultimately pay off in the end. (Think of the costs associated with letting someone go who can’t keep up/wasn’t properly trained, for example.) Developers want to build something that’s innovative and significant, so giving them the proper training to do so can keep them happy and engaged.
As we mentioned earlier, lots of developers are teaching themselves how to code with the help of online courses. In fact, 45% of developers we surveyed in 2017 reported learning to code from an online course. These courses include everything from free, short-term classes to 6-week courses that can cost anywhere from $30 a month to $13,500 for a 3-month stint. Developers who completed online courses typically have excellent project and time management skills and often are highly motivated (both of which make great employees).
9% of developers we surveyed reported attending a full-time intensive program to learn to code, such as a bootcamp. Bootcamps are a great way for developers to get hands-on training, network with potential employers, and get career guidance from their teachers. If you’re looking to hire a committed and passionate developer, those who have completed boot camps are a good option.