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General Discussion

Joshua Armstrong
Joshua Armstrong
4,921 Points

A serious question about decisions.

I'm currently in a position where schooling is not quite possible. I could take a class at a time but I can't get books. I came to team treehouse and I was amazed by what I thought was the quality of education. I spoke with an old friend who graduated high school a few years before I did ( I graduated in 08) He went to school I made other decisions. I want so badly to be a good coder and some day a good dev. I told him I wanted to get educated. This is our discussion.

" Educated in which way?"

"Right now I'm doing a free trial on teamtreehouse.com and it seems very decent military can get their silver package for $9/month too"

"umm...hate to break it to you"

"oh no"

"but I have yet to see a good coder that comes from that kind of course background. if you want to break into the field, do a real CS degree it's about the only good way of doing it you can throw together a hacked app that works, but I guarantee you that it will have more security holes than it does good... and this is why we have so many security breaches"

Could anybody vouch for team treehouse to clear this up for me? He's been a dev for quite a while now and to have someone with his qualifications shoot down the site is a major blow to my motivation. Thanks to anybody who reply's and I'm sorry this is so long.

3 Answers

Fifteen months ago I didn't know what HTML stood for. I taught piano at a small music academy. My employer knew I had a (very) small amount of design experience and asked if I would like to help redesign a website that started as a side project, but was steadily growing in both traffic and revenue. I enthusiastically accepted, expecting to become the lead designer for the project. (Side lesson: Allow your path to be flexible.)

I used a WYSIWYG editor initially, but its limitations became quickly apparent. I discovered the ‘Custom Code’ box and never looked back.

The Tracks and Courses I’ve completed on Treehouse have allowed me to start a new career as a front-end developer and user experience designer. Seriously. In June 2015—two years after I wrote my first line of code—I will have ended my previous and unrelated career and become a full-time developer.

It’s important to note that I’m not aware of the type of developer your friend is, or the type of developer you aim to become, so I can only speak as a front-end web developer. That being said, I believe that, in the time it would take to complete a brick-and-mortar traditional classroom degree on web-development, the technology, trends, and best practices would have changed significantly, and that resources like Treehouse, Codecademy, StackOverflow, Twitter, etc. offer a more up-to-date education.

Once you experience that first moment when you say to yourself ‘I know what I’m doing,’ start a project right away (because soon after you’ll have a moment when you say to yourself ‘I have no idea what I’m doing’, followed by a moment when you say to yourself ‘Now I actually know what I’m doing’, etc.).

Go for it. Especially if traditional schooling is not possible, what have you got to lose?

Joshua Armstrong
Joshua Armstrong
4,921 Points

Thank you so much for this. I definitely needed it. I'm glad to hear of someone doing well. I am going to be doing this and if needed down the road, I can go to school after the army. For now I'm going to just focus on learning as much as I can until I hit that point. Thanks so much. They say you are who you hang out with. Maybe You could shoot me an email sometime as someone I could possible come to in the future with questions. Jamstrong8916@gmail.com. I could use a friend in the programming world. Thanks again. Josh

Sam Hollis
Sam Hollis
11,045 Points

This is actually a pretty big debate in the field of computer science. There are many people who view computer science and programming as, well, a science. They believe that strong programmers can only really come from people who pursue degrees in higher education.

There are others who view programming as more of a trade skill, like carpentry or plumbing. They believe that anyone can code, and that there's no reason why anyone who can code well shouldn't be able to do well.

In my opinion, it's a bit of both. While a college degree is certainly very useful, and will undoubtedly help you grow as a programmer and aid you in getting jobs, it's certainly not necessary. If you can code well, and you understand the concepts and theory behind it, then I don't think there should be anything preventing you from getting a job as a programmer (or web designer, and so on).

I think there's certainly some truth in that (good) college programs will generally churn out higher quality coders, and that you'll need much more dedication when you're going you're own route, as with Treehouse, but credentials aren't the end-all be-all. When it comes down to it, your own commitment and work ethic is really your only limit to success. You're certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to job seeking against those with CS degrees, but a strong portfolio can often speak louder than a degree.

Joshua Armstrong
Joshua Armstrong
4,921 Points

Thanks sam. I'm glad to see people responding to this. It really re-ignited my motivation that was extinguished yesterday. I appreciate the information and If you read the above comment feel free to shoot an email. Thanks! Josh

Darren Healy
Darren Healy
Front End Web Development Techdegree Student 23,565 Points

Anyone can learn anything they are motivated enough to put their mind to. And there are many paths that lead to a similar end goal. Just find what works for you and drive forward. Some of the top programmers out there didn't go to college. Some do too of course, but it's just what works for them. Don't listen to the naysayers; friends, family, acquaintances all have an opinion. I get it all the time. Take it with a pinch of salt and be your own critic rather than let others do it for you. Training your brain this way will keep the fire to improve stoked.

The last one I had from a close friend was "learning languages is all well and good but only if you are going to find a practical use for them." I felt like saying; "No sh*^, I'm just doing this for fun!" ...yeah right. I've already expanded my skill-set enough to land two sizeable freelance websites and I don't intend to stop looking for more or cease learning!