How to choose programming courses? 5 things to pay attention to

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    Despite the crisis and war, more than 86% of surveyed Ukrainian companies are already hiring juniors and switches or are ready to cooperate with them in 2023, according to the BazaIT recruiting platform.

    In the analysis of the YouControl IT platform, the industry was included in the list of growing and continuing to grow. At the end of 2022, the industry brought $7.35 billion in export earnings to the Ukrainian economy and reached a 10% growth compared to the previous year.

    All this means that the technology sector will continue to develop in our country, which means it will provide jobs. So, if you have been thinking about changing your profession and mastering development, it’s time to start learning, and in this text we will show you how to successfully choose programming courses.

    Decide on a career

    A wide choice of IT professions (and there are really a lot of them!) Can cause problems with the choice: when a person cannot decide and tries on different professions one after another. To avoid this and not waste precious time, you should understand what you like and what goals you want to achieve. For example, are you a person who likes to analyze, understand details and solve problems? Perhaps you should become a back-end developer.

    Of course, you can and should look at the demand for the profession. According to Dou,

    in terms of the number of vacancies, the first place in Ukrainian IT is the developer – 49% of all vacancies in Ukrainian IT. Next come – software tester

    (QA) – 8%, DevOps engineer – 5.1%, UX / UI designer – 4.6% and Data Analyst – 3.6%.

    It would seem, how does this relate to the choice of courses? It’s simple: by choosing a profession, you will significantly narrow the number of courses on the edtech market and you will be able to choose the right one.

    Choose a course format

    The pandemic has forced most educational products to go online and create new formats. Here the choice depends only on your preferences: watching recorded video courses with basic information, completely independent training with a “floating schedule” according to a prepared program, more structured and step-by-step with the support of an experienced mentor and a group of like-minded people.

    If you are a beginner, it might be worth considering learning with a mentor. Firstly, you save time on searching and studying theory, and secondly, you have a personal mentor who will advise not only on programming issues, but also tell you what internships to apply for, where and how to look for a job.

    What to look for when choosing courses with a mentor? Read student testimonials and instructor experiences, and check out their bios on LinkedIn.

    “If you have never touched IT in your life, in order to painlessly enter this profession, you need a person who will help put everything in order. That is why the presence of a mentor is very important. At the beginning of the course, the support of a mentor is especially important, because the student has not yet formed a programmer’s thinking, he does not understand many things, ”says Denis Dudnik, a graduate of the first stream of the JavaRush online university.

    Analyze the course curriculum

    Quality programming courses have a detailed curriculum that follows a specific schedule. There should be a list of technologies and tools that you will master during the training.

    It should be understood that it takes at least 3-4 months to master the base of a certain programming language, such as Java. And in order to include the Junior level on your resume, you will have to learn the language for at least a year, while doing practical exercises and developing your own pet project. So courses that promise to enter IT in 3 months will not necessarily be bad, but they will not fulfill their stated mission.

    The minimum time that you need to devote to training is 10 hours a week. So, for example, the JavaRush company offers programming courses containing at least two one and a half hour lectures per week, as well as many practical tasks that the student performs on his own at a convenient time for him. Upon request, the teacher can arrange an extracurricular lecture on a topic of interest to students.

    Programming courses should teach how to work with development tools and communication applications that are used on real projects. Examples include the Intellij Idea development environment, the Slack communications application, and the GitHub version control tool. In your first job, you can get up to speed quickly by mastering these tools and find out if you will learn them in courses.

    Find out how much is in the practice course

    Well, what can be learning to program without daily coding? No. Therefore, choose courses that, in addition to theory, offer practical training.

    Please note that in addition to small coding tasks, the courses also have large projects that you can add to your portfolio. This will play a decisive role in your first job search.

    “We have a lot of practice. Sometimes not everything can be solved immediately and easily, and sometimes everything is fine: at first glance, it seems that the exercise is difficult, but when you take it, everything turns out well, ”says a student at the JavaRush online university.

    Ask if there is a community of like-minded people

    Find out how developed the community is for the courses you are interested in. Communication and exchange of opinions with people who are interested in the same things as you are very helpful in learning. And someone even needs the spirit of competition to open up to the fullest.

    Some courses offer messenger chats, and some have chat platforms on their own websites.

    Bonus Section: Tips for Beginners to Learn Programming

    1. Learn systematically. It is not necessary to study every day for several hours, but it is better to stick to the schedule. For example, study for 2 hours in the evening on weekdays, 3-4 hours on weekends. Another way is to set a certain number of hours per week for yourself (say, 10) and study when you can allocate time for this.
    2. Take fewer breaks. It is better not to abandon your studies, because during the break a lot is forgotten. Programming is a skill, like playing the piano. If you do not practice for a long time, it is lost and you have to start all over again.
    3. Pay more attention and time to difficult topics. If you don’t get the basics right, these gaps will get in the way of your further learning and will accumulate like a snowball.
    4. Consolidate the material covered in practice: repeat consistently what has already been studied so that it finally remains in your memory. The ideal proportion in training is 20% of the time for theory analysis, 80% for practice with code.
    5. Develop problem-solving and search skills. Development is an area where you constantly need to solve problems and look for answers. Some of them are on professional forums – some you need to get to the bottom of.
    6. Stop doubting your abilities. Don’t beat yourself up that you can’t do it. All beginners tend to think like: “I don’t know IT people, who will help me?”. Or: “to become a programmer – you need to learn so much…” Don’t let such thoughts interfere with your goal.
    7. Just start. Just read articles, make attempts to write code, and in a few months you will realize that you are able to write simple programs, create basic APIs. Gradually you will learn to program.

    Instead of output

    By analyzing programming courses according to these simple criteria, you can decide what you like. And good luck with your new profession!

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