Learning comes in many forms, depending on multiple factors, including goals, personal preferences, and time available. Some people like reading books or tutorials, others watch videos, some solve tasks alone, and others prefer participating in contests, etc. We decided to ask CodeGym’s students about their favorite learning methods – to analyze them and, eventually, help you choose what’s best for you. And now we’re happy to present the results of this survey!
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) / Warner Bros.
Who Are Our Students and Why Are They Here?We believe that anyone can learn programming, regardless of their age and background. And the numbers prove it: 37.5% of respondents are 36-45 years old, and another 37.5% are between 46 and 60. Also, 12.5% of respondents are 18-22 years old, and 12.5% are 23-27. Today, many people choose to become switchers, i.e., change their careers after years or even decades. For example, in the U.S., the average age of people changing careers is 39. Among our respondents, only 11.1% are Americans, while 33.3% come from European countries, 33.3% from India, and 22.2% – from other countries. Nevertheless, the trend of shifting careers seems to be global. There’s a common misconception that only people with a CS diploma can master Java. But it’s not true: even in our study, only around 11% of respondents have such a degree. Another 33.3% own an academic degree in a technical field, and 22.2% have a non-tech degree. 22.2% of respondents finished high school, and 11.1% have studied in university for 1-2 years but haven’t got a diploma yet. By this point, it seems obvious that CodeGym’s community unites people of different ages, backgrounds, and geographical locations. But what’s their goal and their reasoning for studying Java with us? In our study, we offered several options, and students could choose more than one. 66.7% of respondents want to prepare themselves for a programming-related profession, and 44.4% – to learn Java basics from scratch. 33.3% of students have already started a career in IT and are studying to enhance their programming knowledge. Also, 33.3% said they learn with CodeGym to get the needed coding practice to improve their theoretical knowledge. And 33.3% of respondents want to get the right amount of programming knowledge to kickstart their own project or startup. Regarding the reasons to study with CodeGym, 33.3% of students picked the option “the number of practical tasks”, 33.3% liked the theory explained through clear examples, 22.2% enjoyed instant verification of their solutions via the CodeGym plugin, and 22.2% – the possibility to set up an individual training schedule. 11.1 of respondents especially liked achievements, plot, and other gamification features. But the most votes (44.4%) got the “All these options” item. And we agree: choosing just one feature among everything CodeGym’s platform offers is really hard. And we promise our students to make this choice even tougher in the future!
How Do CodeGym’s Students Learn?The primary goal of this survey was to identify the learning methods that work best for most people. Hence, we asked the respondents to choose what they use and find efficient. 100% of them named solving coding tasks. It’s unsurprising: you can only become a developer if you practice a lot. Reading is the second most popular method: 55.6% of respondents say they read text lectures, and 44.4% read books on programming. 33.3% watch video tutorials, and the same number of students write pet projects to become better developers. All these methods have a proven track record, so, combined with solving coding tasks, they can help you learn faster. 11.1% of respondents take 1:1 classes with mentors, 11.1% of students attend group lessons with a mentor, and 11.1% chose the option “Other” (for instance, they use an AI tutor). Also, we asked students to share their least favorite learning methods. And here, the leader was reading text lectures (44.4%). Indeed, it’s not easy to stay focused when trying to grasp complex programming concepts without practicing them at once. 33.3% of respondents don’t like watching video tutorials and solving coding tasks (it may be difficult, we know it, but it gets better with time!). And only 11.1% don’t like reading programming books or writing pet projects. When analyzing the survey results, we could see how big a difference individual preferences make in choosing the learning methods. For example, 55.6% of respondents think that text lectures/books make it easier to comprehend Java theory, 33.3% choose video lectures/tutorials, and 11.1% – live sessions with a mentor. One student mentioned that “reading on screen seems difficult”, and another said they read the theory first, “and if I still don’t understand, I go on Youtube”. The time our students spend on learning Java varies, but most of them spend at least 1 hour a day. Here’s what they say: “One hour from Monday to Thursday and as much as possible on the weekend”, “1 hour – learning one concept, some practice, review”, “At least one lesson and corresponding tasks”, “I try to spend at least two hours a day”. Looks like our students have already mastered two most important lessons: persistence and discipline.
How Can You Improve Your Learning Efficiency?Learning to code isn’t an easy path. Students may lose motivation or run into a topic that is too hard to crack. For example, in this survey, one of the students shared their problem: “I tend to jump between lessons when I get stuck, which slows down progress and reduces focus”. Indeed, concentrating on studying may be tricky sometimes, the same as proceeding when things get rough. However, in over 10+ years in the educational business, we’ve collected a list of the most efficient learning methods:
- Gamification. When you study by playing, it’s not just enjoyable – you actually learn better. Studies show that gamified trainings engage and motivate people if done correctly. That’s why CodeGym’s platform uses gamification as one of the primary tools.
- Solving tasks as soon and as many as possible. The more you practice, the faster you progress. The most effective way to learn is to start solving coding problems from the very first lesson. So, don’t spend too much time reading the theory; instead, solve tasks. At CodeGym, you can immediately check your solution with the auto-verification feature. It helps you correct mistakes and learn from them.
- Creating pet projects, for example, games. What can be more satisfying than writing a game from scratch? Even a simple game like Snake. It’s a real-life programming experience you get while learning. And the more complicated projects you create, the better your portfolio looks.
- Being a part of the community. When you’re stuck, you may spend a lot of time finding the answer. But if you have a community to turn to, you save time and learn faster without losing motivation. For instance, CodeGym’s community is where you can go for advice or feedback.
- Having a mentor. If self-motivating isn’t your strong side, you may consider finding a mentor, a skilled professional who has already walked the path you’re walking now. And if you don’t know where to look for such a person, CodeGym Java University is at your service.