CodeGym /Java Blog /Learning Java /Student Loan? No Thanks. How to Learn Java Without Paying...
Level 41

Student Loan? No Thanks. How to Learn Java Without Paying for College

Published in the Learning Java group
Can I be a programmer without a degree? Do I need to go to college or university to learn programming or should I learn online on my own? You can literally see hundreds of versions of these questions on Q&A websites like Quora, message boards, and social media. People of different ages all around the world are looking to become programmers because coding in today’s world is a demanded, well-paid, and respected profession. They are wondering, quite naturally, if studying in a college or university is the only way to go if you want to learn programming on a professional level to get a job and potentially have a long and productive career. Student Loan? No Thanks. How to Learn Java Without Paying for College - 1The short answer is: no, it is totally possible to learn programming and become a serious coder online, without going to a college or getting a computer sciences degree in a uni. In fact, we can even go as far as stating that today, in 2020, studying online is the way to go if you really are looking for applicable skills and solid knowledge. Why? How studying online, at home, can be better and more effective in teaching a person programming than colleges and universities, even the most respectable ones? Well, being an online-only Java course, we are obviously just a little bit biased here, but let’s see.

Why learning to program online instead of getting a college degree is the way to go

  1. Computer programming and tech in general are changing and evolving too fast for the conventional educational institutions, especially large ones, to adjust in a timely manner.
It’s just that in coding, everything changes real quick: new versions of the programming language come out sooner and sooner (every 6 months now for Java), new frameworks and platforms replace the old ones, entirely new approaches emerge, old technologies disappear into the abyss, and so on. It’s just impossible for educational institutions to adapt their courses quickly enough to teach students the most up-to-date knowledge, which is what they really need to get a job.
  1. Coding is all about practice, while colleges and universities always put theory first.
So, what do you need to know to be a Java developer or a developer in any other programming language? As you may have learned already by now, in order to obtain real applicable coding skills quick enough, you need to learn theory, of course, but the focus should be on practice. It’s not that students studying in universities and colleges don’t get to practice at all, they do, but normally they get to work on practical tasks only closer to the end of the course, spending a lot of time cramming through huge chunks of theory. The results show us this approach just isn’t that effective.
  1. You don’t really need a diploma to get a coding job these days.
The majority of tech companies these days just don’t require coding job applicants to have a diploma as a necessity to get hired. They put skills first, which is totally understandable and reasonable, while a diploma could be considered as an advantage, and nothing more. Google, Apple, IBM, and a whole bunch of other big tech companies are on the list of businesses that no longer require their employees to have a degree.
  1. You don’t really need to spend all that time and money on a college or university to get your first coding job.
Truth is, these days there are just so many ways to obtain practical and applicable coding skills without the need to actually spend all that money and time. And we all know how expensive formal education, especially in North America, can be, and what kind of financial burden a student loan can turn into. Of course, it won’t be easy to get your first real coding job, even as a Junior programmer, without any proof of having the required skills. But you can easily pump your qualifications if you start with small freelance jobs or working on a project of your own. Having a somewhat decent portfolio would normally allow you to get your first coding job in no time, even without college degrees of any kind.
  1. Java is a (relatively) simple and commonly applied language, which is easy to learn outside of college or uni.
Java is one of the most common and applicable programming languages in the world now. According to a recent State of The Developer Nation survey by Slashdata, there are more than 8.2 mln Java developers in the world today. Unlike many other programming languages, Java’s popularity is growing steadily year after year for more than two decades now. Actually, among all the programming languages out there, Java is one of the most suitable to study online as there are so many various ways to learn and sources of information available to Java beginners on the Internet these days. Hard to argue with these points, right?

How to become a programmer without a degree? Here are the best ways to learn Java online

Let’s take a quick look at the ways you can actually learn Java online and get a job without a degree of any kind.Student Loan? No Thanks. How to Learn Java Without Paying for College - 2
  • Textbooks and guides for Java beginners.
There are lots of great Java textbooks available, both for total beginners and somewhat experienced coders. In fact, the number of textbooks available is so high it might be difficult to choose among them. That’s why we made this list of the best Java books for beginners. We would particularly recommend you to start with these three: Head First Java by Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates, Java: A Beginner’s Guide by Herbert Schildt, and Java: The Complete Reference by Herbert Schildt.
  • YouTube channels for Java learners.
These days you can find quite a number of extremely informative YouTube channels with Java lessons, tips, guides, tutorials, and other content for Java beginners. At some point in the future we will probably make a list of the best Java-related YouTubers, but here are a few definitely worth mentioning: Derek Banas (a popular channel with programming tutorial videos), Programming with Mosh (another well-known channel for programming beginners), Java (the official channel of Java community), Devoxx (a channel with videos and reports from various conferences and seminars for software developers).
  • CodeGym course to learn Java theory and cement your coding skills with lots of practical tasks.
CodeGym definitely should be on a list of best ways to learn Java online, as we truly believe it is the most effective course to learn theory and practice Java coding skills currently available on the Internet. With a practise-first approach, CodeGym is a core tool that could turn you from a total newbie into a decent Java coder in six months or less (if you are studying really hard).
  • Message boards and Q&A websites to ask questions and get help.
Java community is one of the largest programming communities in the world. And it is quite friendly and supportive as well. You can ask more experienced Java programmers for advice, tips, and recommendations on Q&A website Quora, StackOverflow, Java Programming Forum, Oracle’s Java Community forum, CodeRanch, and a bunch of other great websites. Or you can just ask CodeGym’s community for help.
  • Additional websites and tools to study faster and more effectively.
The great thing about studying online is that you have so many different tools and websites, most of which are free, to help you. For example, LeetCode is a great platform to prepare for your coding job interview. It allows you to have as many mock-up interviews as you want until you feel confident and prepared for a real one. StayFocusd is a Chrome browser extension to increase your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites. My Study Life is a nice app to organize your studying process. And so on.


As you can see, learning Java online is just so much more flexible and diverse compared to the college approach. And, goes without mentioning, much cheaper. Don’t get us wrong, we are not saying college education is entirely not effective when it comes to learning programming or Java language in particular. All we are trying to say is — you don’t need to get a student loan and waste years of life going to a college to become a Java programmer. You can learn Java theory combined with basic skills on CodeGym, get a Java junior developer job, and keep learning while making money in the process. The choice is always yours though.