CodeGym /Java Blog /Random /Can Online Courses Compete with High Schools? Fresh Learn...
Lucy Oleschuk
Level 31

Can Online Courses Compete with High Schools? Fresh Learning Techniques, Lots of Practical Tasks, and a Strong Community Can Do the Trick

Published in the Random group
Technology now vastly dominates in a huge variety of different industries, and “learning to code” is the buzzword at the moment. But how to jump on this bandwagon? Do you really need to spend a few years (or more) on getting an academic degree if you want to succeed? Keep on reading this article to find out how self-taught programmers can achieve the same level of understanding as computer science students. Can Online Courses Compete with High Schools? Fresh Learning Techniques, Lots of Practical Tasks, and a Strong Community Can Do the Trick - 1

“To Degree” or “Not to Degree”?

Completing a degree is one of the best ways to earn the trust of potential hiring managers as it’s something like a proven track of your strong skills and programming abilities in general. However, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one-quarter of IT workers in the US don’t hold an academic degree now, and the situation is even brighter for self-learners in other countries. From this, it’s easy to see that you don't necessarily need to earn a CS degree to work in the industry. Just for reference – such influential IT figures like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t have an appropriate CS degree. To add more, for many cutting-edge technologies, degrees simply won’t work because of the rapidly changing IT world and the inability of college programs to keep up with the times. So, what? Ultimately, it’s your skills that really matter. Nowadays, many employers are clearly looking beyond your high school experience to your skills and technical expertise. Modern companies especially appreciate the relevant experience, solid knowledge, and soft skills (agility, collaboration, and perseverance) all mixed together. At the end of the day, it is you, your skills, and your hunger for more knowledge that gets you in the door. From this perspective, anything, including online courses, may help you.

What Are the Perks of Learning Online?

Let's take the CodeGym course as an example. What are the benefits of learning on the online Java course?

Strong knowledge of Java language

It's impossible to become a programmer just by reading a book or watching a video. To learn how to program, you must write the code and shape the “programmer's thinking.” To help with this, we’ve created more than 1,200 tasks of varying complexity with automatic verification. By solving all of the tasks, you get more than 300-500 hours of practical experience. Using a gaming format, the course walks you through the four quests (Java Syntax, Core, Multithreading, Collections) to make you a winner at the end. Each quest consists of 10 levels with short lectures on Java theory and practical tasks to hone the obtained skills. What is important, the course constantly upgrades to keep students motivated by using "fresh" learning techniques and offering up-to-date technologies.

The ability to read and debug code

Overall, the aforementioned four quests include 1200 tasks that differ in content, order, and volume. Part of these tasks is dedicated to reading code and fixing bugs. Programmers often face similar challenges in their work, so fixing bugs while studying will prepare you for the real work of a developer.

The ability to write your code

The second part of these tasks is designed to teach the student to write their code. Such tasks vary in difficulty and occur at all levels of the course. In the future, this will allow the developer to create code for specific tasks in the real working environment.

The research skill

They say that the most important thing for a developer is the ability to Google. You're welcome to complete the tasks "from the future" that run a little ahead of the theory. These tasks may be especially useful for curious students who want to test their skills. It will bring you as close as possible to the realities of a programmer's work cause you will need to use Google to solve problems you haven't met yet.

The ability to enhance a code due to timely feedback

All tasks can be instantly verified by a "virtual" mentor, which may be especially relevant for those looking for the maximum lifelike classroom experience. The virtual tutor also gives students comments on their tasks and tells them how to improve their code (i.e., gives style analysis and tips on advancing the code). Besides the virtual mentor, students are free to refer to CodeGym's community ("Help" section), where many programmers share their experience and can help you solve problems if needed. Moreover, if you enter Forum or Success stories, you'll get the added bonus of boosted motivation as many Java programmers there deliver not only valuable suggestions and programming tips but also their support.

Proficiency with real development tools

For extra convenience, the course is featured with the IntelliJ IDEA plugin and Web IDE with syntax highlighting and autocompletion, letting learners easily complete the tasks directly on the website. IntelliJ IDEA is one of the most popular integrated development environments (IDE). Most Java programmers use it. You will most likely write code in IntelliJ IDEA when you get a job. This IDE significantly speeds up the programmer's work and helps develop a good coding style. To help you perfect your skills under actual working conditions, we've created a special plugin for completing CodeGym tasks in IntelliJ IDEA.

The ability to create real-life projects

CodeGym can help you to create your first mini-projects like online chat, ATM emulator, Sokoban, Snake, Star Wars game, and more. These projects can play an important role and even become the backbone of your resume. Anyways, HR managers always look for experience, and a real-life project is exactly what they may need.

Top Advantages of CodeGym Online Course Over Colleges and Universities

Besides the above-mentioned advantages, there are many other reasons to choose the CodeGym course instead of college and university.

Career advancement (switching careers) and time for hobbies

Studying online gives you much more flexibility. If you’re going to switch your career to IT and still work, you can easily fit your work schedule (and your hobbies) around the course lessons.

A more comfortable learning environment

You are free to choose the learning environment that works best for you – a bedroom, a cabinet, the cafe across the street, or even your local gym. To add more, you won’t need to waste time commuting and get worried about heavy showers or snowstorms.

Much lower costs

One of the main perks of CodeGym and many other online courses is the extra small costs compared to the money you would otherwise spend on studying in high school and the costs of housing. This means – lower debts and more savings.

Opportunity to focus on “what really matters”

Do you want to spend months or even years on a general discipline you’d hardly need for your future career? We bet not. Studying online at your own pace allows you to focus on the subject you’re really interested in. Plus, you’ll always have time to strengthen your knowledge with additional resources without rushing in order to get to the next topic. Can Online Courses Compete with High Schools? Fresh Learning Techniques, Lots of Practical Tasks, and a Strong Community Can Do the Trick - 2

Who May Benefit from the CodeGym Course?

Anyone can learn, no matter their age and experience. If you have absolutely no coding background, this course is for you. If you study Java as an add-on programming skill, this course is also for you. If you’re a career switcher? This course is for you. If you’re a reputable CS professor, this course is also for you. Surprised? These days, many professors often earn more money by giving online lessons to their students rather than teaching in universities. So, they may be interested in new learning techniques in order to keep up with the times. And that’s exactly what CodeGym offers.

Final Word

Ultimately, everyone can benefit from CodeGym’s course. Unless you’re fresh out of high school or really want to go back to college, don’t worry about the degree. A good online course backed by your motivation and dedication is what really makes the difference. If you have strong skills and the ability to demonstrate them, you’ll definitely be fine without that large piece of paper. So, do you necessarily need a degree in CS? The answer is no. Online courses like CodeGym can enrich you with all the hard skills you may need to succeed in the IT industry. Solid coding skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, and soft skills combined all together will make you never worry about the lack of an academic degree. Let’s get down to preparing this wild cocktail (CodeGym provides the main ingredients).