No, You Can’t Learn to Code in Three Months

I read this excellent article on Quartz yesterday called No three-month course can teach you how to code. It’s definitely worth a read—and it’s important to note that the author is a self-taught coder. He does not say that people cannot learn to code on their own; he says it’s not possible to learn to do so in three months, as a lot of those stupid, overpriced boot camps say.

The Quartz article linked to this recent Wall Street Journal blog entry called Have Liberal Arts Degree, Will Code. I thought it was sort of stupid and left a comment:

Interesting article and great discussion. I thought I’d write a bit about my experiences with coding and liberal arts. I have a liberal arts degree (history and Russian) and after graduating with no job, I panicked and thought I’d do one of those coding bootcamps. I choose Dev Bootcamp and applied. I got in but eventually decided not to attend due to financial issues (it’s $12,000 and that’s not even including living expenses in San Francisco). This happened over a year ago and now I have a little bit of perspective, I am completely against the idea of these bootcamps. There’s nothing wrong with learning a little code on your own (I taught myself HTML and CSS for fun so that I could better design my blog) but paying to do it is obscene. As many have pointed out, you can’t learn in three months what actual computer scientists have spent their entire undergraduate degrees learning. That’s just absurd. And here’s another secret articles like this don’t say: these bootcamps aren’t as exclusive as people think they are. Dev Bootcamp accepted pretty much everyone who applied (at least when I was going through the application process).

Bottom line: if you got into a coding bootcamp, you’re probably not special. They just want to take your money and run. (Let’s face it: if you graduate without a job you have no legal recourse for getting that money back.) If you want to learn to code, there are much cheaper ways to do it.

Sorry for ranting but I have some pretty strong feelings on this subject.

I feel unbelievably pretentious for quoting myself, but hey, I wanted to share the comment with all of you. (And yes, I realize that “boot camp” is two words; unfortunately I made a few typos in my comment and cannot edit it now that it’s posted.)

The moral of the story? Don’t waste your money on stupid stuff.