If you’re ready stop “tinkering” and invest in an intensive, professionally oriented web development course, you’ve got a lot of options. When you reach your frustration boiling point with online tutorials and self-study books, you’ll seek out a proper course (keeping in mind your needs, wallet, and calendar).
We’ve come up with six questions that are important to answer before committing to a web development course. We’ve tailored the corresponding responses to illustrate the ways in which Bloc may be a good fit for you.
1.) What is your end goal? What do you want to do after the course? What level of web development competency do you need or want?
Consider carefully what you want to attain before committing to any course and be sure you know what to expect and what will be expected of you. If you merely want to tinker with the basics of web development, Bloc probably is not right for you. If you are looking to gain a holistic set of skills and the seeds of web development mastery in order to change or advance your career or prototype your original ideas, Bloc may be right for you (read on!). Bloc is designed to provide professional competency in web development.
2.) How much time are your prepared to invest in your learning?
We agree with Peter Norvig about learning programming: “Personal experience… is far more useful and reassuring than the thousands of pages written by experts”. And gaining that experience takes time. Are you ready to make such a formidable time commitment? (link: http://bit.ly/174R2W6)
At Bloc, we expect you to dedicate approximately 25 hours per week for 12 weeks to your apprenticeship-style course. We have found that this time commitment works for most people, although we know that it may vary by individual. Much of what sets Bloc apart from other intensive web development programs is that we adapt to the schedule and location that works for you. But be prepared to work through our curriculum and spend time with your mentor, which may require some strong time management skills. The course is just twelve weeks long, so every week and every hour counts. Think about how your time commitment complements your goals–your work at Bloc may become burdensome or fall by the wayside if you find yourself unsure if professional web development competency is something you want.
Intensive in-person development bootcamps require being physically present at a campus for around eight hours a day for up to three months. This can be an effective way to learn web development, but at Bloc we know that relocation isn’t possible for everyone.
3.) Can you concentrate without a teacher present to command your attention? Are you willing to do the work?
Know that there are many free and inexpensive web development programs that will allow you to tinker with coding at a leisurely pace. Expect to acquire professional-caliber skills only after years of sustained tinkering with these programs. Know that there are high quality professional-grade courses that require your physical attendance (AppAcademy, Dev Bootcamp, etc.).
Bloc is designed to teach you pragmatic skills needed for professional web development through an online platform in a condensed time frame. This requires a high level of concentration and discipline from the student, and the help from your ever-present dedicated mentor. The curriculum is not busy work, so don’t expect to be making dinner and watching a movie while working. Expect 25 hours per week of challenging tasks requiring critical thinking.
Being online is advantageous as we are able to accommodate any schedule and location, but this flexibility can be a disadvantage to the student who doesn’t have the self-discipline to put in the time or focus. Consider if have you the drive needed to make the Bloc course effective
4.) Will you take initiative to work with your mentor when you need help?
Central to Bloc’s effectiveness is the personal attention you receive from an expert mentor. You will have weekly (or more) online meetings with your mentor, where you can can help as you need it. It’s arguably easier to get such instruction with in-person courses because you are physically present with teachers for several hours each day. The teachers can literally see when you get stuck. At Bloc you will need to indicate to your mentor that you need help. They are extremely available to work you through any problems that arise, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Your mentor is totally dedicated to your success, and you should not be reluctant to take advantage of that expertise.
5.) Do you have a specific project in mind that you want to pursue?
The first two-thirds of the Bloc curriculum is designed to give you a strong foundation in web development basics. The remainder of the course is less structured, and focused on building an original project with help from your mentor. While it certainly isn’t necessary, we feel it helps sustain your enthusiasm for learning when you have a project in mind. Also, your project can help propel your skill development beyond our curriculum.
6.) Do you know enough about web development to direct your own instruction? Or have friends that will take an active role in guiding you?
If you have someone willing and sufficiently knowledgeable to guide your studies and review your code along the way, you might be able to develop formidable web development skills without paying for formal instruction.
But if you need really well-crafted, comprehensive curriculum and an expert dedicated to guide you when you get confused, then you might want to consider an in-person coding bootcamp or Bloc.
What if you know enough to be dangerous? High quality intensive web development courses will provide you with a holistic foundation of web development knowledge, starting from the basics. Entering the course with rudimentary knowledge, however, may ultimately allow you to progress further in twelve weeks. You don’t need any experience to have a successful experience at Bloc, but the quality and quantity of learning will be enriched if you have had some exposure to writing code. It can be advantageous to come into the course knowing what you want to learn, or at least having some questions. We are happy to suggest free exercises that we think will be helpful for you to gain comfort with before your Bloc course begins.
Some of our alumni have found it helpful to have a coding partner outside of Bloc (preferably in the same city) during or after the course. Once the course ends it can be difficult to find collaborators. Do you have friends or partners with whom you can discuss code? If not, consider being open to making new connections–we know first hand that learning alone can be difficult.