Your Mission if you choose to accept it

Setting Expectations

Step 1 — Dip your toes into programming

Step 2 — Next step

  1. Enroll to get a Computer Science Degree — This is by far the most expensive choice and is more practical if you want to do something very low level (hard) like working on operating systems or creating new databases and data tools as the in-depth understanding of how the computer works and data structures will play big in designing software where speed is a top priority.
  2. Enroll in Bootcamp — This is a MUCH more affordable option which is about 15–25 thousand dollars for a 3-month program with about 500 hours of in-class time and probably another 200 hours of solo homework and project time. This is a great option for most people as it provides the structure and accountability many won’t be able to provide themselves along with providing job search guidance. Bootcamps vary in quality, having been and student and an Instructor at General Assembly I would highly recommend them as an option but completing all the tasks in the first step of this guide will go a LONG way in maximizing the value of the Bootcamp experience. A Bootcamp can reduce the total time needed for the first start to about 1500 hours because of the time saved in having a focused path.
  3. The self-taught route is a viable path but you need to be very self-disciplined to make sure you put in the time and you’ll need to put yourself out there to get experience in things like teamwork and working with best practices. Another challenge is that the girth of education materials out there is vast, but the range of quality is vast, and some of the quality stuff can quickly go stale cause of how the industry evolves. Being self-taught requires discipline, good judgment, and determination. Expect you’ll need the full 2000 hours to get to 1-star status, but no costs.

Step 3 — What you need to learn

Working with the Bash Terminal

Learning an IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

Git and Github


Programming Concepts

  • What are data types, why do they matter
  • Creating variables, the scope of the variables
  • Math Operations (adding, subtracting, etc. with numbers)
  • String operations (how to reverse, split, manipulate strings)
  • Boolean operations (how to as true/false questions in code)
  • Control flow (how to use boolean expressions to branch code with if statements and loops)
  • Collections (how do we bundle multiple data points into ordered and unordered data structures)
  • functions (what are arguments, what is a return value, what is a pure function, first class functions)
  • Classes (What is object-oriented programming? What are constructors, properties, methods)

Computer Science

  • What is RAM how is it different than a hard drive
  • What is TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
  • What is HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
  • How does the web use TCP and HTTP
  • What is an internet browser
  • The Http request and response cycle
  • Types of Data Structures
  • Types of Design Patterns
  • Types of Algorithms

Step 4 the Job Hunt





Alex Merced is a Developer Advocate for Dremio and host of the Web Dev 101 and Datanation Podcasts.

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Alex Merced Coder

Alex Merced Coder

Alex Merced is a Developer Advocate for Dremio and host of the Web Dev 101 and Datanation Podcasts.

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