Want more one-on-one coaching and career prep without doing a full-time bootcamp? Try signing up for the subscription-model certification courses from Udacity or Treehouse, where you have the opportunity to ask a tutor for help instead of suffering your coding mistakes or questions alone. You can’t do much better than the $19 coding classes from Udemy (even less, when there’s a sale)—even full-time bootcamp and computer science students sign up for these classes to supplement their learning.
If you want to learn how to code, taking your first steps into this huge universe might seem like a daunting, if not intimidating task. Here’s the big secret: There are plenty of free (and inexpensive) resources you can use to give yourself all the help you need, teach yourself new techniques, and make this learning process fun and exciting—as exciting as coding can get, at least.
On the other hand, if you’re a mid-career professional looking to transition into a tech career, a short-term coding bootcamp might make more sense than going into debt for a second degree. If all you want to do is build websites or push your Raspberry Pi to its limits, a combination of interactive tutorials and free online courses might be enough to get you going.
Take a few minutes (or a day) to think about the reasons—the real reasons—why you want to learn a programming language. Be honest with yourself. Are you trying to learn the barest minimum to score a promotion? Are you looking to make a big career change? Do you want to create the next greatest app? Thrill your roommates by programming your various smart devices to do something awesome?