When I started Geek Girl Beta I had an idea. I wanted to help people who are interested in a tech career. I also wanted to better the community by being honest that tech is not for everyone just because a TV commercial says it is.
My last post laid out the qualities that a person pursuing a tech career should have. While nothing is absolute, I’m very confident that those qualities will make for a happier career, and a more productive addition to the tech community.
I’ve spent a lot of time before starting this project researching the options for tech education. I understand some people need to have structure that can only come from a classroom setting. When it comes to tech the way you learn speaks a lot about how you will adapt and thrive in the industry. If you are only able to learn new things in a classroom you need to rethink tech. There is a lot of on the fly learning that happens everyday. You realistically will not be able to take classes as they are in a college setting.
If you can let go of the notion that only college educations matter I can show you that there is a way to learn what you need to know online for free or mostly free.
Being I’ve ruled out a traditional four year college and the for profit schools advertised on TV, what options are left?
If you MUST start your education in a class then I would suggest a local community type college. I did a quick search of my state’s community colleges and I found a ton of options. This included a tech community college which offers many of the same types of classes the for profit places have but for far less money. Just because something costs more does not make it better.
My path to accumulate knowledge has been a little different. I all ready have a college degree, but not in computer science. I only know a handful of companies that require a degree specifically in computer science. I’m not saying that a degree isn’t worth having, I think it is. A lot more doors will open if you have that piece of paper. It’s just in tech more often than not the people I’ve known do not have a computer science degree.
First plan of action was where to start. There are many options as far as tech careers go. One could learn about security and networking, or specialize in hardware, or you could go the route of programming and developing software. Within those options are even more options. For the sake of this example I’ll pick programming. No real reason why, down the road one can work on learning as much as possible in other areas.
Second plan of action to develop a curriculum was to find all the free online resources. There are tons of them. The purpose of this blog is not to advertise for these sites so I’m going to draw from as many as possible and give an unbiased review of each. I’ll talk about what I’ve learned and I will show how I apply that knowledge. You should always apply what you learned, it’s the best way to understand and retain that information.
Now that I have those things figured out I can start. Over the next few weeks I’m going to go through online courses on programming. I will work though each one and document everything that I experience.
Learning is a process, this particular experiment is taking the approach as a person who wants to change careers and not pile on more debt going back to school. I’m also going to try and do this as fast as possible. I know people absorb information at different rates so don’t get frustrated and always remember to breathe.