What is the best way to learn?

Learning is the first step to becoming a great developer. The only way you can attain new skills and use them in your career is through learning them. However, learning alone isn’t enough; you need to know how to learn. This statement poses the question- how do we learn? And what is the most efficient way of learning?

Bootcamps & Structured Curricula

This way of learning is great for beginners in a field who don’t know where to go or what direction to head in. Common learning types that fall under this category are:

  • Large online courses (nothing up to 10 hours counts!)
  • In-person or online bootcamps
  • Formal education (eg. University courses)

These types of courses give students a helping hand that guides them through, giving them both skills and intuition related to the field that they may not have had before. This is great for anyone looking to learn a brand new skill. However, the very element that makes these courses so great may also be the limiting factor for more experienced students. The stiff structure of these courses limits the learning ability of students who may already have experience in the field, which could cause them to lose interest over time. So, if you’re already experienced, make sure the material you are learning is unfamiliar enough to keep you interested.

Self-teaching

This learning type is the exact opposite of a bootcamp. The student can choose where they want to go, and what they want to learn. Most self-taught professionals do this through jumping from source to source, learning as much as they can without any set path to follow.

Although this type of learning may seem unviable to beginners, it is actually very beneficial for those who are confident enough to research topics on their own. Self-teaching grants students the ability to learn at their own pace and their own style, while also giving them the ability to access content from a variety of sources. This method of teaching is even better for those who already have experience in a field, as they can teach themselves any missing skills without having to sit through content they already know.

This type of learning is not limited to extreme free-flow research, however. Online mini-series and small courses can also grant students the same benefits. A little structure won’t hurt anyone; it all depends on the experience of the student and what they are comfortable with.

Despite all of these benefits, self-teaching may not always be the right option. A structured curriculum taught by an established instructor can give you useful advice that you wouldn’t find by teaching yourself. This can allow you to stop bad habits before they form, which is nearly impossible without outside advice when self-teaching.

So which learning type should you choose? It depends. If you want to start from the ground up and build a formal knowledge base on a topic, find a bootcamp or course that gives you that ability.

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