What are the current trends in Zimbabwe as far as learning software programming is concerned? Some people take short courses and become freelancers while some go to college to get a degree. There is also a significant number of people who take both the short course and the college degree albeit simultaneously regardless of order.
It is typical for employers to require certification of some sort in certain areas like Java programming, networking or database management. This prompts graduands to do short courses in order to gain those qualifications. There are people who just go straight to acquire such qualifications since a degree is not a prerequisite. Those programmers who get their qualifications through short courses also compete with degree holders on the job market. This makes people wonder if a college qualification is worthwhile. The answer is, it depends on the job market and the programming language you want to learn.
As someone who has done both, I recommend starting with a short course first. This is advisable if you want to change a career or if you are not planning on going to college immediately after graduating from high school. This allows you an opportunity to start earning through part-time employment or freelancing. Some people even form their own startups. Short courses give you a chance to live your dream of becoming a coder in no time. This helps you decide if coding is really what you wanted without wasting your time.
The money you earn while freelancing can also contribute towards your tuition when you eventually embark on a degree programme. This is good news for those who can not afford to pay for their education.
Short courses prepare you for a job much more quickly than a college degree. You can be ready to seek employment in less than six months compared to four years needed to complete a computer science degree. Not only will you be employable but you will also start to feel comfortable in participating in online discussions.
Some people, as mentioned earlier, complete a degree first before taking a short course. This shows that both pathways are vital and you can not do without them. This is true if you want to have an edge over other competitors when job hunting. The order in which you obtain your qualifications is not important but starting with a short course is wiser.