Code, Humility, and Passion

Learning to code is a great way to elevate your income and quality of life for many people, but learning to code is not equally straightforward for everyone. People learn in different ways.

This article hypothesizes a framework for grouping individuals into 3 groups:

  1. Self-teachable Individuals
  2. Teachable Individuals
  3. Learning-Challenged individuals

Keep in mind, the above three categories are with respect to learning to code. If you fall into group 3, it’s going to be relatively difficult, but not impossible of course, for you to learn to code. You may still be a great fit in some other career.

Course Report has a great article on how to get into 7 coding bootcamps. These coding bootcamps expect you to apply with a basic level of understanding. An exact measurement of what that means isn’t clear to me, but they state that most or all of them provide preparatory material and completion of that at your own pace is sufficient to prepare a student for entry.

I hypothesize that a basic understanding is also roughly the equivalent of a proficient Pluralsight Skill IQ rating, and this is achievable for web technologies after absorbing the free Codecademy Web Developer path. In fact, I believe that path would put you well over the basic threshold for becoming proficient. I am a self-taught coder and I used maybe five or so lessons on Codecademy before they had the concept of a path, which in this case consists of more than a dozen related lessons.

There is a difference between taking a course and absorbing a course. This is something I criticized Degreed for long ago, and it hasn’t been fully ameliorated. In a proposed scholarly approach, Pluralsight Skill IQ serves as the measurement of absorption of the Codecademy path. Now we have both the learning and verification steps solved for. Measuring this absorption distribution will be useful for prospective learners, because currently taking on those tasks is a high risk procedure with unknown payoff.

Once proficient, some proportion of students will be immediately ready to enter in to a junior software development role. Others will want to join a bootcamp from there. As Course Report above notes, bootcamps look for more than basic skill. They also want to see passion and coachability. They seem to think those things are not trainable, but I disagree. In any case at least they are measurable.

  1. Measuring coachability (as humility)
    1. Standard personality tests
    2. Humility Science Survey
    3. This article links other papers that had various measures of humility.
    4. Perhaps humility is linked to poverty? Mixed evidence.
  2. Measuring passion
    1. Generalized passion can be captured in a personality test. Below are measures of specified passion, or passion with respect to some particular thing.
    2. Various measures referenced here.
    3. Holland’s model, RTC scale, and others described here.
    4. Measuring entrepreneurial passion here.
    5. Dissatisfaction at your current, non-programming job, may indicate passion or enthusiasm for a career switch.
    6. Being an avid and passionate software user, or a superuser, may indicate being a likely passionate software maker. In this space, for example, hardcore gamers, digital designers, audio engineers, and so on, may be in a great position to switch over to software making, while those who do not use computers very often may be predisposed to lower enthusiasm.

Searching around the web for a while reveals additional approaches to measuring the above two constructs. Prediction of software training achievement could obviously be complimented with standard measures like IQ, grit, personality type, socio-demographic measure like age, gender, and income, and so on.

By the way, if you can land a junior role without a bootcamp, why bother with the bootcamp? There are three answers:

  1. It can accelerate you directly into a mid-level role. Instead of earning ~50k you could be earning double that.
    1. Knowing how to code and knowing how to work as a professional software developer are not identical. Good bootcamps will teach you about working with a team, working in Agile process, using Atlassian stack, and other common professional tools, and so on. This basically rolls into items #1 and 2, and it will also help many people reduce their impostor syndrome or anxiety because they will know how to be a developer, not just how to code.
  2. Self-learning alone may not be good enough for many people. Hypothetically this relates to your individual category described at the top of the article.
  3. Good point, maybe you should just skip the bootcamp and get a job. That’s what I did 🙂

In conclusion, high humility and passion are hypothesized to cause improved bootcamp admission chances, and may be linked to higher overall success from attempting to enter a software development role.


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