The is more to the value of training (online or in person) than simply adding a line to your resume. While that is important, there is more needed. We do not learn skills in a vacuum. They are more than an item on a list. If that were not the case, there would not be the term “paper tiger” for those with completed courses and no other value. The actual value of training comes when we can use what we learn.

The Value Of Training Comes From Utility

Homework and quizzes are a tool for measuring your knowledge. However, they do not truly assess how well you internalize a topic. That may be more true in development than other skill sets. There is far more to being a good developer than knowing the syntax. You also have to understand how to apply the knowledge. That is shown better in a project, lab, or application than in simple homework assignments.

Application Not Regurgitation

We all learn in different ways. However, the best way to retain knowledge is to use it. That comes from applying what we learned. Programming skills are well-suited to this approach. You are learning about tools to build solutions. Therefore, your course should be pushing you to solve problems. That does not mean following a given solution; instead, you should forge your own path. We see that as best accomplished through regular projects and lab work. That means hands-on situations where you write code and solve problems that exist in the real world. Think of the progression to story problems in math rather than simply reciting multiplication tables.

Traditional Education

This is a weakness often pointed to in classical education. We learn through memorization and repetition rather than through a practical focus. In technology, this is a common red herring. Students learn, for example, how to code in Java by learning syntax instead of solutions built in Java. That is not far from teaching someone to nail or screw boards together without showing them how to make furniture or a structure. Skills without the ability to apply them are useless.

Next Steps

The good news is that most training sites and boot camps have some form of introduction, syllabus, or free material. You get to decide for yourself how practical their approach is for you. We have found the best way to teach topics and are happy to answer any questions you have about You can register for free and view course outlines. We have a broad range of free content to help you decide if you agree.

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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