[This blog post is dedicated to Karl, Anthony, and Neil, in no particular order.]
Stack Overflow is a place where developers “learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.” Each year, they survey their community (the largest of its kind) to develop insights about everything from the dominant gender of the field (guess) to the ways in which developers use Stack Overflow itself.
I suggest you review the entire report, but I’m going to pull out three screenshots that I will most definitely reference when I return to school after Spring Break. They provide answers to three Computer Science related FAQs that I hear from students and parents: How can I learn how to code? How can I get started as a software developer? How can I find my way in the Computer Science field?
SO’s analysis of the above: “Developers are lifelong learners; almost 90% of all developers say they have taught themselves a new language, framework, or tool outside of their formal education. Among professional developers, almost half say they have taken an online course like a MOOC, and about a quarter have participated in a hackathon.”
SO’s analysis of the above: “Over 80% of respondents rely on Stack Overflow Q&A when learning something new. Additionally, developers understand the value of good documentation, as over 80% also use documentation as a resource when learning.”
My analysis of all of the above: The path forward as a developer is pretty clear, but it doesn’t always involve formal classes in school. It seems to involve curiosity, tenacity, a self starting proclivity, and a willingness to engage with communities like the ones advertised in the Stack Overflow survey results.