Main image of article Tech Students' and Developers' Favorite Learning Methods

What methods do students and technologists rely on to learn new skills? That’s a key question, one that a new HackerEarth report attempted to answer by surveying more than 16,655 developers.

As you can see from the following visualization, both students and professionals rely on a variety of online methods to gain new skills (the totals add up to more than 100 percent because respondents could choose more than one method). For both groups, though, online competitive coding platforms and YouTube tutorials are absolutely key, while coding bootcamps and “old school” textbooks aren’t significant factors:

Of course, things can always get more granular. Earlier this year, HackerRank’s Developer Skills Report suggested that, while younger technologists indeed prefer learning methods such as YouTube videos, older ones had a greater affinity for books, on-the-job training, and other learning methods. Take a look at that chart:

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed how students (and professionals) can educate themselves. A variety of online technology courses—including ones from JetBrains Academy, Udacity, Coursera, Unity, and others—are now free. In addition, there are lots of documentation and tutorials available online if you want to learn a particular programming language, framework, or tool. For instance, Microsoft recently updated its extensive video series on Python to include 51 more clips on everything from managing a file system to using Python for data science.  

It might be some time before physical classrooms re-open. In the interim, with many courses (and certification exams) fully online, technologists can continue to obtain the education they need—via any number of channels. According to the Dice 2020 Salary Report, technologists are increasingly interested in “emerging” benefits such as college tuition reimbursement, and many employers are willing to accommodate; if you pursue online learning, you can even attempt to persuade your boss to pay for it.

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