After plugging through the JS tutorial on Codecademy, I took Harvard’s CS 50X from edX.org. Amazing course. Take it. It’s hard and throws a lot of information at you, but it’s an incredible course, and I learned a ton. I can’t recommend it enough.
Since then, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the support of so many people as I learn. I’ve been able to ask questions of them, including what I should learn next. Since the summer of 2012, I’ve learned HTML, CSS, JS, jQuery, Jasmine, Ruby, rspec, ClassicASP, C, C#, XML, python, php, postgreSQL, MySQL, MSSQL, TFS, git/github, and I’m currently doing an AngularJS tutorial as well as working on a nano-degree from Udacity. I’ve worked with third party service providers (Digital River (well, tolerated, in DR’s case), CyberSource, OpenText), various stacks (MAMP, LAMP), and so much more.
Recently I took a moment to think about all that I’ve learned in such a short time. Part of it is due to the job that I earned after getting laid off. There’s only so much you can learn from tutorials and writing your own small scale versions of what you’re learning.
My first day at this job vs today, is light years of difference in knowledge. Even signing in to a DEV server was terrifying on day one. Now, I am perfectly comfortable signing in to a LIVE server during a meeting to fix something that’s gone awry. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a healthy dose of fear (“oh god, what if I delete the entire website on accident!”).
But confidence is built by repetition, and that’s something I wouldn’t have gotten from just continuing to tool around at home.
All of this isn’t to say that my journey to learn to code is over (hooo boy, it’s not even close!) or that it’s been a walk in the park (can you hear the uproarious laughter at this one?) but I wanted to show that it’s not impossible.
If you write code, and you love it, do it.
If you get discouraged by a problem, walk away from it, then come back to it. Distance from the problem is your friend. So are walks. Walks are good.
Ask questions. Ask, ask, ask. StackOverflow, Google, other people you know. Someone’s run into this before.
Speak it out loud. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just started talking out loud about the X to someone, just as a sounding board, and all of a sudden, it dawns on me what I was missing.
If you can, teach it to someone, even if they already know what you’re saying. It will help you understand a little better.
Coding is amazing. It’s not for everyone, but everyone should at least try. At the very least, you will have a better understanding of what you’re asking someone to do.
When I started at my current job, I felt like I was coming home. Everything that I’ve learned since has cemented that feeling to me. I just wish I had discovered coding and stuck with it sooner!