There are plenty of questions everyone is asking themselves before they get started with programming. For me personally it was something I had never really tried before. But along the way, I’ve found an answer to everything I wanted to know. I learned how to teach myself to code.
In this post I shall go through some questions I had before I decided to embark on my journey towards becoming a developer. I’ll shed more light on what initially made me interested in teaching myself to code. I’ll discuss the following points:
- What kind of a background do I have?
- How did I become interested in coding?
- What do I want to achieve?
- How about future career opportunities?
1. More on my background
I’ve always enjoyed learning new things and keeping my brain busy. I love acquiring new skills that can help me and others around me.
In school, I had fun learning both math and creative stuff. Later on, choosing Economics as my major at university let me push my skills even further. Eventually, I found myself possessing quite a powerful, analytical mindset. So I wanted to combine all these abilities with something that I had a passion for.
As for my career so far, I’ve had the opportunity to further develop my skills in problem-solving and creative thinking. I’ve focused on crunching numbers and developing new ideas for improving bottom-line performance. I’ve learned how to analyse things thoroughly. I enjoy taking all potential factors into consideration and aiming at an optimal outcome at the end. Controlling for all these variables and monitoring the progress along the way is what I do best.
However, as I’ve learned, things don’t always go my way when it comes to the technical solutions available. Sometimes I just don’t know enough about how some programs work.
Although, pretty often I’m sure my spreadsheets are simply trying their best to aggravate me.
So some time ago I started to think it would be really cool to understand how all this tech around us actually works. I mean, there’s code everywhere I look! So I thought I could perhaps make the most of my blessing of sometimes thinking like a machine by making a machine think like me.
2. What made me interested in coding?
It took me a while to ponder over where to start. Soon I began looking into what programming and computer science are all about. I had always been interested in it, after all. But for some reason I didn’t really come to think it would be an option to learn it myself.
However, I quickly discovered a number of sources that were all unanimously convincing me to get started. Their sweet-talking focused on some pretty alluring incentives such as:
- widely available, inexpensive resources
- exciting career opportunities
- improved skills in problem-solving and creativity
- inspirational personal stories
To dive a bit more into detail, let me say a few words about each point.
The abundance of resources
As it turned out, coding is a skill that has an unbelievable pool of resources available online. I couldn’t believe how many online courses, free material, discussion forums, and support sites I found!
The exciting career opportunities
I found plenty of articles discussing the future of software development and the career opportunities and prospects. Just take a look at Business Insider’s 6 tech jobs with most growth potential for 2017.
Even if you don’t need to do any programming yourself, it’s good to know how your colleagues in IT think. Let alone knowing what they are capable of. Or what sorts of IT-driven solutions your company can develop for its customers.
Improving my problem-solving and creative skills
While gathering my thoughts and wondering what to make of all this I thought about the skills I already possessed. And most importantly, the ones I really enjoyed utilising in the past: logical thinking, problem-solving, creativity. These were the defining words in most blog posts I read through.
I didn’t need to look much further to make up my mind.
The inspirational stories
Finally, what inspired me the most was reading through a number of blogs and articles.
I found all these amazing people who told their stories about how they had succeeded in transforming their lives and careers. These individuals had such diverse backgrounds, too. They had all found a way to make use of their past experience for their future aspirations with programming.
I wanted to do the same thing!
Tech is here to stay. It’s everywhere and its ever-growing presence and complexity is definitely making its mark on the job market globally. People who have a genuine passion and ambition for topics they’re learning about usually deliver excellent results. Not to mention a steep learning curve. The possibility that I could discover a hidden passion and potential in myself felt very enticing.
Eventually it seemed like the entire world was trying to encourage me to get started and join in. So that’s exactly what I did!
3. What do I wish to achieve?
It’s been a few months since I started to teach myself to code with Python as my first language. It’s easy to see how different my expectations and personal goals are now from what they initially were.
— See also: How to Choose Your First Programming Language
At the beginning, I though it would take months or years to develop something functional and useful. Creating a fully functional web application was my long-term goal and challenge for myself. I would create the functionalities, a database for user profiles, and a beautiful user interface. It was something I really wanted to create and build.
— See also: What Is a Web Application?
Soon after having started with Python Crash Course I realised how easy it really was to learn new things. All you need to have is the motivation and drive to do it. The book is just awesome, by the way.
Apart from the web app, I really wanted to learn how to approach problems in a new way. In a way where I would divide a problem into smaller bits more effectively. This would allow me to figure out a solution piece by piece. In other words, learning how to manage projects, big or small, was one significant goal for me.
For my long-term goals, I’m currently looking to focus more on web development. It encompasses so many aspects of programming that I find interesting and have the most fun with.
There are plenty of courses being offered online with a focus on web development, with both free and paid content. I can fully recommend the course I’m enrolled in and having a lot of fun while making good progress. Check it out, it’s The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 on Udemy.
4. How about future career opportunities?
So there’s always the prospect of becoming an attractive candidate for a number of jobs in the future. To be honest, that is one significant motivating factor, too. However, I find it’s better to focus on doing what you enjoy in life in general. Intrinsic motivation gives us the most patience and determination.
Thinking about how your salary might jump once you learn a new skill isn’t going to take you far. It could easily lead to frustration and lack of motivation in the long term. And motivation is something you’ll be needing. A lot of it.
If programming proves to be your thing, you might be able to do freelancing. You would have more autonomy and flexibility in your career. Simultaneously you could improve your work/life balance.
What’s important is that you genuinely enjoy what you’re doing. As they say, the appetite grows with eating – and the tastier the food the hungrier you get.
To put it in a nutshell:
- I’m teaching myself to code because it’s fun.
- I’m doing it for me.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear what got you interested in coding, how your got started and what your goals are.