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When in doubt, learn to code

min read

“I taught myself how to program computers when I was a kid, bought my first computer when I was 10, and sold my first commercial program when I was 12.” 

           Elon Musk  

The past, the present and the future of coding

In 1954, FORTRAN was invented at IBM and it was the first widely used high-level programming language, fast forward to today, hundreds of other programming languages were created, and the number will keep growing as technology evolves. 

As we all know since the start of the Internet, programming is one of the fastest growing industry where the need for people is ever growing, and with help of the internet, this is the best opportunity one can have to learn to code, especially with 2021 COVID-19 situation where people are forced to stay inside and having extra time on their hands. 

The demand for this industry is so high that some companies actually pay people to teach them to code. If you ask me, you couldn’t ask for more. 

Why should you become a programmer?

I always thought that programming requires you knowing math and only few can develop this skill. Well, the first part is somehow true, but having so many options to choose from, you don't need to take that path, if you take me for example, I was never good at math, but that didn’t stop me to become a front-end developer, where the accent is having a good eye for design and a create good user experience. 
There are a lot of paths you can take or choose from based on what you like to do, from artificial intelligence, creating API’s to testing video games or even be part of developing them, the list is endless. 

Is programming for anybody?

No, definitely not, programming is not for everyone… You need to enjoy sitting in front of the monitor for hours, constantly staying up to date with the industry, and getting frustrated with random bugs appearing for no reason.  

If you feel like this is not for you, then you shouldn’t force yourself to learn it. But if you ask me, you can always give it a try because, there will always be something else to do if it doesn’t fell right, but you never know where you will land if you just start. 

Focus is important!

When learning to code, focus and discipline are everything, these are the essential things that can make or break a future programmer...  

It’s easy to deviate from the initial learning plan and try to learn everything at once or get demotivated because it’s overwhelming when you first getting started, but one important thing is to have a goal/vision in mind of why this is important for you to succeed, so don’t give up! 
One advice I can give here, is try not 2x speed run every tutorial video you can find on YouTube, that didn’t work that good for me, just stick to the basics (data types, functions, loops, ajax), once you know the basics start coding, a lot! 

Where should you start?

Learning JavaScript would be the best and easiest way to start coding, almost every webpage on the internet uses JavaScript for some purpose or way, thus there is a lot of material for you to learn from and also a sheer number of jobs available on the market to choose from. After you have learned the basics, the next thing to do is to start getting into a framework (Vue, React, Angular) which is the standard for today’s time -> Vue and React being more popular and easier to learn. 

It is not always necessary to use a framework, but it’s one of the tools that can help you develop software better and faster. Frameworks will take some complexities away from you and let you focus on writing the business logic, thereby saving development time. 

Now that you know how to code, time to get you first interview/internship 

Because of the lack of experience and not knowing what to expect from an interview, you should play the numbers game and try to apply to as many internships as possible until you get an opportunity, the law of large numbers should come in play where the expected result will tend to become closer to the desired result as more trials are performed. 

It doesn’t matter how many interviews you failed, what matters is to get one opportunity and then take as much advantage as you can from there. 

What I can tell you, is that the employer appreciates more an individual that is motivated to learn, rather than one that may know more but doesn’t have the same drive. 

Some of the things you can expect from your first year as a programmer?

At times it will be hard and frustrating, but it’s something to expect for someone with no previous experience and a lot of lost ground to recover, but keep in mind, things will only get easier the more code you write, the trick is to hang on through hard ‘times’ and acknowledge the progress you made from where you started. Impostor syndrome is very common thing between programmers, so remember that.

Once you accumulate 1 - 2 years of experience you are basically set for life, there will be always someone to hire you. 

In conclusion

Learning to code was the best decision I took, the only regret I have is not starting sooner. 

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