My Journey: From a Code Newbie to Advanced Beginner

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Are you looking to dive into the exciting world of coding and technology but don’t know where to start? Do you want to code your own app but have a full time job and a family to look after? Read on as I tell you about my story to on how I got into this exciting field! But before we move on:-

Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.

A little background

I’ve always been fascinated with technology and got into computers at an early age. I got my first computer when I was in 10th grade. Initially, all I did was play games all day. But I took a computer science class 11th grade and just fell in love with programming. I even built my school’s website! Woohoo!!

But life had other plans. After graduation I got into a totally unrelated field. But the nerd in me never died. Even though I have a full time job which pays well (according to Indian standards at-least) the programming bug never went away.

Starting troubles

My job is demanding in time and energy, both physical and mental. So when I decided that I wanted to re-learn programming, I had to allot my time wisely. I started with HTML and CSS and built a simple website. I was ugly, not mobile friendly and had not JavaScript. But boy was I proud of my work! This was back in 2016.

Fast forward a year and life got in the way. I had some time consuming job assignments and programming fell by the wayside. However it was still at the back of my mind.

Getting back on track

2020 is the year that we’re all gonna remember as the year of the pandemic. Like everybody else, I too was stuck at home. Due to the hands on nature of my job the workload greatly reduced. So now I had time to rekindle the flame of coding.

I signed up on Udemy and bought Colt Steele’s Web Developer Bootcamp. It’s a great course and became the foundation of all I learnt thereafter. I started with basics i.e. HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The course also covers node.js and I had a great time learning that too.

Getting stuck in tutorial hell

After completing Colt’s course I felt pretty comfortable in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. However, I didn’t consolidate my learning my building personal projects but took one Udemy course after another. And the cheap price tag didn’t help either! I learnt JavaScript and CSS again, Node.js, React, Wordpress, Next.js and the list goes on.

Although I’d spent hundreds of hours learning new stuff, I had no practical knowledge. Every time I sat down to make a personal project I just froze. I would stare at the blinking cursor of my code editor and all the knowledge that I’d acquired just went out the window.

Coming out of the rabbit hole

This is when I realised that I needed to stop learning new things and first apply my knowledge. So I started to make small projects. Projects like todo list, calculator, landing page etc.

I know this sounds clichéd but working on your own projects is THE most important thing you can do. It’s been talked about so much but so many newbie developers (like myself) don’t follow this simple piece of advice and waste a lot of their time.

The 10 commandments of becoming a developer

  • Start with the very basics. In my case it was HTML and CSS.
  • Pick a language to learn (JavaScript and Python are good first choices). Don’t go too deep. Switching from one language to another is fairly easy.
  • Build a lot of trivial apps just for the heck of it. This one step is going to supercharge your learning process X10.
  • Build small things like a todo list app, a calculator, tic-tac-toe game etc to apply your knowledge.
  • Don’t try to learn everything at once.
  • Code for an hour each day.
  • Try to allot a specific time where you code each day.
  • Remember the famous saying:-

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

  • Take one technology. Learn it enough. Build something. Throw it away. Rinse. Repeat.

So that’s all for today. As you can see, I’ve made some common mistakes that can be totally avoided but made them anyway. I hope you take a leaf out of my book and don’t repeat these mistakes. At last, remember:-

From keepcalmandposters.com

I learn something new everyday so you don’t have to.