Sunday, July 26, 2015

Intense week!

What a week! I don't even know where to start.

I completed the first coding challenge for App Academy. When I looked that the three problems, I was amazed. I didn't immediately know what the answers were, but I could feel myself walking through the solutions. This is something I have struggled with early on.

When it comes to writing some code to solve a problem, you have to be aware of every single step that takes place in order to solve it. I have always excelled at math and all forms of problem solving, but I did a lot of the work in my head. In fact, does anyone remember when the teacher would give credit for showing your work? That was actually a problem for me. I could just look at a question, and for the most part, end up with the answer without putting too much down on paper. Well that doesn't work for computers. The computer needs you to tell it every single step to take. I had to learn how to be conscious of my thought process. It has taken a lot of practice, but its clearly paying off.

I will definitely post updates with regards to the App Academy admissions process.

Another fun project I worked on all week was installing a version of Linux called Ubuntu on my computer. I had been doing all my work from a Windows machine, which I understand is not the preferred way to go about things. Since I can't afford to buy a Mac at the moment, I installed Ubuntu so that I can work in a very similar environment as Mac. I'll let someone else's blog explain all of that.

This ended up taking up most of my time spent on the computer for the last few days, but I can already see that it was worth the hassle.

One last thing I want to put out there is that I am very grateful to have started learning programming. My entire outlook and perspective on life has improved drastically. It has to have something to do with believing that this is the right career choice for me. I know that the road ahead is a long one, but the path has been well paved and it's definitely the one I want to be on.

Friday, July 17, 2015

So many variables!

In the short amount of time that I have been at this, I have devised seemingly hundreds of "paths" to take to become a developer. There are so many languages, text editors, frameworks, etc. that it can be overwhelming to think about. So I took some advice, and focused more on the type of programs I'd like to make: the type of work I think I'd like to end up doing. From there, I worked my way back.

I ended up deciding to take on Ruby. Since I am working on a Windows laptop (for now) I went ahead and used RailsInstaller to get everything up and running. It was quick and easy, with no hiccups whatsoever.

*Since I am new to all of this, I believe that doing as much from the command line as possible is best. However, I do not plan on working with Windows for much longer, and rather than spend a few hours trying to learn DOS and Powershell, I will do it the right way when I get that Mac

My immediate goal is to complete the application process for a web development boot camp called App Academy. I only know what I have read about them, so I won't turn this post into an advertisement. This would be the quickest, albeit absolutely toughest route to take to become a paid developer. Wednesday is my personal deadline for being fully prepared and taking the first coding challenge.

If I don't get accepted, it will not deter me one bit. I know deep down that this is what I want to do, and that with enough work I can get really really good at it. And I feel very fortunate to live in a time that all of the information I need is at my fingertips. There are countless stories of people who are self taught that now have rewarding careers as programmers. It's a beautiful thing.

It's getting late, and my brain is fried from 3 hours of studying. I have been working through Chris Pine's Learn to Program. Yes, I would definitely recommend it to a friend!

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hello World!

I know, I know: very unoriginal title. Well, it fits. I am starting this blog to record and share my experience as a 28 year old starting from scratch on a journey to learn computer programming and ultimately secure a job - a paying job - as a developer.

My life has been a series of ups and downs, twists and turns. Everything that has happened has lead me to this very post. For the first time in a very long time, I feel 100% in my bones that I have found what has eluded me for my entire adult life: a career path.

I am whats called a "Jack of all trades, master of none." I have a history of diving head first into something, only to get tired of it, or realize I can't be the best in the world at it, and quit. I have been doing this since as far back as I can remember,

So, for the past few weeks, I have been looking into what it takes to become a computer programmer. It honestly started from pure curiosity. Sure, I know some people in the field, and I understand the money can be great, but what got me looking into it was an article I read online. I don't even remember the name of the article. I read a lot. My head is full of useless information.

I followed links from the article on down the rabbit hole, and next thing I knew I was signing up for an MIT OCW Intro to Computer Science class. After 2 lectures, I was in love. And now, almost a month later, I am still in love.

So, this is my journey to become a developer:  Starting from scratch.