Some time a go I signed up to a college course in HTML and CSS. I knew that I would have to give up my Saturdays, but this wasn’t a problem as somewhere in the back of my mind I thought that this could possibly assist me in getting a job in I.T. I was full of excitement and purchased many books on the subject before the course began, I worked through the books and was pretty confident that I had grasped the basics.
Imagine my disappointment when on completion of the course we had not moved further on from the basics, information that I had already obtained in the books. The tutor knew his stuff and the other students attending appeared to be more than happy with their new found knowledge of HTML, unfortunately I was not.
With my new found knowledge of HTML and CSS I was able to create some awful looking websites. Regardless of how awful the sites that I created were, I knew that to make them better I would have to build upon what I had learnt .
Websites that were teaching HTML and CSS were few and far between, their was no Code Academy and no Udemy, so it was a case of connecting to the internet on my slow dial up and finding out whatever I could from what was available.
Where did my journey really begin?
I set up an online business and employed “professionals” to create the site, The site was expensive and to a certain extent didn’t really look much better than a site that I could have probably knocked up myself. The great thing about the site was that it was an opportunity to look through source code and make changes to some back-end code, predominantly PHP and MySQL.
In figuring out how to make changes on the fly I was able to save a lot of money , more than this being able to learn what I needed to make a website work the way that I wanted gave me a sense of achievement.
Why do I want to learn code?
I’m approaching 40 and cannot see myself doing the the same job what I am doing until I retire, if I ever do.
My current employer bases remuneration on a grading system and I’m currently at the top of my current grade, I cannot progress any further financially unless someone leaves or they decide to carry out a restructuring exercise.
In learning to code, like I did years ago, I know that I could be potentially learning a skill that is in demand globally and enables me to earn more than I currently make. Not only this I could climb a career ladder that is based on skill and knowledge and not whether someone leaves.
Not only is there potential to get a new job, away from work I don’t feel that I’m using my brain to its full potential. Coding will hopefully allow me to solve problems and get me thinking logically therefore keeping my brain active.
What language do I learn first?
This is probably a question asked by many wanting to learn to code. A quick search on Google pulls up over 10m results. I don’t believe though that is a question that can simply be answered by strangers on a forum. Anyone wanting to learn to code must first decide what they want to do with their new found skill.
The questions that I have personally asked myself before considering to learn to code have included, whether I wanted it to be a career or purely a hobby, and if I want it as a career, do I want to get into web development, create mobile apps or create full business solutions?
In answering these questions I would be better placed to decide which would be the best language to learn.
I don’t want to admit it, but I only have myself to blame for where I am in my career, I have probably been lazy and given up before even trying, always looking to chase a high paying job but not being so proactive to ensure that I had the necessary skills to warrant a job that pays above the national average.
I can say that the only time that I haven’t been lazy was when I had my own business. I wouldn’t think twice about getting up at 6am and not finishing until 1am the following morning. My mind was constantly thinking business and what changes I could make to the code to improve user experience.
I’m under no illusion that I’ll be the next Bill Gates or Zuckerburg, I think I’ve moved on from unrealistic dreams with age.
Why am I choosing Python as my first language?
Plentiful resources to learn online
Python is a relatively young programming language having been conceived in the late 80s. The language is growing in popularity and the Python community is extensive. As well as the community there are also numerous free and paid resources to learn python including Code Academy, Udemy, Learn Python the Hard Way
Teaches the basics of computer programming
There is no getting away from the fact, learning to program isn’t easy and anyone that says otherwise might be trying to sell their course.
Python’s syntax makes makes understanding the concepts of programming that little easier as it is readable.
Opportunity to get into different languages
In gaining understanding of the concepts of Python I could move onto other languages such Java
So what’s the plan?
I really want to learn to code, though but I’m conscious of the fact that I have a life to live. I am therefore not going to set myself unachievable targets that could dampen my enthusiasm for learning. Instead I want to going to set a goal a target of coding for 1hr a day minimum, more at the weekend and use the Pomodoro Technique to ensure that I don’t burn myself out.
I probably won’t update you on my progress, but might also change my mind and post updates on my progress.
Interesting times ahead and hopefully the start of a new chapter in my both my wife and I’s life.