Some time ago I signed up for a college course in HTML and CSS. I knew that I would have to give up my Saturday daytimes, but this wasn’t a problem as somewhere in the back of my mind I thought that this could help me in getting a job in I.T.
I was full of excitement and purchased a ton of books on the subject before the course began, I worked through the books and was pretty confident that I had grasped the basics in readiness for the course.
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, there 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 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 the 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 to code?
1. To keep my mind active
As well as writing this blog, I feel that learning to code will use my brain in ways that my job certainly cannot. There is a certain logic to coding and creativity that appeals.
This the look and feel of this blog not only comes with the addition of plugins but also with the tinkering of some of the template’s code behind the scenes.
2. The possibility of changing careers
I’m approaching 40 and don’t want to have done the same job as I am doing until I retire.
I want to wake up on a Sunday morning excited by the fact that on Monday I’m going to be going to a job that I enjoy and might actually make a difference to my employer.
I’ll admit it, I only have myself to blame for where I am now, knockbacks have probably knocked my confidence and as a result, I might have felt that I wasn’t good enough, which I know to be untrue!
I know there will be hurdles, not having a computer science degree, maybe being one of them, but I can’t let that put me off.
My current employer bases pay on a grading system, which I’m at the top of, with very limited opportunities to develop professionally or financially. I can tell you for sure I certainly don’t feel like I’m being paid what I think I’m worth.
In learning to code, I know that I could be potentially learning a skill that is in demand globally and enables me to earn more than I now make whether that’s as an employee or using my new found skills freelance.
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 believed that I would be better placed to decide which would be the best first language to learn.
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 many 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 understanding the concepts of programming that little easier as it is readable.
Opportunity to get to learn the syntax of different languages
In gaining an understanding of the concepts of Python I could move onto other languages.
Like anything, I guess, the more proficient you are in more than one thing the more employable you become.
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 not going to set myself unachievable targets that could dampen my enthusiasm for learning. I’m going to set a set myself several hours that I want to do within the week, more at the weekend when possible, whilst using the Pomodoro Technique to make sure that I don’t burn myself out.
Interesting times and hopefully the start of a new chapter in my life.