I don’t intend on this being a particularly long post, but I have to admit that having patience in learning to program and understanding the differences in front end v. back end v. full stack development is definitely proving to be a challenge. Not one that I cannot take one, but given my extreme desire to work in programming for a living, I want nothing more to just be there already. But I did have a humbling moment flying home this past Friday.
I was in a middle seat, and in gentleman sitting in the aisle seat pulled out his computer after a few hours in flight and got on a group chat, Github, sublime text, and a host of other applications, all the while writing/editing code for something I was not able to determine in my pathetic attempts to snoop while appearing to be so engrossed in my Angry Birds Seasons round. He flipped from screen to screen so rapidly and his command of the programming language that he was working in was definitely apparent. I had wanted to strike conversation about programming with him. but decided against it, considering that he was paying by the hour for in-flight wi-fi, I assumed that this had to be something time-sensitive, as he spent the greater portion of the flight working on it. I have read stories about people who went from prior non-technical careers and learned to code, many of sheer interest in expanding needed career skills and others out of a means of survival and financial freedom. I know I fall into a mix of both, with more emphasis on the latter. I enjoy working in supply chain, but the lack of the intellectual challenge (and that started even before I took a rotation assignment in engineering) drove me to seek a more technical outlet that involved less MBA-style “problem solving” with way too many variables, and subsequently 1001 possible results, all of which are contingent upon the approval of my management/lead. With coding, there may be a few ways to accomplish a task, but in no way is incorrect code going to result in a correct answer, regardless of what my superiors might think. I would describe myself as being pretty smart, and I know that if I make the time for the effort and apply myself, there is not much that I cannot do. Only my (sometimes short) attention span would kill that effort. Luckily, that is not the case.
Considering that I have attempted to learn to program on many occasions before, I figured that becoming proficient enough to work as a programmer/developer was far out of reach because I did not make enough time to learn. Now that I sometimes feel that the “skills” that I have acquired at my current company are not enough to get me employed at Walmart, I have made a point to learn and practice to code. I am currently using Treehouse to learn Ruby on Rails, with the aim of doing at least a few modules per day when possible, and even squeezing in a few while on vacation this last week. I am nowhere near the level that I would hope to be at, but I think that can be attributed to my impatience at wanting to just “get to the good stuff” and being mentally drained by work for many months, but I continue to complete this program, module by module. Short of going back to school for computer engineering/computer science degree, which my research of current forums has shown is nothing more than a lesson in theory, self-learning is really the only option I have, even if that means using an online learning tool or going step-by-step with a book, or both (which I am currently doing). Even most coding bootcamps are out of the question due to the price and time commitments, although I have learned of a few more affordable and flexible options that I am still debating, as none can really guarantee that I will be ready for a web development/programming job immediately upon successful completion of the program. I was privileged enough to sign up for an account for free through The Muse (best thing EVER), and want to get the most out of the $49/month access that I am getting for $free.99. I sent the link to many of my friends and family that might be interested, but I am not sure who actually signed up and use(d) it. I know I am getting someone’s money worth. Thanks The Muse!
I know that I need to find a project that fuels my learning and allows me to build on the knowledge that I am obtaining. I know that I want to create an app or website, but at the moment, nothing of any real value to me is coming to mind. I intend on doing more research online for beginner projects using Ruby on Rails, and using that to build my portfolio on Github. I know that my profile is sure to be one of millions of weak profiles that hopefully don’t get shut down due to low (or pitiful) uploads. We’ll see. A couple modules from now is a lesson in Github.
Now that I got that out of my system, I am recommitting to getting the most out of my Treehouse membership and working toward building this skill so that I too can be like the gentleman on the plane who knows that not-so-secret coding language that appears to be the key to it all. Wish me luck!