Today I can say that being a developer-both web and software, Im happy to have found a vision, a sense of fulfillment- if you will- in this industry. But it wasn't always like that. My path to becoming a developer/software engineer is bumpy. I've had my ups, downs, highs, and lows… times where I questioned whether or not this was for me. I thought about quitting multiple times and even temporarily stopped at one point during my journey.
Intro to Coding
My very first introduction to the industry was in 2017. My calculus professor from Baruch College, this course's memories and habits still stick with me today (micro math in my head to speed up solutions) brought up the idea. After a rigorous lesson(which was every time we met), the professor mentioned that "everybody should learn to code even if they don't want to do anything with it." It's "just something you should do," is what he said. He even invited people to come speak to him if anybody wanted any extra information regarding coding. So me and a few other students, surprisingly not too many of us, took up on that offer and were eventually given a few resources to learn about it. It must have been roughly a few days or weeks until I gave it a shot. I fired up CodeAcademy -one of the resources allocated to me if I'm not mistaken- and went through the simple process of learning the basics through a coding tutorial. The few challenges were learning inputs and outputs, getting data, printing out dates, and dealing with numbers. At the time, I liked it- but it must have been cause it seemed simple. Then came the more challenging parts, and I believe that because it wasn't my major then, I had given up so quickly. And never really looked back into it until about a year later.
The Breaking Point
I was in Baruch college studying to become an accountant. I was in my second year of the four-year degree but had not taken a single accounting class because of all the course requirements-hence me having to take calculus. This made me a bit jaded and upset that all the time spent learning and studying, but I had nothing to show for the career I thought I wanted. This caused me to look into other options. I researched jobs high and low. I didn't want to waste much time on something I wasn't 100% sure of. I looked into becoming a desktop support analyst and the road map to that. I dove into that for about a month, but I could tell I wasn't indeed into it because I felt it was not practical. It felt more about remembering certain things to move forward rather than putting to use what I've just learned. This is where I came across coding and programming languages.
I eventually transferred from Baruch to Borough of Manhattan Community College(BMCC). I enrolled in an Intro to Programming course as part of a Computer Science degree. My intro class at BMCC was during the fall of 2018, and I was excited. I had a fresh new start, and I could finally take a class at something related to my actual degree compared to a degree at Baruch. Nothing against Baruch, though. This is how I was introduced to the Python language.
At this point in time, I immediately knew this was what I wanted to do. I came to this conclusion because of the practical nature of the problem-solving skills needed. I passed the class, but it was the last course I had taken at BMCC. Unfortunately, the time required to focus on a computer science degree was not in alignment with the time I could dedicate- a full-time job with overtime along with other obligations. At that time, mentally, I was not in the right place. So, once again, I temporarily quit. Or at least put it to the side for the future in case I ever wanted to return to this career again.
In the fall of 2019, I wasn't 100% happy with my former workplace; I dreaded going to work every day. I decided enough was enough and, eventually, started to put the time into learning to code once again. I made my way over to Freecodecamp. I began to learn about HTML through the Responsive Web Design tutorial, and I can say that this is where I developed my passion for web development. Daily, I set aside time to further my progress and constantly make web pages via Codepen and local projects. I even went to the public library on my days off, sometimes before starting work, to focus my time on learning web development.
I steered more towards web development simply because I could see what I was doing all on one screen alongside the tutorial guide. It provided much-needed feedback and visual encouragement to directly see what my code was doing.
However, I wasn't as dedicated to becoming a better developer until I enrolled in a software engineering boot camp at Per Scholas(perscholas.org). Although I could complete the boot camp, I constantly suffered through the all-so-popular Imposter syndrome. I often thought I would not be able to make it through and contemplated quitting.
Fortunately, I gained motivation through vision and family members-mostly from my older sister. She continues to push me to improve myself to this day. To be honest, the pandemic proved to be a blessing in disguise; moving to remote sessions played a considerable role in finally taking that giant leap towards becoming a web developer. I am ultimately grateful that I was able to have the time to be able to focus my time entirely on becoming a developer/engineer.
Along this journey, I learned that my true passion is to be able to create something. I've always known that since I was young, but societal pressure pushed me to do what wasn't in alignment with what I felt. My passion for creating is what made me realize that being a web developer is currently my purpose. And for the time being, and as far as I know, it will stay that way for a very long time.
So for anybody reading this, if there's something I would want you to take away from this article, it is to remove doubts about new adventures or challenges. Take this mindset with you; there's a chance for failure, but failure can always come with lessons.
Furthermore, I will link the resources I have used that have helped me along my journey down below, should you feel that you are stuck somewhere or would like to take the giant leap, such as my younger self.
Resources for inquiring minds
Here are a few resources of many that have helped me become the developer that I am today:
- Great for introduction to HTML & CSS
- Awesome resource for coding and web development at FreeCodeCamp
- Great web developer tutorial for visual learners at Udemy by Colt Steele
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