I Never Thought I Would Become A Programmer One Day

Growing up I was just a regular boy. I was never good at science or maths. I like to break things apart, but I wont call myself a tech nerd. So how did a regular guy like me turn into a programmer, coding things from scratch?

Let’s be honest here, programming is not that easy. It takes discipline and repeated effort to code something on your own, build a thing which actually works. I never thought someday I would turn into a web developer and actually code in this weird language.

Please note: I am using the words “coding”, “development”, and “programming” interchangeably in this article, although they all have very different meanings. But you get the point!

When I get the chance to talk to people who are new to code, it reminds me how it felt when I was just starting out.

Some time ago, I met this guy at a conference. It was not a developer conference, it was more like a marketing one. While talking with him, he learned about my web development work and how I became a self taught web developer.

Knowing that, he expressed to me that he can never ever learn to code:

You know Tamal bro, I can never learn how to code. I just don’t get it!

So instead of comforting him by saying how everyone can code, how easy it is and all that, I told him:

“You are right, you won’t get it. I was just like you many years ago when I just couldn’t understand all the code.”

“HTML code looked like Chinese text to me.”

“All I did was just copy and paste bunch of codes and put it all together.”

“But as I built many websites, I slowly started to get it.”

Hearing my words gave him comfort, and I think after that day he will see programming in a different light.

When I got started into building websites, I came across all the free resources like blogs, tutorials and W3Schools. But I didn’t even had the skill to read and learn from the documentation.

For me it took a while to condition myself into a programming mindset to finally understand how to code things.

It didn’t happen magically just by watching a few tutorial videos or completing a course. The real journey was different. To help you track how I got so far, here is a quick highlight of my learning over the years:

  • Early days: I used website builders and MS FrontPage to build websites. Used Flash to create interfaces.
  • Blogger/blogspot days: Copy pasted code from various places to design sites.
  • WordPress days: Used little HTML & PHP code to change various design elements. Once again, I copy pasted from the web.
  • Thesis theme days: I used the Thesis Theme to build designs. Learned little CSS to customize the websites but most of it was copy-pasta.
  • Codecademy: Took my first formal programming lesson with the Hour of Code. Took formal lessons on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery and PHP from Codecademy. Built my first “Thing” with JS.
  • WordPress themes: Built my first WordPress theme and got it approved to the theme directory. This is when I started to call myself a real web developer.
  • Modern times: I made my mind to pursue a career in web development/programming. I am learning how to build web applications with Node.js and JavaScript.
  • In 2019: I am studying to become a software engineer.

As you can see, I spent a long time just copy and pasting bunch of code from the internet.

Taking formal courses gave me a bird eye view over the subject but it did not instantly turned me into a pro. It took repeated effort and practice to master various things.

Now I see my learning curve is getting shorter. I am learning new technology faster as I practice more.

So if there is anything you can take from my story: everyone learns differently. If you want to do this kind of thing, give it a shot. If you really love to program, you will learn it eventually (no matter how long it takes).

Photo credit: Hitesh Choudhary

4 Comments on “I Never Thought I Would Become A Programmer One Day”

  1. Well done !! It’s a proof that only hard persistent work, grinding and patience can lead to success! Go for it!

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