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What I Learned Teaching Myself To Program

It's been an interesting few years. Long story short, I quit my job a few years ago. I was terrified and had no clue what I was doing with my life. All I knew was that I was not happy. After a short hiatus, I decided I was going to teach myself how to program. I was fortunate enough to grow up with a computer in my room as a child and always enjoyed playing with one. I took some programming classes in high school (basic HTML), but never really kept up with it. I decided to give it a serious go.

First There Came Python!


I did what any person of the 21st century does—I hit Google. The query probably went something like "how to teach yourself to program." Somewhere along the way, I came across Learn Python The Hard Way. I didn't have a clue what I was doing! Change your environment variables, make sure you can run the Python interpreter, variables, for-loops, and functions. Don't even get me started on Object-Oriented Programming! I'm pretty sure I read this book twice because I came across the same files scattered throughout my computer about a year ago. I'd be lying if I said I could do anything with what I "learned." I spent some time on sites like Hacker Rank and Project Euler. I told myself that's what programmers do: they solve crazy brain teasers that require serious math chops. After a while, I quit! I said, this is too hard. I'm not smart enough. Maybe I should just go back to my old job. Maybe I didn' t say it. I did think it though. 

Then There Came IT

System Admin

Once again, I hit Google. I started Frankensteining my college desktop into a custom built computer, one I still run to this day. I downloaded Oracle's Virtual Box, Microsoft Server ISOs, a stupid amount of Linux distribution ISOs, and even bought some older Cisco routing and switching gear. I learned about IP addresses, subnets, and Windows Domain Administration. I installed, wiped, and reinstalled so many times I can't even remember. Slowly, I constructed a test lab. While doing so I convinced someone to give me a job. Another long story short, I somehow got back into programming, but I learned some good troubleshooting skills here.

Finally Came JavaScript

JavaScript Logo

What's my favorite programming language? Hands down, JavaScript. Probably something ridiculous to most programmers. Don't get me wrong, it has some serious problems with it, but man is it powerful! JavaScript is where it all started making sense to me. I could make things, I could put them in front of the people who thought I was crazy when I first started teaching myself. Looking back to when I first started UCF Programming Bootcamp, I could actually do a lot! I was busy giving our homework assignments a HTTP server and database (Node.js & MongoDB) when it wasn't required. The entire time, I was telling myself, you did it—you finally did it. I kept improving throughout the course and I continue to improve today because I seriously dig this stuff! At least now I get out on the weekends ;)

Moral of the story is this. If you ever feel like giving up because it's too hard, just keep at it. When you're struggling that's when you're learning the most. I can't help but feel like this applies to all facets of life. Thinking about teaching yourself to program? Check out some of the stuff I linked to above. It sure helped me.