Those two words on any other blog, are usually a filler. Here, a website with elements of web/software development and engineering, it’s completely appropriate.
Until I started developing more seriously, my experiences have mostly been on the business side of things: economics, finance (think capital markets, trading) and business analysis (working with data, incorporating IT solutions for business problems and more) sprinkled with some previous sparse web development experiences.
An Interest in Creating
I’ve always been a tinkerer. I’ve always enjoyed experimenting and I wanted to build really cool and meaningful things that solved problems (even if they’re trivial?). I’ve always wanted to build a business, or help build one with someone. I enjoy that stuff more, so I decided to jump into the software development arena. I want to create.
Now, I didn’t just wake up one day and said I was going to start coding things. It was actually something that developed over time.
I went to university for Business Economics. I really enjoyed the topic, but I was considering computer science too. I just enjoyed IT class, playing video games and keeping up with all things tech growing up.
Towards the end of university, I was fortunate enough to get some experience doing some web development work as a contractor. Consider it more of an intern/junior level experience though. HTML/CSS, some jQuery here and there. Mostly things like landing pages and the sort. Even then though, I remember how much I lacked in the CSS part.
An Experiment with Creating
With the advent of all sorts of web development and mobile application related tutorials and educational content and websites, I just had to give it a shot. I had no excuses not to try it out. It started with signing up for codecademy, some beginner frontend stuff with Treehouse and even some courses at Udemy. To be honest, I wasn’t learning too much. I was basically doing exercises in syntax, but not building anything or with any goals in mind. This is where I sought some intern/junior level work to help me get better understanding building web pages.
Fast forward to Fall 2015, it was one particular course at Udemy that helped me take things a bit more seriously in coding. It was a course on Swift and developing mobile apps for the iOS ecosystem. I really enjoyed the instruction and got far enough to build a basic calculator app for the iPhone. Heck, I had just invested in a MacBook so I could use xcode and develop apps (I had built a gaming desktop PC up to that point and owned another dust-collecting Windows laptop).
Unfortunately, I didn’t end up finishing that course. I can’t remember if I got stuck, or just slowly dropped off of it because Object Oriented Programming was not making sense to me at the time. There was some support from the instructor, but I didn’t really know where I was stuck either.
Conveniently, this is also when I started exploring other options in further education or professional designations (think MBA, CFA). So I could have been distracted with that too.
I started looking into coding bootcamps more seriously sometime in 2016. I knew they were a thing, and they were good at what they offered. It was a perfect opportunity for me. By now, I had realized how much coding I’ve done, how many times I’ve attempted it and what I’d like to do with those skills. More importantly, I realized I can’t teach myself to code with that much discipline, and get unstuck on my own. I needed some structure and guidance with my self learning journey. Even though I love what I did professionally as a Business Analyst, I love working on side projects too. Personal growth means everything to me. I could learn this stuff while I worked full time – Perfect!
So I signed up with Bloc in August 2016, to take on their Software Developer Track (EDIT: they’ve since changed how they structured their programs. A lot of the CS extras that I’m being taught are now add-on modules for their Web Development Track). I figured it’s perfect because not only will I learn some practical skills, I’ll be learning the good stuff from a computer science degree. Things like algorithms, data structures, etc.
It was an expensive decision, but I think it’s one of the best investments I’ve made in myself.
Speaking of investments…that’s something I know a thing or two about and will bring up in other posts.