My Journey of Learning How To Code
About 2 years ago I started my journey of learning to code. There is no doubt that I'm still in the middle of this journey. The more I learn, the more I realize that it is actually a never ending journey. Coding is an area where new developments keep you busy learning all the time.
In 2011, I launched my first website to sell fishing line direct to consumers on Wordpress with the help of some family members. They had already worked on a Network Solutions website, which was later migrated to Magento, that sells diesel parts.
Though I was very resistant at the time, my father was the one who prompted me to work with family members by outsourcing my web development efforts to them. One of the most valuable lessons that I continue to learn from my father is how to work with people. He has a knack for this.
My First Website
When my website launched, I began to envision all of the features that my website could have. My imagination launched into a world of possibilities and a never ending stream of features from my head begged to be heard. But the development and implemenation of these ideas were not only slow, they began to get very expensive. This combination only frustrated me further, which worsened my relationship with the developers as I pushed to do more and was consistently disappointed with the progress that was being made.
Expanding the Possibilities
In 2013, through my girlfriend's mutual friend, I met a young and enthusiatic developer, James Walters, who was thinking of starting a web development company in Miami called Biscayne Software. I thought to myself, what a great opportunity for me to begin to build and apply some of my imaginations! We met many times during the development of the website and he became my first mentor in technology. He is now our CIO, and we have lots of projects moving forward and have increased our user base by well over 1000% since we began this project.
A Drive To Learn
Code was beginning to interest me because it seemed like there are always barriers between me and my ideas. Whether it be budget, time, or others. It was time to learn some things myself. I would definitley not be touching the code base because it was being used by customers and they were paying. A down site could be devastating to our cash flow and to our customers ideas of realiabillity of our product.
So I began my own journey into coding. At the time I was pursuing my MBA at the University of Miami and got some advice from a friend, Harrison McGuire, who's also the founder of Several Levels Technology. He pointed me in the direction of Codecademy. I haven't seen him since we graduated two years ago, but I have to thank him for helping me find an initial entry point into my code learning process. Codecademy gave me the hand holding I needed to get started. It was a gentle introduction into the world of code.
One of the greatest features of the Codecademy platform is that with a pro-membership, you can talk to people who can work through the code with you live. It was a great feature back when I needed that much hand holding.
Dabbling In R
Right around the time that I was experimenting with R, I was taking a number of statistics courses using R programming language at the Unversity Of Miami. The statistics was fascinating for me and R was the first programming language that I used practically. R is an open source project mostly used for research in academia. It's free to use and it is extremely powerful.
The data visualiation above is from this project.
The way that we used R was mostly in real time. Load a data source, install some pre-programmed packages, and use those packages to run some sort of data analysis on our data. From a programming standpoint, R familiarized me with talking to the computer through my keyboard, and loading pre-programmed items from other computers using my keyboard.
Formal Coding Education In Code
For the past year I have been learning a lot through the Bloc platform. This is a well thought out platform that was funded by Silicon Valley VC firm, Shasta Ventures, whose principal Nikhil Basu Trevedi took special interest in and became a board member of.
I think one of Bloc's strength is that it has a workflow for assignment submissions through GitHub. This is a great platform to train developers to work on larger software projects. I have adapted a similar workflow in my company for creating new releases to our website.
Another strength of Bloc is the mentor you get along with your coding course work. You get to work with an experienced coder who can give you perspective on the projects that you are working on. You can also communicate with your mentor via Slack.
I'm still working through the Bloc Software Development Program and am enjoying learning through it.
Finding Mentors From All Over The World On Codementor
I found codementor.com during my course work at Bloc. I'm a deep learner and I like to dig deep into the material. That being said, having one mentor on Bloc was just not enough! Codementor allowed me to meet coders around the world and gain their unique perspectives on the code I was working on.
One of the key insights that I have found while working on Codementor is that different regions have high concentrations of coders that work in certain languages. For example, when working in Ruby, I often found myself working with coders from Africa; when working with CSS, I often found myself working with someone from India. Unix and server type issues I often found myself working with people from Eastern Europe. I have also found that my code mentors from the United States tend to understand the general frameworks and are more impromptu coders. Overall, I'm having a blast on Codementor, and think they should pair up with Bloc — it would make a great partnership and would improve profitabillity for both companies.
By no means am I anywhere close to the end of my code learning journey. In fact, I believe there's no end to this journey. Thankfully, throughout my code learning journey, I've met some really awesome people and discovered very helpful tools and communities.
I hope my journey will inspire you and that you will find your own unique ways to learn how to code as well!