Better Developer

Corey Prak

The Last Guide I’ll Write for People Who Keep Saying They Want to Start

This post is for a few of my friends who have repeatedly expressed interest in how to start programming, because no motivational post, success story, or flexing on instagram could make them start. I’m also just not interested in repeating myself anymore. I’d be gratified to know that I was able to get some “serial talkers” to do.

With that said, here’s a few steps on how to get started.

Step -1. Stop Worrying About Obstacles that Are Stopping You From Starting

In regards to the path of someone from a nonrelated background who doesn’t have a degree, unless you get hit by a car, there’s no unexpected obstacle that may stop you from achieving this goal of getting paid to code. Nothing.

So what if this effort might have pushed your brain to work harder than it ever did since College, or even High School… There are worse things. If you got as far as actually learning how to code, congratulations, you’ve just gained a very valuable technical skill that can go on your resumé. #impressive

“But I don’t have a degree, who would take me?”

There are more than enough employers that are out there who will take people who don’t have degrees. The point is getting the job done. Companies that value ability over a certification or peice of paper are the ones who you want to work for anways. They’re the ones who want to get shit done, and there’s many of them.

Really. You’d be surprised at the number of people in the field who do not have degrees, or even people who have degrees in totally different fields.

Check out this article that came out about a week ago which describes the companies and their job positions which don’t require a degree. Google and Apple are on that list.

“I don’t have the time, but I’m really interested”

If your reason for not starting is not having the time to do it, then you’re comfortable. Plain and Simple.

By that, I mean that you’re not uncomfortable with your life/situation to make any serious moves to change anything. I’m guessing that the prospect of making a life change in developing software is something that ‘would be nice’; you don’t get an ‘I gotta do this or I can’t live with myself’ kind of feeling.

That’s okay.

Right now might not be the best time to act then, which is real and totally understandable. At least from this point on, reasons of why you haven’t started or why you don’t decide to get serious about this is clear. No excuses, obstacles, or lack of resources and direction. It’s you.

I know there may be things outside our control that affect our success no matter what we do, limited access to time because of obligations such as children, etc, but for the ones who have the time? Who clearly have the time? You know who you are.

It’s said that when you desperately want something, the universe conspires to make it happen.

I really believe this… The universe will be ready when you are.

“I don’t think I can do it”

Awww man, it’s time to play “LET’S QUOTE SOMEONE FOR MOTIVATIONNNNN”!!! Who will be today’s wise person!?!

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

Aw man, who’s this?!? Wayne Gretzky with the follow up to a great motivation comboooooo:

(not hockey but whatever…)

“You Miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Seriously. You can’t say that you can’t do it until you really try it out. If you follow my advice in this blog post and aren’t able to complete it, then I’ll say it’s okay for you to think that you can’t do it.

Also, I’m pretty good at helping people. I bet that I could at least get you to invest enough time and effort to wonder if a career in Software Development is right for you.

Step 0. Realize it’s 100% Your Fault You Haven’t Started

There’s online courses that are free. You can even virtually attend real Harvard lectures taught by real Harvard Professors, learning alongside real Harvard students! People like me are out here creating youtube videos and writing blog posts on how to get started. Many of the resources have no bare minimum requirements of related or previous experience.

Here’s A link to that free Harvard course

NEVER in the history of humankind has it been easier to learn, and NEVER EVER EVER EVER (EVER) in the history of humankind has it been more awesome and acceptible to furiously twitch your fingers and get paid good money for it.

If you haven’t started yet, it’s 100% not because of a lack of resources. You just haven’t started.

I wrote a blog post on how to get started right here!!! Googling any kind of question related to getting started will bring you a metric crap ton of resources where you can ACTUALLY GET STARTED! Many for free. This is not fake news.

Step 1. Plan

Shave some time out of your busy schedule, probably a good two to three hours just to take things easy at first. One hour is fine too. Actually, whatever amount of time is going to make sure that you sit down for a little while and invest time into learning some rad new skills (hacking facebook, #JK #jaykay) to change your life for the better.

You might need some coffee.

Step 2. Friggin’ Start

My getting started page has about five or six different resources on how to get started. PICK ONE. PICK A RANDOM NUMBER WITHIN THE NUMBER OF RESOURCES and just pick one. If not, just Google something and start that.

If you really want me to pick for you, choose either CodeCademy or TreeHouse. I’m open to suggestions on this, but no matter what, you’ll be on your way to learning and even programming within the first few moments.

Take notes! DO NOT fill up pages and pages unless you’re really going to refer back to them. I usually just save links and copy snippets of articles. I’ll write summaries and small phrases too, whatever is going to save me some time in refreshing my memory. You can do any combination of that, just don’t let the note taking part of your learning bog you down.

Reading a technical book from cover to cover and taking pages of notes without a hands on approach doesn’t help at all. Also, don’t feel like you need to know or remember everything that you think is important. In the real world, you have your colleagues and Google. We are not minds that need to retain facts, but rather engineers who solve problems.

Step 3. Be Consistent

Keep going.

Keep planning to do more to learn, actually make good on those plans, then keep on doing that. How long? Enough so that you can either:

a) know that this isn’t for you

b) get to a point where you want to keep going and would like some direction

Please resist the urge to give up when things get tough. Make changes in your routine to reduce distractions. Develop a systematic way or debugging/tackling obstacles.Reach out to people in the community who are are at the same point in your journey and more experienced.

Thrive in the conflict. We grow so fast and so immensely from it.

You don’t get to give up or say it’s too hard or that you’re ‘too stupid’ for this if you haven’t applied all of the above.

If you do apply everything and do all you can and find that you have no interest in continuing, that’s when you can say it’s not for you. Without the excuses, without the blame, but with 100% confidence that this field is not for you.

Step 4. Contact Me or Seek Additional Resources and Guidance.

If you’re at this point, you’ve been somewhat consistent, and at the bare minimum you knew more than you did before I gave you direction. Congratulations!!!

In my opinion, working and being involved with people is the best and fastest way to grow. More than books or any other medium.

I really like the learn programming subreddit. Take just a few minutes to look at it, and you’ll see why.

There are tons of other subreddits too that can help, I’ll make it a point to put a list or something together.

As you may have imagined, when it comes to getting paid to code, there are other things that you need to worry about down the road. Applying for interviews, creating a resumé, writing cover letters, overall marketing, learning to utilize tools used in the industry, etc. We’ll get to it, don’t worry.

The universe will do that whole conspiring thing remember? Here’s me, writing this post, reaching to readers who want to improve and be freakin’ awesome. #hello #the-universe-is-knocking

Talk to me and other people in the Better Developer community directly on the Discord here