For someone who uses computers as an everyday user, getting involved with code and development sounds both scary and exciting at the same time. Though I used to think about computers as a tool that is necessary to achieve my day-to-day job (writing documents in Microsoft Word, creating simple relations and calculations in Microsoft Excel), I started to get curious about what is behind every programme, how does browsing the web work? What happens in the background when I click the subscribe button on my favourite page? What is the amount of work that is behind that simple button that the users interact with for merely a millisecond?
These thoughts drove me "slowly" to the world of coding. At first, when I started reading articles and watched a few videos on YouTube about coding, my jaw dropped when I saw the amount of information, programming languages and tools that are out there. This was just the tip of the iceberg (and trust me, even this tip contains a myriad of uninterpretable information to me for now 🙂 )
If you think about computers and applications a little bit deeper (and not as an everyday user) every single pixel, every button, everything that you see on your screen - even at this very moment - is there for a reason. It was developed by someone who turned a dull, blank page into something magical and added functionality to it. In my opinion, this is just like painting - someone has created something amazing only from a blank canvas using their imagination and creativity.
Roadblockers - or are they?
Are you any good at math?, and Isn't it unfortunate that you didn't learn this "thing" in school? are the first two questions that I get asked by my friends, family and current colleagues over and over again when I tell them that I'm interested in web development. These assumptions couldn't be further from the truth, and it's leading people to some incorrect conclusions.
I think for some things, schools are not necessary. If you are interested (and I mean, really, really interested), plus if you are dedicated enough, you can learn to code by yourself, especially with the open world of the Internet, where every piece of information is a few clicks away.
I wouldn't say that math is strictly needed for coding, but they certainly have a connection since math is also trying to teach you logical thinking - something crucial for coding as well.
Note that there are of course some programming languages or situations when math is an absolute necessity, but for creating a basic web page, you won't need to know how derivation and differential algebra works.
A different world
When I started learning how HTML works, I took my headphones out, put my favourite songs on shuffle and started typing weird-looking angle brackets. I was able to create something and saw the end result appear on my screen. This was a magical moment, which made me want to learn to code even more.
I know that many people who already work in IT wouldn't agree with the above statement as programming is not only about creating as there are things like debugging and other tasks which can make a developers life miserable, but it is always a matter of perspective. Just think about the religious war about working from home versus working from an office. The world of coding, the feeling of creation is what caught me at first. There are no limitations to create (except for the rules of the actual programming language and the potential self-imposed restrictions).
If you want you could make a pink dancing elephant as your cursor on your page, or potentially do and creating something more useful 🙂. Everything is just a matter of time and patience. I know it sounds like a cheap motivation speech, but anyone who puts enough time and energy into coding, could achieve anything literally. To me, this is the real advantage of programming, because your projects will only depend on you, and not on others. You are responsible for your work, and you will also know your limitations. In this job, if you put 100% effort, the final "product" will come out just as you planned it to be. While in other fields, where you are just a cog in the machine, if others put 90% effort in the project, it doesn't matter if you do your best, at 100%, the result would still be an imperfect project.
Learn, learn, learn
The constant development and the size of this field could also be scary, and people may think "Oh, I'm never going to acquire the necessary skills for programming", but it's just like working at any department of a company. For example, in a logistics company, the warehouse manager doesn't have to know the job of the transport planners as deep as he knows his job. You have to pick the right segment from the world of programming - the one that is the most fitting for you. If you are a full-stack web developer, you don't necessarily have to know how machine learning works. If you would like to programme displays on trains (why not!?), then you wouldn't need to understand how CSS works.
I also believe that, even though some people may find the constant learning that comes naturally with the world of programming a daunting task, I find continuous self-development motivating. People have no chance to get bored with their daily jobs because there are always new opportunities to learn.
Because of the constantly growing nature of this field, one could ensure a stable career with many opportunities for progression as well. Web pages and web applications are already involved in our everyday life; our lives would be much more difficult without them. How easy is it to buy a concert ticket, check the train schedule on the Internet? Have you already seen what Smart TVs are capable of, not even mentioning Smart Fridges! Developers behind these applications are working on such innovations every day, and they help us to have a better and more comfortable life.
I will record my learning progression on this blog and for now I can only hope that this post will make others feel like they want to give coding a go, or at least it will be useful for other beginners to get motivated by an absolute newbie, who is jumping headfirst into the world of web development. See you at the deep end! 🌊👋