Class starts tomorrow!

In the past few months, I have been teaching myself how to web-develop part-time (Note: “to code” seemed like only a part of the puzzle, the verb “web-develop” felt like a more accurate description).  This has involved sitting alone in my apartment either obsessively watching videos of how the Internet and data structures and sorting algorithms work, successfully and unsuccessfully pushing things onto Github, trying to arbitrarily hack at CSS hoping that it will center my content, attempting to solve ridiculous Ruby problems, and pulling my hair out after realizing that the only error in my JavaScript was a missing semi-colon.  Also, it admittedly has involved a lot of getting side-tracked and watching YouTube videos of unlikely interspecies animal friendships and wondering where two hours of my day went.

It’s been exciting, and at times I have even surprised myself about how much I was addicted to fixing bugs or figuring out an algorithm that I was initially convinced I wasn’t capable of solving.  I sometimes visualize certain levels of my brain being unlocked whenever this happens (most likely a side-effect of downloading Monument Valley recently and the gamified design of many educational CS applications).

When making my Rock, Paper, Scissors app last month, I felt a compulsion that I hadn’t felt in a while.  I was enjoying this work and felt confident in my ability to get better in the future.  I also realized how fun it could be to both design & develop your own application.

Tomorrow, I will finally be able to do all of these things with the guidance of mentors and the camaraderie of about twenty-five of my classmates.  I’m pretty psyched, for lack of a term that doesn’t make me sound like a SoCal surfer dude.  If it’s not apparent already, I am one of the annoying adults who always loved school, and thrive in a learning environment (Yeah, I always got invited to parties too….).

And of course, perhaps above feeling excited, I am scared. Anxious. Fearful.  Changing or developing a new career path is not the easiest thing to do, especially when you know that you’ll eventually have to compete for positions with people who are younger and more experienced than you.

However, I’m starting to see this as a positive, and I’m not only telling myself this repeatedly to quell any irrational anxiety of failure.

From afar, the tech industry seems intimidating and filled with precocious twenty year-old boys with glasses who build ‘disruptive,’ ‘innovative’ apps.  But from my experience dipping my toes into the water, my toes and sole/soul are still intact, for lack of a better metaphor.  I’ve noticed that for the most part, experienced techies are friendly and happy to share their knowledge with aspiring techies.  I’ve realized that the tech landscape is changing daily, which makes learning a new constant for the industry as a whole.  As long as you know the basics and are willing to work hard and learn,  it can be a friendly environment for newcomers (obviously some MAJOR caveats included depending on who these newcomers are).

Okay, I should go to sleep now rather than continuing this digression.  I’ll try and update tomorrow.

P.S. Happy MLK Day to everyone!  Without his leadership, I would not be the person I am today.  I will end with a quote that is mildly ironic to attach to this blog post, but is a good reminder that communicating with people is more important than communicating with computers.

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

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