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Arash Emadi
Arash Emadi

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My coding journey will help you start yours!

So you're new to coding... Or you're still trying to understand if coding is right for you or not...

After all, shouldn't all programmers be math geniuses and get a CS degree just to become interns?!

Well, as a self-taught senior full-stack developer who has been coding for over 9 years and is leading a team of 6 developers, I can tell you that absolutely ANYONE can become a developer!

Regardless of your age, gender, knowledge of math, wealth, education and/or anything else you've believed or been lead to believe is a roadblock in becoming a developer, if you simply enjoy sitting behind your computer and writing lines of code which will then be converted to a website or an application, coding is for you and you can definitely become a developer (or coder, or programmer, or whatever you wanna call it 😁).

In this post, my goal is to share a summary of my coding journey with you and to encourage you to either START or CONTINUE yours.

My overall goal of being present online, whether it's here or Twitter, is helping other developers start, continue, grow and succeed!

Ok enough chitchat, let's start the main event! 😜

I was lucky enough to be introduced to the world of computers at a very young age. I first saw a computer (my uncle's) when I was 7 and I got my first computer (as a gift from my grandparents) when I was 11.

But years before getting my first computer, I started wondering about how computers work and how they're made. I spent my summers attending classes which explained in simple terms, what computers are and how they operate.

Even though I was very interested in computers, I never even thought about learning how to code or anything remotely close to that. I used my personal computer to study, write essays, and play.

Years went by; I went to high school and after my graduation, I started studying Network Engineering at the university. While network engineering sounds like a field of study you'd do a lot of coding in, it mostly has to do with hardware and the little programming you do has to do with routers and stuff related to network peers, etc.

As you can tell, I wasn't doing any programming and I had almost no connection with the software world. After finishing my studies, I found a couple of jobs related to my field of study, but they weren't so good.

One night, in 2011, I decided to look into other fields of tech in which I can self-study and possibly, land a job. The words "Programming" and "Development" came up a bunch of times. It was interesting, but I didn't really know much about it.

Then... I decided to watch a movie... A movie that got me interested in programming, and pushed me towards learning how to code and changed my life forever... That movie happened to be "The Social Network"!

I finished the movie at around 11:30 pm and I wanted to learn how to code the very same night! So I opened Google and I Googled "How to learn Perl?"... "But, why Perl?", you may ask. I chose Perl because, in the movie, Mark Zuckerberg uses Perl scripts to hack some of Harvard's servers.

I didn't even think to myself that the language used in the movie could be randomly selected and not even the real language used when those things were happening in real life. I was simply, too excited to start and learn! I was obsessed with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook and in general, programming!

After spending all night up, trying to set Perl up and get Perl to print out one line, I was able to write the simplest program and I was so happy I shared my code on Facebook.

a screenshot of my first program in perl

I was in love with programming! The fact that I could write a few lines of code and get my computer to say or do something blew my mind and I thought it's the coolest thing to do (same feeling I still have today)!

At first, the learning was super slow. I couldn't understand a lot of the concepts, and I couldn't get my code to do what I wanted it to.

As time went by, I found out that the job market demanded knowledge in other programming languages. It was hard for me to jump from one programming language -which was super hard for me to learn- to another, just to find a job.

But it was something I needed to do and after I did it the first time, I figured out that if you learn to program (programming principals, etc.) instead of learning one specific language, you can easily learn how to code in other languages.

So after Perl, I dove into the world of web development. I started learning HTML, then I learned how to style my ugly HTML code using CSS and then I made my cool-looking static HTML and CSS website way more interactive using JavaScript (I spent months learning these, but since I want to keep the post short, I just listed them back to back!) and after all of that, I decided to learn PHP.

At first, it was brutally difficult to find a job. No one wanted a developer with no real-world experience. Some job postings scared me away because they looked as if someone had copied and pasted a list of all programming languages and skills. "How can someone know and do all of these things?!" I used to ask myself.

But as time went by, I learned that I can prove myself and the work I do to employers, by building projects. I challenged myself by building these projects and by the time they were done, they would become a part of my portfolio.

This is why I encourage all developers to BUILD and not just to learn. Build projects, challenge yourself and demonstrate the result of your work on your portfolio. Hiring managers see these and I believe having a portfolio has a really positive effect on whether or not a hiring manager decides to even consider you.

I landed my first job in 2013! 2 years after I wrote my first line of code. If you're looking for a job and you're getting denied or ignored and you feel like you made a mistake choosing to code, all I can tell you is DON'T GIVE UP! That day will come and you absolutely WILL land your first job!

I've been coding for over 9 years and I've been earning money for the code I write for over 8 years! I've never been a math genius, I've never taken CS in any university or college and I've never felt I'm the smartest programmer there is. I've always had my doubts by my love of coding has kept me encouraged enough to continue.

Today, I'm a senior developer at Elite Digital Agency in Toronto, Canada. I've been working with the company for about 3 years and I've been leading a team of junior and intermediate developers (who I learn from every single day) since 2019!

I wrote this whole post to tell you that you can absolutely become a programmer. You don't need anything other than a regular computer (some even learn to code using pen and paper which is unbelievably awesome!), a code editor, a browser and the will to learn!

You don't HAVE TO pay for learning material. There are tons of free material online. Paid resources are NOT automatically better than the free ones. In some cases, free ones are MUCH better than the paid ones. Trust me! I've tried a lot of them so that you don't have to!

To finish this post off, I'm gonna include some of the resources that have directly or indirectly helped me throughout the years. The resources that I know are very good and worth your time (and money in some cases!):

-Free Code Camp
-Code Academy
-Khan Academy
-MIT OpenCourseWare

-The JavaScript Bootcamp

I hope you enjoyed reading my post and learning about my journey and I hope this post encourages you to start, continue and not to give up, wherever you are in your coding journey.

If you're stuck on something, don't understand something or need help with anything, you can always reach out to me on Twitter @araschem or right here on

Good luck, and happy coding!

Top comments (2)

dkrest1 profile image
Oluwatosin Akande

What a nice write-up

arash profile image
Arash Emadi

Thank you!