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Overcoming My Fear of Coding

ddinardi0 profile image Ddinardi0 ・3 min read

Yes, I used to be terrified of coding. The mere mention of it was enough to send dark chills down my spine, as if I were hearing about some occult practice which I was never supposed to know. Even though I grew up addicted to videogames and all sorts of tech, I couldn't begin to grasp the arcane sea of cryptic tags and functions and operators flowing through the obscure backend of it all.

No wonder I became a writer. I've authored a high fantasy novel, a light novel and many a feature for a couple of design and tech publications here in Brazil. To my dismay, I even localized some articles and tutorials about coding, and it was then that I started developing a certain, let's say, admiration for the field. People could do some pretty shit with those weird strings of text, and they made it sound so simple. It still gave me the creeps, you know, but now they were slightly less dark creeps. Like when you see the ghost of your dead grandma: it's a ghost, but at the same time, it's your granny.

My feelings for the whole entity of computer programming continued in this weird spectrum of mystification until I lost my job as a copywriter for a small ad agency, which prompted a very interesting chapter in my life. I translated my fantasy novel to English, tried my luck as a comedy youtuber, and then I wrote a gossip-girl style story about youtubers. I was personally very happy with all I had managed to get done, but since I suck at marketing my own stuff, It didn't really pay off in the monetary sense. Long story short, I was about to crash-land into brokeland, and needed to find a new writing gig. And with my country in the middle of an entropic boiling cauldron of a political and finnancial crisis, that was no easy task.

Feeling my distress, a good coder friend of mine made a most absurd suggestion: become a programmer! I scoffed at the notion, of course. Even so, he sent me a link to Khan Academy's online coding courses. “Just look at it”, the lunatic told me. And I did, for some reason. I clicked the damn thing and took the first basic JavaScript class, just for the heck of it.

It was kinda cool and not that arcane, after all.

I proceeded to the next lesson, and the next, and the next. Suddenly, I was understanding things I thought were unfathomable to me. Hell, I was even enjoying myself as I conjured simple forms, set loops, variables and functions and perfomed all kinds of unspeakable coding sorcery.

Flashforward three months and I've applied to tech school and now, on a Sunday afternoon, I'm working on a silly project to test my budding HTML skills. It's still hard to believe I can become a full-fledged coder, and the sheer breadth of languages and tools I'm still clueless about is very daunting, but I'm loving the journey so far. I think I had forgotten how learning something completely out of your perceived element can expand your mind and usher you into the most unexpected directions. Just months ago I could never, ever guess that I would enter this new year looking for an intership in the tech industry instead of chasing a writing job like a bald Rory Gilmore.

But hey, if my new gig involves coding, that will still count as writing, right?

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Ddinardi0

@ddinardi0

Author, freelance journalist and copywriter and level 3 coder.

Discussion

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People are so quick to dismiss themselves the joy of writing were also writing code. You'll be surprised how many people in my class didn't like writing and yet they were still writing... but it was code. I always found that interesting. :)

I consider that it takes all types of people to contribute to programming. Some are more creative in problem solving, some are more on the details and architecture, some are really excellent at reading the code, cleaning it up. Varying degrees of expertise at varying skills.

 

I write a blog to help new programmers out at friendlywisdom.com, and i'm chatting with other bloggers trying to figure out why there's a mysticism around coding, ie:"The mere mention of it was enough to send dark chills down my spine". Why do you think that is?

Why did you feel like things were unfathomable?

 

In other words, just make the jump and try it!