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My Coding Journey - Soldier Who Codes

fikradev profile image Fikra_Dev 惻Updated on 惻2 min read

In January of 2019 I began contemplating my plans for the future. I was now 37 years old and after spending 17 years in the military in Jamaica I was becoming tired of the routine and needed to move on.

Now moving onto another career in this part of the world is easier said that done, because unlike other parts of the world, Jamaica has a degree culture. Meaning that no matter how skilled you are both practically and theoretically, it is almost impossible to get a job, especially in a technical area without a degree.

After starting a degree in economics approximately 5 years earlier it fell through because of financial reasons. However, over that time my passion moved from economics to tech. So in August 2019 I enrolled at a local community college and began a degree in Management Information Systems. The first semester to me was tougher that basic military training, literally.

We were first introduced to C# and boy did I struggle with this especially the concept of arrays. I remember one day I sat and cried and asked myself what the hell was I getting myself into. But we had a lecturer who would continually reiterate to us, whenever we were not getting a concept, that it was normal and that we should relax. My acceptance and realization of his reasoning came home one Sunday morning while scrolling through YouTube videos.

I came upon a video by Gyasi Linje who was basically sharing his own struggles that he went through initially. From that moment my outlook changed and I began approaching every concept with more positivity. At the same time I started to understand that even professional programmers used Google and Stack Overflow.

Two semesters later I got introduced to web development (HTML/CSS, JavaScript). In that course I struggled with understanding the logic of JavaScript. I was still able to successfully complete the course, however, I was not comfortable with my understanding of JS. Once the semester ended I worked on gaining a better understanding of JS and built a travel site using JS.

However, at the end of that process it was apparent that I had rushed through and skipped a lot of the fundamentals. Nine months later I am slowly going through to ensure that I get a full understanding of JS and I am at a place now where I am lot more comfortable with it.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

For the near future once I am comfortable that I have covered the fundamentals of JS I will move on to learning NodeJS and then ReactJS or VueJS.

I still have not made up my mind on what career path in IT I want to follow but for now I'm enjoying the journey.

Thanks for the taking the time out to read my post. It is truly appreciated. If you want to know more about my journey follow me at:

Twitter: @fikra_dev

Github: https://github.com/FikraDev

Discussion (32)

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angelomiranda profile image
lt • Edited

I myself was a US military veteran for 8 years from age 21-29. At age 30 decided to quit and transition to be a civilian, as a front-end developer. I taught myself at night times when both my wife and son are Zzzz by watching tons of youtube videos, googling/searching articles, and reading docs. Now, I have my own youtube channel hoping to help out someone like you as a payback to the community that once helped me. Writing and creating vids when my wife and son are Zzzz as well šŸ˜ƒ. You may check out my channel when you get a chance - youtube.com/channel/UCFIwa5Eqf4kN1... might be a good coincidence us meeting here :D

It is definitely doable. You will definitely get a job no matter what type of IT you chose to pursue as long as you put in the time. I highly suggest to keep building websites or apps.

Good luck and God Bless!

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fikradev profile image
Fikra_Dev Author

Thanks bro. Will check out and subscribe to your channel. All the best!

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angelomiranda profile image
lt

that means a lot. Will release a new video and a series on job interview and technical coding soon. Good luck to you and your future, you will do great.

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angelomiranda profile image
lt • Edited

here is the very first youtube interview questions and answers -

Please let me know if you see anything I can improve on as I am still somehow new to youtube. Anybody who can read this can probably send me a quick note as well. šŸ™

I am going to work on the mid to senior Q&A this week. Thanks and God Bless!

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Dan Chu

I am 35 years old. For the last 18 years I have been serving in the Russian army. Until the end of the contract is another 2 years. By that time I will be in your place - 37 years old, the end of service and the transition to IT. I've been programming for the last 15 years. This is my hobby. I'm ready for a change in my life, but I'm still a little scared. I understand your feelings very well. Do not give up! With your work and perseverance, you pave your way in this world.
Thanks for this story. Good luck!

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fikradev profile image
Fikra_Dev Author

Thanks and good luck to you as well my friend

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Mike Talbot

Thanks for sharing your story, great to hear that you've started on this journey. The truth is you will always be "bending your brain" around a new "impossible" problem - so it's good you've got through the first few of those! Coding is the creation of something from absolutely nothing, there's a kind of magic in that I always think. Enjoy.

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Fikra_Dev Author

Thank you sir

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Frank Szendzielarz

Well done! As someone with decades of experience in development, I'd say that if you have it in you to be a programmer then the number one skill is perseverance. Perseverance takes different forms: knowing when to shelve something, knowing when to delay solving a problem, knowing when to not give up and keep hacking away at it until it's solved. Stick at it! You'll just keep getting better and better.

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muncey

One of the strengths that you bring from the outside is that you have real world experience outside of technology. This will prove invaluable when you get on projects as you will have an idea of how software works from a user perspective not just a coding perspective. Good luck with the rest of your journey too :).

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Frank Szendzielarz

Yes I want to second this one. The experience is not just about how the military operate but also the mentality and attitude of the people. Often, too, freelance development is about contacts. It depends if Fikra_Dev wants to make a full, clean break from the military but one approach likely to succeed is to try to steer towards developing systems in the area where the private and military sector meet - private software contracts, web advertising and media, that kind of thing.

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Taryn McMillan

This is great! You are never too old to start coding. I'm 35 and I just started learning C# last summer. There are so many stories of people in their 30s getting started. It's really inspiring.

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Jesse Warden • Edited

When I first started learning programming, Arrays took me a year. I remember being beyond frustrated. My professor at college told me to read a book that the author had built a lot of kids games, and it had a good chapter on Arrays (Tab Julius' Lingo). I spent like a month everyday building the same thing over and over until it started to click. Holy cow was I happy that day.

Thanks for sharing your struggles. It does get easier! If you ever have to learn another language, you'll be surprised how you already know 80% of the fundamentals. Keep going!

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Fikra_Dev Author

Thanks Jesse

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Amelia Vieira Rosado

I remember one day I sat and cried and asked myself what the hell was I getting myself into.

Hahahah, oh boy, this one sure hits home like no other! šŸ˜‚ That was literally me learning about object-oriented programming. It just didn't make sense to me at first.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us and best of luck in your journey! You will find your way, I promise. šŸ˜Š And if all else fails, the community's got your back! šŸ’ŖšŸ»

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fikradev profile image
Fikra_Dev Author

I know they do and thank you so much

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David Tetreau

38 getting into tech. Never too late!

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Fikra_Dev Author

Never too late

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Max Ong Zong Bao

I'm not a military veteran but a conscript in my country that till this day I'm still serving my nation. I remember it is quite a tough transition from military to civilian life when I got out from mandatory service.

Therefore understanding that you had spend almost 20 years in service. I really applaud that you had started on this path. My suggestion is to keep focus on being consistent in your learning.

Do note that what you're studying in University is just the fundamental. Like how a enlistee is going through bootcamp to be instill the fundamentals of being a soldier for their country.

In the real world this is totally different, once you had graduated from your university. You can pursue and train yourself in different specialisation to fulfil in different roles in the organisation. I believe your in the right place. I wish you all the best and good luck in your journey.

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Mark Koenig

I served in the US Army I now work as a junior software engineering support specialist

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Black Pearl Matrix

I simply want to tell you that I definitely liked this article and that Iā€™m bookmarking your blog. You absolutely have wonderful articles. Cheers from blackpearlmatrix.com for sharing with us your blog.

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Fikra_Dev Author

thank you very much for the kind words

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Michael R.

Thank you for sharing, you helped reaffirm my confidence and the same is true for many others here I'm sure as well.

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hiztm

Wow, i approv that, but i have a question for you, how many time do you have study for to be a fron-end web developer

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Fikra_Dev Author

It depends on how fast u grasp the concepts. With that said don't rush and appreciate the journwy

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Shon

Nice to see my Caribbean brothers coding. It really motivates me

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Fikra_Dev Author

Thanks bro. The caribbean really needs to cement itself in the tech world because the talent is here.

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Jon Strayer

I also went into software development after military service (in my case 11 years in the Navy). I've been a paid developer for 31 years now. It's clearly doable.

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Joshua Omereonye

good to hear your experience Fikra! i sure got inspired and would carry on, no matter the challenges i face.

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Fikra_Dev Author

Keep at it. I've come to realize that the benefits are found in the struggle