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Cover image for My Journey as a self-taught programmer

My Journey as a self-taught programmer

judith profile image Ohagorom Judith ・7 min read

I intend to write this article purely about my coding journey. I believe every programmer is a self-taught programmer because we cannot become a better programmer without hard work from our side.
It was in the year 2016 when I gained admission to study computer science. A computer scientist is someone who studies how computer can be used to solve a wide range of problems and its applied mathematics. The only problem was that I didn’t know mathematics so well. I didn’t have a clue that’s how computer science would be, I thought it was just how to operate computer only, I didn’t even think to Google it.
Since my childhood, I’ve always wanted to be a computer scientist, create apps etc. It has always been my dream but as years goes by and I finally gained admission into my field of study. I started actualizing my dream as a computer scientist and a programmer but as a beginner, I found out that to learn program is hard and it's difficult to know where to start, but it’s even more challenging to know what to do after you have learnt the basics.
To be completely honest, I didn’t even know what programming was back then, till I wrote and ran my first “Hello World’ program with VB.net on visual studio then in 2nd year I wrote and ran another program with c++ in 3rd year I wrote and ran a simple blog about myself in HTML and CSS.
I knew NOTHING all I knew was that I wanted to make apps that would be viewable on my phone or the web. My first months was chaotic learning. I kept seeing information in different directions. From networking to A+ to Java to scratch to python to graphics, html, css and digital marketing. After getting tossed around with my learning. I was getting frustrated. I sought advice and decided to take it one at a time.
The real problem was that I hadn’t found something to truly be passionate about, something I would be able to spend my time and effort in doing and not labelling it as “work." Finally, I found my path in what I really want to focus on which is Java. I decided to focus my energy and efforts in studying what I was planning to do for the rest of my life: programming.
I said to myself for me to be focused and start writing codes I need to:
Start with one, and only to another when you must have learnt enough.
Think about why you want to learn how to code. For instance, what sort of skills you want to end up with, why do you want to learn to code and how much time and money you can commit.
Choose the right languages
Choose the right resources to help you learn e.g. Online coding courses, textbooks, YouTube videos.
Download a code editor
Practice writing your programs
Join an online community
Never stop learning.
With these I was focused and knew where I was heading to.
Here’s the first thing you can learn from my story: Always keep an eye on your actual dreams or goals, what you really want, not what you think might get you where you want to be. You might not know how to reach your goals but with the internet at your reach and your mindset on a goal, you can do it.
WHY I CHOSE JAVA
I fell in love with Java knowing that being a Java developer my dreams of being a mobile app developer will come true. I found out that if I learn Java well, I can easily learn any other language. Java courses don’t teach just Java rather its teaching the concept of programming. Java is used for a lot of things like the backend development projects including those involving big data and android development. It is also used for desktop computing. It is used to write software on one platform and run it on virtually any other platform. It is used to create programs that can run with a web browser and access available web services. It is used to combine applications and create highly customized applications. It is also used to write powerful and efficient applications for mobile phones, sensors, gateways, customer products and practically any other electronic devices.
“From laptop to data centers, game consoles to scientific super computers, cell phones to the internet;” Is Java not ubiquitous. Yes, it is, it is everywhere. It runs in desktops, enterprise desktops, TV devices, mobile phones.
I still remember my first computer programming class at my internship even in university where we were given a simple Java code to write:
Question no 1: What is the println, printf, print?
Question no 2: Store a variable?
Question no 3: What’s Java?
Half of my class had a background in IT. As a result, they easily wrote the code that was given to us, while the other half including me, were left with blank faces. I didn’t have a clue of what was going on in the class.
I’d never been so embarrassed in my life. You might face similar situations in your coding career.
Unexpectedly, there will come a day when someone else will know something you don’t. It might cost you pride. It might cost you a promotion. It might even cost you your job. But what you do after such event matters.
Then I discovered Udemy and Sololearn, I quickly understood my potential of learning more. I wasn’t yet sure where I was going, but it felt like the most amazing thing in the world to be able to learn something, retain that information and use it to create something that only existed in my imagination. I made errors upon errors and would always run away from it and give it to friends to solve for me but now I can proudly fix some errors.
I gathered materials, lots of YouTube videos on Java even enrolled for a class on Udemy and spent days learning the basics. I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy. It was like nothing I’d ever done before but all I knew was that I had to do it. Classmates of mine had an advantage over me and I knew I had a long way to go. That actually became a fuel for me to study harder.
I studied but I kept having errors and it frustrates and annoys me. I just had to stay calm, focused, work hard and be consistent. I recommend that everyone choose their path early and focus on it because definitely we will get there even if not now.
My mistakes was doubting of oneself, lack of self-confidence (fear), procrastination, easily giving up and being timid. There is a lot from mistakes, our own as well as others, that’s why I decided to share it so as I work on those, I hope you work on yours too. “Always learn from the mistakes of others because we can’t live long enough to make them all ourselves!”
HOW PROGRAMMING HAS CHANGED MY LIFE
Programming has made me believe in myself more that I can solve a problem and tackle an error.
It makes me sleepless
Stack overflow became my lover
My thinking improved
I started admiring codes with proper documentation
It gave me a purpose in life
Atimes, it makes me frustrated that I missed a simple syntax error at the same time happy that I’m making progress.
All statements become Boolean…. either True or False.
My counting starts from 0 instead of 1
I now understand that training a computer to do certain task is tougher than training human.

CONCLUSION
It took me some months getting to a year of finding my path and developing little desktop apps to start feeling comfortable as a developer and embrace my errors and fears.
As I am looking forward to learning more, being a better programmer and hitting my first paid job as a programmer soon. I would like to encourage everyone including myself that becoming a programmer is not something you can learn by merely attending computer classes. Even if you have a computer science degree, you still have to be passionate about programming ,practice, read books, watch presentations, try different languages, read codes, write codes, learn to touch type( I use https://www.keybr.com or https://www.typingtest.com) it will improve your posture and muscle memory and you will definitely notice a difference in speed when typing on the keyboard, name variables and subroutines in such a way it can be recognized or represented, type rather than read as for me I write my codes down in jotter or type in my system because I remember what I see or memorize or practice(always write on the topic for better understanding), learn and implement, program or code daily, write software’s that interests you as for me I play games but it doesn’t interest me rather I look forward in creating social media apps or business apps, read stack traces from the top line down, aim to write the smallest working program possible, always Google, build programs one at a time, ensure braces always pair up, format code correctly.
Each story can be an inspiration to rethink our priorities or refocus our efforts.
The embarrassment of an error lasts only for a few seconds. Learning from it can be forever and trust me it is worth it.
I hope this article will inspire many other people to never relent. We can do it and will definitely get there. Just be passionate and eager to learn and find a great mentor.
Shoutout to Charles Best, I was encouraged by him to share my story on my programming journey which I have never done before, thank you for coaching and mentoring me too to be better.
Decide now your dream must become a reality and it will become so.

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judith profile

Ohagorom Judith

@judith

Java and upcoming Mobile app developer Graphic designer Digital marketer Computer scientist

Discussion

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Excellent post. I am a complete beginner and I have completed the HTML section on freecodecamp. I want to become a developer/programmer because I wa t to build web apps as well as websites (I have tons of ideas) but I am usually discouraged by the vast amounts of options out there.

Is Html/CSS/JS a good starting point?. Another reason I want to become a Developer is because it is on high demand and it offers job security and a good salary (let's be honest).

I would apprciate your input as I am procrastinating now because of the lack or guidance. Is HTML/CSS/JS a good start or wod you recomend something else?

Thanks

 

Okay... HTML, CSS AND JAVASCRIPT is a good start very good but when you want to advance you go for BOOTSTRAP or CORE CSS..
PLEASE don't be discouraged and avoid procrastination please.. Thank you so much for reading

 

I just woke up to this article this morning and I found it motivating as I'm about to start my day learning how to code. I'm also a beginner as developer. thank you for sharing your journey as one embark on something new its always a challenge. But when you learn from others who went through the same road it's becomes easy.

 

You are welcome anytime
Thank you for finding it motivating

 

This is so inspiring. I'm a computer science student and relate to this so much! I know the pain it takes to be good at something. It's a constant journey of making mistakes, learning from those mistakes, and moreover NOT GIVING UP. I'm sure you are going to do great! More power to you! 💖

 

Thank you so much ❤️

 

This is inspire me. I have similiar experience with you. I choose Computer Science when I was in 2016. I have never expected to be there. Learning such programming language those were never taught in high school for years. But, I didn't regret for choice that I was made for. I choose this because I love technologies and the future. Keep passionate for learning new things!

 
 

I'm inspired by your experience. I'm have a social science background before I enrolled freshman computer science courses to have a bachelor in IT. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to keep pace with the much younger students that grow up with Apps and I dropped out. I have now decided to take python 3 on Udemy and try to learn in my pace.

 

Very very good
Nice decision and please never give up