...I was sick an tired of sitting around all day during the summer doing nothing but watching YouTube/TV and playing Minecraft. I thought: "Hey let me check out this coding thing...". And also because once I started I couldn't stop. When I began learning how to code in junior high it was unlike anything I'd encountered in school. I started learning on Codecademy, and since their courses are self-paced I had 100% control over my education. I could choose what I wanted to learn and how I wanted to practice. Coding and teaching myself how to code demonstrated to me the power of self-education, or autodidacticism. I was a "learning-nut" way before coding, but suffice to say it gave me the push I needed to get off my butt and start being productive across the facets of my life.
My experience shows that coding can be more than understanding the syntax of a language. What coding teaches, especially to the youth, is that with perseverance, ambition, and humility (asking questions) one can become a skilled problem solver--a thinker: one who knows how to think and not just what to think. It's empowering. Programming teaches how to work with others, how to be responsible for one's learning, and how to be reliable when working with a team.
...game development is awesome. When I first started coding I was resolute in learning how to make productivity software exclusively. However, I wanted to combine my hobby of 3D modeling and animation with coding. That's where Unity (a game engine) came in, and I've been participating in game jams (game dev competitions) ever since. I also wanted to learn how to make android applications and Unity is fairly easy to use to execute such a goal.
...the college-craze. Being a high-schooler, I'm stressing about getting into ivy league schools. I keep thinking to myself: "I need to do this and that and this other thing or I won't be good enough! I can't have weak ECs (extracurriculars)!". The thing is, and to quote Dr. Seuss: "It is more important to know how to learn than to know". As long as I'm living up to that personal standard, I can always be proud of myself, and I know that I can excel wherever I go; or at least I'll always try my best...
...expand. I want to meet people. I want to participate in competitions, and not just because they're good ECs, but because they're fun! Talking to other coders my age is a luxury for me if I'm not on an online forum, so I know competing (especially if I'm on a team) could be an immensely enjoyable experience. I'm also looking forward to teaching other kids, especially girls, how to code by volunteering at TechGirlz and creating my own YouTube channel.
...practice, practice practice. Among other things, I mainly want to gain a more in depth knowledge of computer science during summer school, such as understanding algorithms, data structures--pretty much all the stuff I hear my favorite programming YouTubers talking about that I only have a nebulous idea of.
Alright, I feel like I'm talking too much about myself...time to read some of these other awesome #shecoded articles. I implore you to do so as well!
The software industry moves fast. But if you keep up, you can have an incredible career.