Dipping my toes, starting with The Odin Project

pwiggers profile image Paul Wiggers ・3 min read

Getting (re)started

During my college years I had some Java classes and did an internship where I worked with Delphi 5 all day. I eventually dropped out of college due to the lack of programming and, to be honest, other interests that weren't beneficial for my education.
After dropping out, I found an employer who was willing to take me on as a support engineer. I stayed with that company for 12 years, got some certifications and ended up as a system administrator.

All those time I have held a small interest in programming but never actively pursued it as a career. Over the years I have tried several online tutorials, ranging from Udemy courses, eBooks, Free Code Camp, PluralSight and Code Academy. Even though I learned quite a bit with all of them, none of them managed to capture my attention and before long I was doing other stuff instead.

After I left the company for another employer I noticed that being a full-time system administrator didn't give me the joy that it used to and that it was time for a change.
This realisation came earlier this year (2019) and I have since then been trying to figure out what options I have. Currently I am not even sure if I want to stay in IT at all and I might end up doing something completely different.

However, one of the options is being a developer. I always had an interest in it, I was quite good at in my junior years and it allows me to work for companies that I care about. Even if I decide that I won't stay in IT I can still use those skills to earn a little extra income as a freelancer while making the transition to another career.

I decided to do some research on online programs and what they offered. There are loads of them! I already had some experience with Free Code Camp and also found The Odin Project. Those two seemed the most interesting to me.
They both offer you a full-stack program and encourage engagement in the developer community. Free Code Camp is also focussing heavily on non-profits and accessibility (both very big plusses!)and mainly uses Javascript combined with Node and MongoDB. The Odin Project's main course focussed heavily on Ruby on Rails.
After some dubbing around I decided to go for The Odin Project. The main reason for my choice was that The Odin Project is requiring you to use your own machine and set it up as a development machine. This is teaching you have to have a real-world workflow and to get familiar with all the tools you will be using to write a program from scratch.
Free Code Camp is great but you are mainly working on their own website and I previously noticed that when I was trying to build something from scratch I was lost. What works for you is very personal and I highly recommend trying both The Odin Project and Free Code Camp to see what suits your needs.

So I signed up with The Odin Project and started working. It was great! The community is very active and supportive, the course work was nice and setting up my machine was fun. Getting a basic RoR website running on Heroku with just a few commands is very satisfying!
But as it happened, life got in the way and I dropped my developing activities again. That is, until this week.
I have dusted off my trusty Macbook, wiped it clean and installed a fresh Catalina operating system, ready to re-start The Odin Project again.

This time, I will also try to document my journey in a blog on Dev.to. Hopefully you will keep me motivated and accountable and keep me company on this journey. I don't know where it will lead but the future sure is exciting!

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Paul Wiggers


System Administrator looking to break into development


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