Sometime last year, someone told me he doesn't think I will last long in coding. "Why?" I asked and he replied, "because I am a female"... Well, I have a job now and guess what I do... I know you'll guess right, lol, I'm still coding.
I wanted to keep myself busy after the university. Earlier on, I had taken a course which involved coding in C, I had learned python and C# during my spare time but I never really felt I knew how to code. For more than a year and eight months though, I've had a great relationship with coding. Here's my brief story.
I started by reading a book on HTML/CSS until a friend of mine told me about Freecodecamp which I immediately joined. Freecodecamp made me fall in love with coding again and I really enjoyed learning there because I got to practice what I learned. I got addicted to coding and I found myself staying up late in the night just to solve algorithms or finish up projects.
Months later, I participated in a remote internship with the company I presently work for and it completely changed everything. I got to practice what I've been learning on a real-life project. This internship greatly improved my coding skills. I got to meet a whole of excellent software developers who were patient in helping me learn and who keep inspiring me until today. I also learned how to collaborate with others on a project and how to manage a project.
Today, I have a job as a Frontend developer and I'm so glad that I made that decision to really learn to code after school.
Impostor syndrome. It is real and sometimes it hits us hard. At some point, I felt I didn't really know as much as I appear to know and compared to other smart people I work with, I felt I know very little. Thankfully, I talked to a friend about it and she really helped me. She reminded me that we are all a work in progress. I might not know everything yet but I'll get there someday as long as I consistently keep learning and working hard.
My writing. Last year, I took up a challenge to write articles on coding consistently. Though I didn't meet up with the challenge, I wrote a whole lot of articles within a short period of time. It's not the number of articles I've written that makes me glad but it's the fact that people learned from the articles. It really warms my heart whenever someone tweets about me or my articles. Lately, I've not written as much as I wanted to because my schedule changed and I have less time for myself but I will resume writing regularly very soon.
Practice, practice, practice. There's no shortcut to getting good at coding. You have to practice consistently. During this process, be patient with yourself. You might not grab a concept the first time you try to learn it but with time, it might become really easy for you. Remember too that you don't really know anything until you've built something with it.
Attend tech events, learn from others, meet people. This was one of the best things I did for myself during the early days of my coding journey. I attended a lot of meetups and got a lot of coding friends whom I can run to when I have challenges. These friends can also help you when you need to get a new job or your first job. Remember, it's difficult to take this coding journey alone. Having friends that code too will encourage you to keep pushing. If you've not done so, join Twitter and follow inspiring people who you can learn from too.
Push yourself out there. Tell others about projects you've worked on, write articles, let everyone know what you do. Even if you think you know little, share the little you know. Do not feel that people will look down on you. If they do, it's their problem, not yours. Always be confident.
Do not give up. Coding can be extremely challenging sometimes and you might wonder why you got yourself in it in the first place. Instead of giving up, find something exciting in coding to do. Sometimes, I play with CSS or solve algorithms on CodeFights to keep my sanity. Look for what works for you and do it.
Be strong and keep pushing, you'll be fine. :)