When any journey begins, a clear plan is often constructed to get from point A to point B. Or in computer terms, 0 to 1. And as a teacher, my entire year revolves around making a plan with specifically intended outcomes (snow days really mess with that spreadsheet!). However, when I started 100 days of code, the plan was simple: Start the count on January 1st and finish the count on April 10th. Some of those days would be focused on app maintenance while others on learning new technologies. It was very much a "go where the river takes you" approach. And, oddly enough, the river has taken me back to academia.
At the time I hit the halfway mark in the 100 days, I was just starting into the CS50 program. And while working with C (and becoming very appreciative of modern languages), I found I really enjoyed learning the lower level concepts. This intrigue led me to devour the material faster than I had anticipated. I suddenly found myself looking high and low for similar experiences. However, what I discovered was that that next step I was seeking most likely wasn’t in a blog post or video. It would have to be in a classroom. The truth is, I really like learn. Like, a lot. My wife is probably tired of me beginning most sentences with, “So, in my one podcast…” So how can I satisfy this craving to dig deeper? Well, I decided to go back to school. My community college actually has an online program for individuals who already have a degree in another field, but want to change careers. When I discovered it, my first thought was, “hey, that’s me!” If all goes well, I’ll be done with the certificate by December.
With this major change, my 100 day updates have become, for lack of a better word, structured. There is a sequence to how I am learning and encompasses very specific topics (database systems and a review of Java for next semester’s class). While I can occasionally jump into an app to refactor a bit or tinker with styling, most of my time outside of family and work obligations is focused on school. And as strange as this sounds, it’s kind of freeing to know that a path has been set before me and my goal is to reach the end. I find that I dive down fewer rabbit holes, and the ones I do are engaged with intention. I’m also gaining experience programming based on someone else’s requirements, not just my own (as is often the case with personal projects).
It's hard to believe that in less than a month, my sojourn through 100 days of code will reach its summit. I avoid the word ‘conclusion’ since I’m not entirely sure what day 101 will look like. It will probably find my still reading about data modeling (wow, I forgot how much reading I use to do!), but I’ll be happily doing it.