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Nathan B Hankes for Vets Who Code

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My Path to Tech

This is my first Dev community blog post, so let me introduce myself. My name is Nate Hankes. I am a combat veteran and a research and development chemist. Shortly after watching the Netflix documentary, The Great Hack, I decided to embark on my journey to code. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, so the possibilities of forging a path in tech excite me.

I do not hav tons of coding experience but I can record my learning process. Fortunately, I have a friend in the industry and he gave me three pieces of advice to orient me:

  • Download Visual Studio Code (VSC)
  • Learn JavaScript
  • Build something right away

I set out to build a calculator I could use to complete dimensional analysis problems in my work as a chemist.

After downloading VSC I knew I needed some form of a tutorial to get started on my project. I found Codecademy and started the "Intro the JavaScript" tutorial. It was too confusing. All the syntax was so foreign. They mention a console, which I didn't understand. The concepts were not rooted in any relevant information. "Okay," I thought, "So what and where would I put a function?" I retreated and regrouped, coming up with a new approach.

So I went to the HTML tutorial and completed that. I'd heard that HTML was easy and hoped for a confidence boost. I completed the CSS tutorial. At this point, I'd built the visual layout of my calculator and had started finding JavaScript help by lurking StackOverflow whenever I needed to make the calculator do something.

I've published the beta version at ConversionCalc via

I am preparing to begin the vetswhocode bootcamp in 2 weeks. I hope to use my new found knowledge to make the application user friendly, mobile accessible, and intuitive.

I will post weekly to share what and how I am learning. Follow me to keep tabs on the journey.

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