Why I started to Code?

First of all I’d like to introduce myself, and tell you a little about how my coding journey began.

My name is Abel, I’m 27, online poker pro. After finishing high school, I wanted to study English literature, however that year (2008) there weren’t enough people for the specialization, and the university decided to abandon it . I was disappointed to say the least, didn’t even want to sign up for any other spec, but for some weird reason in my country it’s a de facto standard to have a university degree, so I chose one, Marketing. Can’t remember the reasoning behind it.

In the third year of my studies I got introduced to online poker by my best friend, he gave me a starting capital, and enough coaching/learning material to be profitable from the very first month. I was hooked, enjoyed it more than anything before, it also provided a very decent living, which seemed like living the dream. This path had many ups and downs, but whenever i stopped and drew a line, I was happy.

Last year something changed, started feeling like this isn’t for me anymore, couldn’t focus the way I did before, couldn’t read through oponents like before. This resulted in doubting my decisions in poker, and regarding poker. It wasn’t like the usual “downswing”, and I knew it.

I wanted to get away from it, at least for a while, or maybe definatelly.

Started looking for other options, never really liked marketing, it never felt right, so that was a big no no, on the other hand, neuroscience and neurobiology always had a special place in my heart, but, they didn’t look to be a rational choice, maybe I was also scared a little. And still, there was another field which was tempting me for a long long while, and this is the point where programming enters the scene.

In my spare time, I began to goof around, google programming related things, until I found Java. I decided to purchase a udemy course on it, and started watching it relentlessly. Following the course felt really good, until it didn’t, after watching it for a couple of weeks I realized that except the problem sets in the series, I can’t even write the simplest thing that comes to mind.

At this point I was sure the field is interesting, but I thought that my learning path isn’t good. An acquaintance came to mind, who I knew is invested in the field, so I called him, and fortunatelly he was happy to help. This guy is an avid JavaScript fan, so he brushed away my Java intentions very fast, and pointed me towards JavaScript. For the first time, I really hated it.

‘where are my lovely types?, what is this mess?, did this guy ever try JAVA?’.

Started spamming JavaScript tutorials on udemy, was hoping that my previous Java instructor was bad (he wasn’t), and this is the way to learn, I followed this path for months, after each and every finished series, I tried to write something on my own. I FAILED, i failed horribly, felt like I’m the dumbest person in the world, there are zillions of programmers, and are all smarter, more ambitious, better than me.

After a while, I got tired of my whining, slapped myself, and started thinking,

‘what did you like to do?, how did you learn before?, AHA, boooooks, books really? why not?’.

So it hit me, from that point on, I started inhaling books. Gonna enumerate a couple, just to give you an idea, might write a lengthier list, and a review about all of them if you’d like.

JavaScript

  1. Kyle Simpson: You Don’t know Js
  2. Marijn Haverbeke: Eloquent JavaScript
  3. Reginald Braithwaite: JavaScript Allongé, the “Six” Edition
  4. John Resig, Bear Bibeault, Josip Maras: Secrets of the JavaScript ninja
  5. Addy Osmani: Javascript Design Patterns

Node.js

  1. Even Hahn: Express in Action
  2. Mike Cantelon, Marc Harter, TJ Holowaychuk, Nathan Rajlich: Node in Action

General Programming

  1. Robert C. Martin: Clean Code
  2. Robert C. Martin: Clean Coder

Sooo books, I realized that for me ‘they’ are the most efficient way to learn, of course I try to combine them with edx, coursera lectures, podcasts, medium posts etc. Video lectures/tutorials might be very useful after you acquire a certain mental model about coding, and you just need a spark, but most of the time I couldn’t find the building blocks of the coding mental model I eagerly wanted. These books gave me answers for a lot of my questions, of course they’re not the solution for everything, I still had difficulty designing, and writing a program on my own, but wasn’t as far as hopeless as before.

At this point I’m like 5 months in into my coding journey, I’m keeping the relationship up with the friend who pointed me to JavaScript, distracting him from time to time, spamming him with questions, we’re having lengthy talks about everything. He works at a local firm, and one day I asked him if they would need/want a beginner JS guy. Was never employed by any firm, heck, never been in an IT office building, also did question my ability, had doubts if I’m good enough, still, I was curious. My friend after a short period got back with an answer, the mission was a GO. Ohh I was so excited and scared, and excited.

In the beginning it felt like rocket surgery, have never ever seen a project structure before,(not a complex one) was overwhelmed, but I could understand the code, which was a satisfying feeling.

It’s not rocket surgery after all, is it? oO’.

With this in mind, my interest from mostly JavaScript has switched to mostly, design and architecture.

The project I was working on, had a fascinating design, it was easy to understand it’s pieces on their own, even for me, became ‘productive’ pretty early. Even though I felt like the design was very good, and working with it got easier day by day, my comprehension of all it’s pieces is not yet clear to this day.

My working period came to and end at that firm, it thaught me a lot, it was a good experience overall, theory is still my stronger side, but at least I managed to put in some practice as well. I still don’t have a clear cut opinion about the field, or it’s people, it seems like I need more input for that.

On top of my programming todolist, inhaling books does still occupy the first spot, but I want to widen it with open source projects, and coding kata’s. Would be glad if you could populate the comment section with suggestions.

Ohh my, it’s been a long piece. To sum it all up, my reasons for creating this blog are to inspire and to be inspired, to broaden my experience, and to document my coding journey.

Thank you all for the read,

Abel.