Diving Into Free Code Camp

Has this middle school teacher found his new summer camp?

It’s been a little more than four years in the making. Actually, if I want to get technical, it’s probably more like 11 years. I’m talking about my exposure/interest in computer programming. My junior year of high school featured an elective course I had taken with a couple of my friends on C++. We took it because we knew the teacher, heard it wasn’t too difficult of a class and we were pretty good on computers.

I regret that class to this day. Not the fact that I took it, but the fact that I didn’t take it seriously. Being with my friends, we joked around and got by because learning and school came easy to us. I never really applied myself in that class or asked questions to understand it any deeper than I needed to.

Four years ago I purchase my first computer programming book. I don’t recall why or what exactly made me interested in it, but to Amazon I went. Two days later, Alex Allain’s “Jumping Into C++” was on my doorstep and I was off. A massive book, I was able to plug away at a few of the opening lessons but struggled mightily after. This only fueled me to fall in love with programming ever since.

I’ve purchased other books since then — books on C#, Javascript, Unity, etc. — and have loved all of them. I spent the most time on C# and Unity and even created side projects that I played around with to work on my skills (or lack there of). Unity proved that I was in a bit over my head. Creating programs in C# on Microsoft Visual Studios was much easier for me to get my feet wet.

The last few years I have always talked to a close group of friends about getting into computer programming and how cool it would be to go into an office with a laid back style to work as a programmer. Sure, watching Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in “The Internship” made me dream of working at Google, but I’ll be a little more realistic than that.

The main problem holding me back from taking the steps towards being able to land a job in programming is the one limited supply we all have: time. There have been multiple projects, assignments and more recently business ventures I feel I’ve missed out on because I didn’t have the time. I used that as an excuse for not applying myself to a craft that I claimed I loved and wanted to be a part of my life.

No longer will that be the case! After scouring the internet and finding Free Code Camp, reading reviews on it and the doors these challenges and courses can open for me, I’m dedicated to making this happen. I’m hoping writing here on Medium about my journey, thoughts on the languages I’m learning and anything else in between will continue to push me towards my ultimate goal. If writing articles becomes a barrier between me and the learning then I’ll write less frequently or not at all. If it keeps me accountable to my audience (of one: myself) then the writing will continue.

One thing is for sure and that’s I want to put my best foot forward and give myself a chance to obtain what I believe it is that I want. If I find that I get half way through this program and a career in computer programming is not what I want then I’ll be able to move on from it. But if I never give myself a chance, I’ll spend the rest of my working life saying “what if…” and that’s not something I want to live with.

I don’t envision there will be many people following me along on this journey and that’s OK. I’m doing this for me. If by writing about this experience encourages others to do the same or helps anyone in some way, that’s even better.

Enough with the writing! Time to start learning!