Interview with Mosh Hamedani

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

For the people who don’t know, what you can tell about yourself?

Hi! My name is Mosh Hamedani. Over the last three years, I’ve taught over 1M students how to code or how to become a better coder through my online courses and YouTube channel.

I’ve been working as a software engineer for the past 18 years and I love to share my knowledge with you. It’s my mission to make coding accessible to everyone.

How came up it the idea of Programming with mosh?

I wanted to start a blog from a long time but I always wondered: what should I write? Who’s going to find my blog? These self-sabotaging reasons prevented me from starting my blog. Later on, when I started teaching online, I got a lot of requests from my students for more content. And that’s when I started my blog to provide more content to my students. I should be honest and say: I’m still not very active on my blog as most of my time goes into video production.

How you organize, plan, and prioritize your work?

I start my day by writing the list of tasks I need to do on a piece of paper. Yes, I’m old school! I use Mac’s reminders to create a long list of items to be done but that’s merely to make sure I don’t forget. But I like to write my tasks on a piece of paper and when I’m done, I put a tick next to them. To me, that’s way more satisfying than marking a task as completed in software.

Can you share a story when you were about to quit and you didn’t?

Not really! Since I started programming, I’ve always been so determined and passionate. The thought of quitting never even crossed my mind. Quit to do what?

What type of mindset a person need to have to learn programming languages?

Becoming a programmer requires patience and independence. We constantly have to fix bugs, deal with cryptic errors that may not make sense at first, find creative solutions to solve problems, etc. You should be patient and research without constantly asking people to help you. In fact, in my opinion, programmers who ask for help are often the best coders.

Twenty years ago, when I started learning programming, I didn’t have access to all the resources we have these days. All I had was books. We didn’t have Google. We didn’t have StackOverflow. I remember I used to stay up until 4am to fix a bug in my C programs. I had to look at every memory location, byte by byte, to see what I put there and whether I should have cleared that. But all that hard work paid off.

Over the past 4 years, I’ve taught over 200,000 people through my online courses. A lot of my students, as soon as something doesn’t work, get frustrated. They immediately jump on the discussion boards, post the error, and get mad if I or my TA don’t respond to them within a day. No offence, but people like that are not meant to be programmers. If you’re one of them, you may do better doing something else! I’m just being frank with you.

These days, we are spoiled with the abundance of resources. Any errors you encounter, you can Google that error message exactly as is and I guarantee that in 90% of the cases, the first link in the search result is a StackOverflow page that answers your question. Posting the error, waiting for your instructor to hold your hands, and then getting mad and sending nasty messages if they don’t respond to you promptly is not the attitude of a programmer.

The more patient and independent you are, the better programmer you’ll be. Period.

What books you recommend to the people who are starting learning how to program?

Two books that changed my thinking are “Agile Principles, Patterns and Practices” and “Clean Code”. They’re both by Uncle Bob. His content has helped me grow enormously. I’m a big fan! These are both old books. I have to admit that I haven’t read many books over the past few years. These days I’m constantly reading documentations or watching videos.

Where people should start when they want to begin to learn programming language for the first time?

Again, there are lots of resources out there. I don’t want to promote any websites or organizations. I also have a number of courses for absolute beginners who want to learn a programming language for the first time.

What is the next milestone to Programming with mosh?

Right now, we’re working on a bigger brand but with a simpler name called codewithmosh.com It’s a work in progress. I’m interviewing a few bloggers to join my team. We’re planning to create more quality content for people.

What you answer when people message you saying that they are too old to start?

I have a blog post about this: https://programmingwithmosh.com/general/you-cant-be-a-developer/

What motivates you?

Seeing the impact I have in people’s lives. Every day I get emails from people telling me how I’ve helped them transform their lives, get a programming job or a become a senior developer. I had this guy messaging me and say: “Mosh, I used to be a security guard but because of you I got my first junior developer job. I owe a lot of that to you.” I was very excited for him!

What’s your definition of success?

The positive impact we have on this world. How many people we help.

What you think of work/life balance?

Extremely important but I personally don’t have that! It’s something I constantly struggle to adjust. I love my work. I love coding. I’m always in front of my laptop, learning, coding, creating new content for my students. Even when I come home, my mind is busy. Even when I’m in the shower or sleeping! But I know that’s not good.

What is the best advice you can give to the people who are reading this?

Pursue your dreams. Do what you’re really passionate about. Don’t pursue something because others are doing that. Being a software developer is not easy. Pursue it if you’re really passionate about it, not because Jack and Jill became programmers and they earned an extra $20k/year. As I said, programming requires a lot of patience, problem solving skills and independence. If you don’t have these attributes, you’re not going to make it. Instead of wasting your time on programming, do something you’re really passionate about. Would you rather be a world-class interior designer or an average programmer?

-Mosh Hamedani

Mosh twitter https://twitter.com/moshhamedani

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