5 Things to Consider when starting your Coding Journey

Nathaniel Martinez
4 min readOct 4, 2023

Growing up, I never thought I would be here.

As a kid being a procrastinating perfectionist, I was paralyzed on deciding what to do with my life. I would imagine myself being so many different things, but I would just move on to the next dream.

Until one day, I saw an ad for something called a “coding boot camp”. The idea of coding was something I only saw in the movies and tv shows. The only kind of technology I knew was fixing printers, making a spreadsheet, or shutting devices on and off.

Coding was never something that I believed I could do.

But for some reason, I took a chance anyway.

While situations in my life caused me to leave the boot camp, I was given the key to the most profound discovery of my life. That discovery was that anyone can code, including me. Anyone that’s willing to dream, but also willing to stay with the process.

In this article, we will discuss what I learned in my 2-year journey as a web developer. I hope that all of the highs and lows that I’ve experienced will help you on your journey.

Learn as you go

If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be “Learn as you go”.

Personally, I’ve struggled with being a “procrastinating perfectionist”. I never wanted to get big tasks done because I felt the conditions weren’t right.But thinking that way caused me to have no idea where to start.

The only way to get better as a developer…is to code.

In your journey, it will be impossible to memorize every bit of code. Development is about putting parts in to get a new thing out. Everything in between can be solved by googling, asking other developers, or from watching a video. Eventually, the more experience you get, the more it will become familiar to you.

Tip: Don’t feel like you need to build the greatest piece of technology this world has ever seen. Build small. The more you build small, the more you will grow your knowledge, and build on top of what you already know.

Being a developer isn’t about being a genius, it’s about building products that you’ll be proud of, no matter the size of that product.

In order to code something, you first have to figure out what you want to build with your code.

Now, you might be asking, “What exactly should I build?

…that question brings me to my next point.

Focus on a project that you will love

I can’t even begin to say how long I spent looking for ways to get better. To make the process a bit simpler for you, I can tell you the best method to get better.

That method is building a project.

I suggest not just making any project, but something you want to create. What is something that you can solve a problem you’re having? What conversations have you had or observations have you made?

Ultimately, build anything that makes you excited to see the result of. That will keep me motivated and determined to stick with it. Just make sure the project isn’t too complicated, or you’ll likely become confused and discouraged.

Tip: Look up other peoples’ projects of your field in development(For example: ‘app development ideas for beginners’) for inspiration.

Write it out

Contrary of what you may have believed, computers aren’t naturally “smart”. It needs our help to give it instructions to perform tasks. Writing steps in our language allows us to organize exactly what we want the computer to do in code in an organized way.

It’s like a cooking recipe, but for computers.

Writing out the exact measurements and ingredients to make a cake, allows any person to make the same cake, as long as they follow the recipe.

Building a recipe before you code will help you stay focused on the step-by-step process of your code. And if the code doesn’t do what you want, you can always check back on your recipe to see if there were any errors.

Writing out our code transforms our brain to think logically, and in terms of steps, rather than random guesswork and assumption.

Never forget WHY you started

I know this may sound cliché, but there’s a reason why it’s a cliché, especially for developers.

It’s a guarantee that you’re going to feel overwhelmed when you’re starting out, and you might feel that way quite often.

But when you remember why you started this journey, you’ll remember that the end goal is greater than giving up. Trust me, even the most experienced developers still feel this way almost daily.

You don’t have to write it on your walls, unless that works for you, but no matter what that reason may be, just remember this is a process.

Growing as a developer is a marathon, not a sprint.

Tip: Don’t forget to take frequent breaks. Staying hydrated, going for a walk, heavy breathing, doodling, journaling, listening to music are just a few examples of productive rest. Getting away from the screen allows your mind to refresh.

Share with the world

What’s the point of building awesome projects, if you can’t share it with the people around you?

When you share your progress, you not only show potential employers or collaborators a portfolio of what you can do, but you also contribute to a community that often gives back.

Joining together with people who want to create awesome stuff as well, will help you grow as a developer and a collaborator. Remember, it’s not about getting famous, it’s about reinforcing the idea of continuous growth as an individual and a part of something so much bigger.

Conclusion

My coding journey was filled with moments of frustration…but they’re also many moments of triumph and satisfaction that make the frustration worth it. In my experience, the developer community is really kind and supportive.

If you have any questions, or ideas and projects to share, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Even if it’s about writing about your journey, like I’ve done.

Good luck out there, and keep dreaming big things!

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