Boot-camp, fast-track, rabbit hole, red pill.

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

―Morpheus, to Neo

Imagine, if you will, it’s a stormy night, a man in a long, black, leather duffle coat approaches you and offers you two choices, just like Morpheus does to Neo in The Matrix movie. Do you take the red pill and continue to discover what it means to tumble down the rabbit hole, like Alice; or do you take the blue pill and never discover the world at the end of the rabbit hole? In this case, Wonderland could take you to a place where you might just discover what coding can bring to you and what you can bring to world with code.

Well, for me, and hopefully if you’ve come this far, for you too; you’ve taken the red pill and leapt over the edge to follow the white rabbit down that long rabbit hole.

It’s been four months or so since I took the red pill. I haven’t done any sort of magical bullet dodging tricks or learned martial arts in a few minutes or anything as exciting as what Neo does; but what I have learned is patience, practice and persistence pays off.

Be patient. Don’t rush into things and want to learn all the things at once. Give yourself time to learn the basics, the rest will come later.

Practice. Do exercises, train and retrain, go over one hill at a time and eventually you’ll get the gist and knowledge to level up. Then there’ll be other hills, always other hills, but maybe slightly less steep.

Be persistent. Don’t just give up. If you think your code stinks, give it to someone else to smell and see if they can clean out the stink, or maybe your code isn’t as bad as you think.

Then repeat steps one through three. It’s a cycle you’ll need to have on a continuous loop if you want to journey through the world of code. As your confidence grows you’ll write better code, but you’ll still need the three Ps.

In my time with Coder Academy (formerly Coder Factory Academy) I’ve learned Ruby, Rails, HTML and CSS and some SQL and database stuff. It’s all come in handy on my journey down code road, there’s been twists and turns and some side-quests along the way, but it’s all been worth it.

If all, or even some, of that last paragraph sounds a bit like gobbledygook at the moment that’s fine. It’s supposed to. Especially if you’ve never explored this twisty turny highway before, or taken the tumble down the rabbit hole. Just what is an SQL? What’s Rails and Ruby? Perfectly acceptable questions to be asking right now.

As for my experience with all of these things: I’ve had highs, and lows. It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride to say the least. There’ve been things I don’t immediately understand, and things I’ve understood straightaway, things I sometimes think are so easy a 2 year-old could do it. Have I learned new skills? Definitely. Have I been frustrated? Oh yes, most certainly. Has it been fun and inspirational? Yep and yep.

At first you’ll create simple programs, these will give you the confidence to build more complex programs later on. Then just when you think you’ve got a handle on everything and all the ducks start to line up in a nice neat row, you’ll get thrown once again down that long rabbit hole and you’ll get frustrated with the more complex programs.

But don’t despair, there’s always a handy guide if you get really stuck, and there’s helpful staff and students to guide you along the way. And there’s the always dependable Google if all else fails. You’ll make new friends, new connections and learn new languages. You’ll feel the exhilaration of what it means to build something from scratch and finally get it to work properly.

So, if you’re even considering taking the red pill or tumbling down that rabbit hole or journeying down the twisty turny road, or a number of other metaphors, then do it. You won’t regret it, I haven’t.

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