Why I’m Teaching Myself to Code

Skydiving, shark cage swimming, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and bungee jumping. Those are just some of the things you’ll typically find on people’s bucket lists. Learning to code is at the top of mine. Sure, it’s not as thrilling or as gut wrenching as jumping out of a plane, but the sheer joy of building things, solving puzzles and continuous learning, is what attracts me to coding.

After a few false starts and stops, I decided to seriously sit down and start learning to code after reading “Show Your Work” and “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. I highly recommend those two books for anyone who wants to or is about to start a hobby or project. Here are a couple of gems that gave me the kick in the ass that I needed.

1. You don’t have to be a genius.

One of the reasons why I kept putting it off, was because coding seemed so complicated and I assumed that you have to be a genius to know how to do it. I then came across this video on YouTube, in which Mark Zuckerburg, Chris Bosh and Drew Houston among others, talk about how they learnt to code. All of these greats initially found coding to be intimidating but then after actually doing it, learned that it doesn’t take a genius to do it. It mostly takes determination.

2. Make things.

Coding is all about making things and I love the idea of building something that people can see, use and interact with. There’s also the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes from turning an idea and concept into something tangible.

3. Do good work and share it with people.

Last month, when I decided to commit to learning how to code, I signed up for Free Code Camp (FCC) which is an open source community where you learn to code full stack JavaScript. What I love about FCC, is that it gives you assignments and projects to complete along the way. So you basically build while you learn. Here’s a look at my progress so far along with my first completed project which is a Grace Jone’s Tribute page.

Regardless of whether my work is good enough or not, I’ve decided to put it out there and share it with the world because that’s the only way I can learn and get better. I’ve still got a long way to go but the journey is exciting, albeit challenging.

Here are other resources that I’m using to supplement my learning.

Ultimately, I do one day want to go scuba diving or shark cage swimming. But for now, I’m just fine with learning to code.