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The Road to Code…

The journey to becoming a self taught developer

Last year I decided to take my interest in Software Development seriously.

So like most newbies I started looking for Bootcamps to enrol in…

Me scrolling through the Bootcamp curriculum vs Me when I saw the price

I didn’t realise bootcamps were so expensive! I already knew I couldn’t afford it, but I was still determined to learn so I opted to take the self-taught route.

I told myself that “Developers don’t have two heads. If they can learn how to code, then so can I”.

There are many pros and cons to being self taught in something —It is cheaper, but there is a lack of structure (well for me there was). It can be difficult to know what to prioritise, and if you’re like me, you will find yourself relearning the same concepts over and over again.

So I needed a solution.

And my solution was #80DaysofCode (variation of #100DaysofCode)

The challenge begins

Why 80 days? Very simple reason. At the time, there were 80 days until the 1st January 2021 and I was adamant on entering 2021 as a coder.

I didn’t have any social media accounts to document my progress, so I opted for the next best thing — a WhatsApp group chat. I created this with a friend for accountability and to post daily updates.

Some progress from Day 8 and Day 14

I coded for (almost) 80 days. The overall process was difficult and I lost motivation many times. The only thing motivating me was my end goal — by the beginning 2021 I would know how to code. I was determined to make it happen.

Some of the technical things I learnt were:

  • HTML5 / CSS3
  • JavaScript — JQuery, DOM Manipulation, Node.js
  • Frameworks — Bootstrap 4, React
  • GitHub & Git

I also built a few projects, which can be viewed on my GitHub page here.

One of the coolest projects I built was a Task Manager Web App —Users can add, delete and edit their to-do list. It was created using JavaScript, React, React Hooks and Context API.

The Journey Continues…

The learning never stops.

The 1st of January arrived and I was proud of my achievements so far, but I couldn’t just stop there. I thought it would be beneficial to learn some common concepts. This included:

  • Data Structures & Algorithms
  • Object Oriented Programming (OOP)
  • SOLID Principles

and I started to familiarise myself with new technologies which included:

  • Express.js
  • APIs

and this list will continue to grow (maybe you can all keep me accountable)!

Subsequently, in February 2021 I also launched my portfolio site.

My Portfolio Website

We are now in March 2021, so I can’t wait to see what I’ll be able to do by the end of the year!

My advice to fellow self-teachers

Learning to code is hard, but doing it alone makes it harder. I can’t promise you a smooth ride, but I can tell you having the willingness to learn and a positive mindset will help you reach your goal.

From a newbie to another newbie, here are some of my biggest takeaways:

  1. Plan, plan, plan! — It is very easy to get overwhelmed. Structure your time, find your learning style and set realistic goals.
  2. Find your learning style — This follows on from the previous point and is so important. We all learn in different ways for example, some people prefer to watch videos while some like to read a textbook. For me personally, I am an advocate for learning via videos. Find what’s best for you and stick with it.
  3. You learn by doing — Don’t rely solely on just watching or reading content. You will learn and retain more when you start building projects (That’s definitely when things started to stick in my head)
  4. Patience — You and frustration will probably become best friends for a while. If it wasn’t for the fact I purchased a new Macbook, I would have thrown my laptop on the floor! Coding takes time to master, but you will definitely get there. Be patient, trust the process and don’t be so hard on yourself.

Resources and Groups to Join

I can’t end this post without sharing the resources that helped me! Here are a few:

Free Code Camp (Free)

Stack Overflow

Udemy — The Complete 2020 Web Development Bootcamp

HarvardX — CS50 Introduction to Computer Science (Free)

The Come Up (YouTube)- Software Engineer based in the US

Programming with Mosh (YouTube) — Great code tutorials

Computer Science Tutorial (YouTube) — Good for React Native

Coding Black Females (Group)

There is so much more to share, but I will end here for now.

I will be documenting more of my journey here so stay tuned for more posts! Excited to see what the road ahead holds for me.

Photo by veeterzy on Pexels

Thank you for reading!




Build | Learn | Support. Growing, educating and supporting the community of black female developer

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Noelle D.

Noelle D.

Maths Graduate, Software Developer & Natural Hair Enthusiast

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