Starting Fresh: My First Year Coding in Wonderland

Photo by Evelyn Cosplay on Unsplash

I am bad at math, bad at chemistry, bad at physics. So I decided to learn magic instead. Since I’ve always loved the act of creation, it seems clear to me that magic is the way to go. It’s the kind of magic that is able to create something out of nothing. This story is how I started my journey, from my high school love story, to what I am doing now.

I will tell you the story about how I started coding, I hope you can take the good things and not repeat the same mistakes as I did.

Once upon a time, when the dragons roamed the Earth, and I was still in high school, I didn’t have any ideas of what I will do in the future. The reason for that uncertainty isn’t that complicated, I am just so, so bad at almost all the subjects high school has for me. At that point, even my school guidance counselors don’t know what major I should take for college.

One day, when I was still confused and did not know what to do, I had an exam about creating formulas on excel. I think that’s the first time my teacher praised me for doing something “good” in high school. So I started to find out more about excel formulas, and then I stumbled upon coding.

If you wonder why the title is coding in wonderland, it’s because when I found out about coding, I felt the same experience as when I watched the Disney classic Alice in Wonderland. I do not know what is happening, but I am so amazed by that. It feels like magic. You can almost create everything with code as long as it’s not a physical thing.

I started to try learning how to code by myself. I was so confused, I didn’t know where to begin. There’s just so much information and I got overwhelmed, so I stopped. The reason I stopped is not because I gave up, but because I feel like I need to find a better way to do things, and I figured out that the better way is to find a teacher.

The easiest way to get a teacher is to apply to a major that studies coding. So I did, and I decided that I will take Informatics as my major. Because of that, I need to start studying other subjects so I can pass the college enrollment test which is only 6 months away. That means I don’t have much time to prepare. So I studied, and I studied, and I studied.

A few years passed, my hard work paid off. I successfully entered university with Informatics as my major. This is when I really started coding for real. After the first semester I realized that I’ll need to learn the basics before you do anything else. So I learned the fundamentals of coding.

You know, before you can build the roof, you need to build the foundations first. During my time in university, I learned about print out, conditional, loop, array, recursive, and other basic coding things. At first it looks like it feels like I’m progressing really slowly, because I don’t understand why the teachers didn’t just tell me to create real applications and then I’ll learn by doing. But I was wrong, we really need to understand the basics. Because no matter what programming language you choose, it always has almost the same basic functions. It’s just the syntax that is different, but the logic is the same. Always remember, it is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.

Around six months after my first day in university. I was finally able to create my first simple application for a basic programming class’s final project. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I wrote a code about Invoker, one of the DOTA, a Moba game wildly popular among my peers, characters that have plenty of spells, and you need to give 3 input combinations to conjure his spell.

My application can read your input and show what spell you conjured up. At that moment, I am so happy with my accomplishment, and to think that I got it done in one year! I feel so blessed to have met my high school computer teacher, because of him I found my wonderland for now.

By the way, I started college in 2014. And after 6 years I am still learning a lot of new things about coding. So don’t stop learning and don’t be afraid to start a new thing, because you won’t know that you may find your wonderland in the most unexpected ways, inside a rabbit hole maybe?

No matter your takeaway from reading this, please remember that you also can find magic in what you do, you’re very lucky if you can create magic in your line of work too. And one thing I want to impart to all of you is this: No matter what you think, Alice is the best Disney princess.

So go out there and create magic for yourself and for the people you love!

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Stories about designing and building tech that matters to people.

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Saddhana Arta Daniswara

Saddhana Arta Daniswara

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