The Best Thing About Teaching Myself to Code Wasn’t that I Can Code

I love learning but never liked school.

School told me that the time to learn math was 12:55 to 1:50. School made me read pages 142–175 and answer problem set 7 on page 176. School gave me a quiz the next day. School often made me sit quietly in a chair while someone talked at me. School had no obvious or immediate practical application. School made me think sports are cool and learning isn’t. School taught everyone the same things with the same methods at the same pace.

Teaching myself to code was the opposite of school.

I had no boundaries, no rules. I pursued every direction that interested me. I watched a few videos on computer science, then read a blog post about website vulnerabilities, then built a website or scraper while figuring out and researching everything as I went. Sometimes I worked for six hours straight, forgetting to eat, and other times I worked for 15 minutes. I swam or biked or ate when I wanted to do something else. I learned in the morning, at night, and on the weekends. Most of the time, when I wasn’t learning, I couldn’t wait to get back to it.

I love learning and loved learning to code.

Teaching myself to code taught me how to learn. Taught me that learning could be fun, fulfilling, inspiring, empowering, flexible, challenging, and practical. Taught me that I can teach myself almost anything, without anyone’s help. Taught me to try to figure it out before asking someone. I’d learn more that way, probably find the answer myself, and feel better about it.

The best thing about teaching myself to code was learning to learn.

And, as a nice bonus, now I can code.

(P.S. This blog post is three parts the problems with much of our educational system, two parts how valuable, practical, and fun I found coding to be, and one part my personality and lack of maturity through age 25.)

@jaredcohe
disclaim.in

Related Posts:
- From Lawyer to Startups: My Poorly Executed But Successful Career Change
- The wrong question: “I want to learn to code, what should I do?”
- Learn the Basics of Computer Science and Web Development