For those of you who don’t know me, Hey, Hello, I’m Julia. I learned how to code in only 3 months through an accelerated learning program. Today I have my dream job as a system developer at an innovative digital bank. In my backpack I carry a masters degree in political science and economics and before my coding days I worked with communication and politics for the Swedish Government. So how did I end up as a system developer you may ask? Well. First things first, some things needs to be straighten out before diving into this topic.
I learned all of my coding skills from Academic Works accelerated learning program Academy. For further information about their program please visit www.academy.se. I am not writing as a representative of Academic Work and this is not a sponsored post.
Before attending Academy my programming skills were very poor. I knew some very basic html and I had many times tried to pick up programming skills with no success, mainly through online teaching programs such as Codecademy, FreeCodeCamp etc.
Just because you can learn something in three months does not mean that it’s easy. It involves a lot of hard work and effort. I have deep respect to the depth of understanding and skills of those working professionals who has spent years studying the subject.
This post will only focus on how I learned how to code. I’ll get back to why I decided to change carrier path in another post.
Okay. So I think that’s enough backstory for now.
Here’s how I went from not knowing a single line of code to working as a system developer in only 12 weeks with accelerated learning.
I had passionate teachers
The best teachers gives purpose to the subject by sharing their love for what they teach. I had teachers who was not only skillful coders but also great at passing on their knowledge and passion for programming. Coding is much like a piece of art, it’s a pyramid, a web and the beauty of it lies in the fact that it all makes sense – when you understand it. The teachers job is to take you through this complexity step by step, layer by layer, helping you see the magnificence behind the code. It’s a tough job and not everyone is set for it.
I was surrounded by likeminded friends
Environment is everything. I know this because I’ve tried to learn coding by myself before. Honestly, I have no self-discipline. If I got stuck for more than 5 minutes I’d give up and turn on the next episode of Suits on Netflix instead. There were no one to ask and no one to motivate me. At Academy I was lucky to be surronded by people that was dying to learn just as much as I was and some with the skills to help me out in times of trouble. Peer to peer learning is not just a buzzword, it works, motivation is contagious!
I got to code with context
Less theory more coding. Give me a problem, teach me how to solve it. Give me real life skills not abstract theory. Academy does this great, 500 coding hours in 12 weeks, grasp that, five_hundread_hours, practice makes perfect. I was coding all day everyday for 12 weeks so I managed to exceed in an exceptional pace. Practical learning shaped by real challenges in the working life gave me context which intensified my understanding for what I was doing, how I was doing it but most importantly WHY I was doing it.
I was in a safe haven for stupidity
Let’s face it, we’re all stupid and that’s completely fine because we want to learn. When you’re new to coding there will be a lot of questions, a lot of things does not make sense. Sometimes you have to ask the exact same questions several times before you understand. Why is there a parenthesis there but not there? Curly bracet here or not? So the ‘#’ says sharp and not hashtag? A growth mindset can only be accomplished if you feel safe enough to ask stupid questions. Communication, constant feedback and time for reflection is therefore just as important than the keyboard you type on.
I had structure, expectations and deadlines
Pressure is privilege. That’s why many of us fail to learn things on our own, we just lack the self-discipline and motivation to do so. Having gone Academy’s learning program I knew what was expected, when it was due and how they would help me get there. Without goals you’re just a blob floating in midair with no motion. Set yourself up for structure and you’ll find it easier to follow through. Rise to the challenge.
I focused on fun
I can’t stress this enough, you need to have fun. Just in general, fun is the fuel, when you have fun you excel in ways people who’re bored never will. Learning gets easier and you soak up new information much quicker. So learning should be fun and when I was learning how to code I played around with developing fun apps and mini games. We had lots of after school activites including video games, air console, happy hour and the werewolf.
I had benifical personal skills
Coding is a process of wonderful creating, that being said, you will have moments where you’ll want nothing else but to set the computer on fire and throw it out of the window. It’s a natural part of coding, but whenever you feel like this, patience is key.
Don’t get me wrong on this one. You don’t have to be the “steriotypical programmer” who is introvert and loves video games and anime. But you have to have a love for solving problems, creating, a curiosity for the future, for the new and constantly learning, constantly being on your tip toes.
Not mandatory, but it helps, a lot. Many people ask me if you have to be good at math to be a good programmer and the simple answer to that is no. Having a logical mindset does not equal being good at math, trust me, I’m a walking example.
The field of IT is prestigeless. Since the industry is everchanging you’ll just have to bite the sour apple and admit to yourself that you will never be fully learned.