Learning to code after 40: my first 100 days

andevr profile image drew ・3 min read

100 days. It only takes 21 to make a habit (depending on who you ask). You can't do something for 100 days without learning something about yourself. Whether it's something as simple as "hey, I can stick with something" to "I can write an algorithm that calculates the square root of a chimp in motion" or some other big thing.

It really doesn't matter what you learn, as long as you do. So what did I learn in the last 100 days? Well first, some stats:

Hours programmed: I have no idea. (Great stat huh?)It was well over 100 hours. If I had to guess, it was over 200. Some days I managed to get in 3 or 4 hours, but I'm not sure of the exact total. At the very least, it was an hour a day average.

Days missed: 3. I'm counting 3 days missed, because there a couple days where programming was insanely difficult, and I barely got anything done. It's normal, by the way, to miss days sometimes. Just try not to make a habit of it.

Exercises written: 33
All written in Java for the course Tim Buchalka's Java Masterclass for Developers. Aimed at new people, it's the most comprehensive course out of the 28 I've purchased. While it isn't perfect, it has a ton of real coding exercises where he gives a problem and you have to solve it. Some of them took me as long as two weeks. The point behind them is to learn how to code on your own. By the way, I'm still not done with it. It's that big.

Stuff I Learned

I struggled for the first half of the challenge trying to learn JavaScript. That was partly due to my expectation of how courses are supposed to work, and how I learn.

Once I realized I need repetition, it really changed things for me.
Once I started the Java course, and started doing the exercises, it was like night and day. I was writing code on my own, with out watching someone else do it on video. I was solving problems.

I'm not going to say there werent any hiccups. But I'd made up my mind to write the challenges without googling solutions. That forced me to take each problem and break them into really small pieces and then write each tiny piece instead of looking at the whole.

I learned not to put pressure on myself to complete the goal of getting that developer job. My job is out there waiting; I know that already. I learned to focus just on the tiny step I make every day in the general direction.

I learned to let the IDE do its thing. After all the writing code out, using shortcuts like Sout (System.out.println() which is a damn mouthful to type) is a life saver. There's a ton of other things it does, such as letting you know if you've written something wrong before you ever compile.
With Java, an IDE is your best friend. It even taught me stuff while coding my exercises, such as offering ways of refactoring. Not that I always used the suggestions. But they were nice to have. Using an IDE almost feels like having someone more experienced offering help along the way.

What's Next?

I've always been interested in learning Android. Towards the end of my challenge, I went home for two weeks and decided to take a break from Java challenges and do something fun. I picked up some books from Packt, one of them was an android book. The last week or so I've been going through it.

The next 100 days I'm probably going to be working on learning android development. I've got some ideas for some games/apps, and after looking through all the options for a Java programmer, it's one of the few things that light my fire. I'll continue to learn Java, and probably mix in Kotlin since they are so closely entwined, especially in android development. Kotlin for the most part writes pretty close to Java, so it's not really a stretch to pick up.

I'm really excited about my next 100 days, and about what the future holds.

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andevr profile



42, learning to code. Proud dad of 1. Java newbie.


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It took me a while, but after using Go for a few months, I really like it. It's a lot simpler than, e.g., Java, C++, or even JavaScript, but I find I end up writing really clean, legible code with it.

And wow, does it ever compile fast!


Nice. Is there a language it's similar to in terms of syntax?

I guess it's probably closest to C, but with some niceties like range operators. Blocks are curly-brace delimited, etc.


That is great and we are in the same soup.
I also just started about a month a go and studying HTML, CSS first and from there will go yo java.
Its not been easy but with determination I know will will get there.


Thanks! Java is a lot of fun, you'll like it I'm sure.


I always thought about learning python, but because it doesn't seem to be used as a main language (for the most part) I've avoided it. It does seem like a fun language and very useful though. Let me know what you think of Go if you decide to try it out. I'm always curious about the lesser used languages.


That's fantastic! Nicely done :-)


Thanks! It's crazy how fast it goes. Doesn't seem like its been over 3 months lol.


Well done drew :) following you, hopefully you make another post for the 200th day mark


Thank you. I hope so :) that one will be fun to write.


Congrats on the first hundred!!