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Alexander Edwards
Alexander Edwards

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Why I Started, and Why I'll Be Continuing: Coding

Hiya! I recently got enrolled in Flat Iron Schools to learn Software Development. It is a moment of great excitement for me to finally get into anything related to coding, as it has been an aspiration for me since I first learned about it as a teen. This blog post is a required assignment given by Flat Iron Schools, but it is also an opportunity to show off my eagerness for coding to others, as well as give an insight to what one would hope to expect from me as a future software developer.

The majority of my life has been spent on the computer, and I owe my joys in life, as well as my current social circles, to my time on the screen throughout the years. Whether it is spending most of my childhood glued to the screen playing Flash games, or communicating with my friends across the globe through Discord, computers have been the center of my life. When I began really getting into videogames when I was younger, I knew that I wanted to one day make one myself. Being able to create a game and, more importantly, a community that loves the game, is something that I aspire to do. Although I don't spend as much time playing videogames as I used to, I still hold this aspiration.

Around two years ago, I decided to drop out of college, realizing that a four year program was going to be too mentally draining, and the amount of time that it was going to consume from my life was illogical to me, thinking that my time would be better spent elsewhere. I decided that maybe I will return to school at a later time in life, but if I was going to try again, it would have to be a short, one-year program like a trade school. In the meantime, I was set on living in Richmond with friends and working my way up any retail job I could get into.

In July of 2021, I joined Amazon as a warehouse worker, and although the pay is competitive for being entry-level, it is the most soul destroying line of work I have been in. My job involves mindlessly following a prompt on a scanner, walking to the designated area and picking the item it wants me to. This line of work feeling robotic, plus isolating me by not allowing time to socialize, led me to realize that my life goal needs to change from working my way up in a warehouse career, to something more gratifying. Luckily for me, Amazon had fliers around the building advertising a Career Choice for Flat Iron Schools.

Flat Iron Schools presented me with the perfect opportunity: an ~8 month program that promises to teach you coding skills and land you a job. I decided to take the Software Development course, as it was the only course offered in my area. This program was exactly what I was looking for, and Amazon would be paying for it in full, which was a necessity for me at the time. I signed up and was accepted into the school after a two month selection process.

Since February, I have began the program and am currently having some fun with it! At first I was a bit scared to know how hard the course would be, but so far it hasn't been too frustrating and rather it is somewhat enjoyable. I am currently learning JavaScript with the use of Ubuntu, VSC, and GitHub. As I am finally able to get hands on experience with coding myself, I realize that I am wired to do coding. Getting started on a project; not understanding how I am supposed to approach something; learning methods and lines from others; then figuring out how to do it myself and completing the project, has been such a satisfying experience and I can see myself doing projects of my own in my free time. I am excited to get to know other languages that I will be learning from this school and beyond.

A few additional, critical thoughts I'd like to share that are important to me as a person:

  • I believe learning software development directs me to career paths that will give me benefits such as higher salaries and the ability to work remotely. While these are very important to me, the main reason why I chose to make coding my career rather than other professions, is that coding is useful to me outside of work. Many projects that were impossible for me before, are now a possibility. I plan to not waste this amazing opportunity given to me.
  • Some projects that I look forward to creating with code include: fun side projects with close friends, helping charities create programs/websites, creating my own startup, as well as many other ideas that I will stumble upon in the future.
  • Although I said earlier that making a videogame is a passion for me, what is more important to me is creating "something", or working on a team that creates "something", that helps or builds a community. I tend to value the positive impacts I make on people/communities, over the "something" that created said impact. Creating a videogame is just one way that I am familiar with and extremely well versed in, that can achieve this goal of mine.

While I can go on and on with how excited I am to learn code, and the things that I could possibly do with code, I can only do so if I complete the first steps. Right now, I am in my second month of the Flat Iron School, and completing the rest of the program is my greatest priority. In order to complete it I also need to continue working at Amazon during this time, which has been a struggle mentally as of recently. I think the next six or so months will be the most demanding period in my life, but I hope to come out the other side with skills and a source of income, that will help me follow my true passion: coding.

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