I'll use #SheCoded 2019 as an excuse to tell the story about how I had started coding.
When I was a child I hadn't any dreams of who I want to become, sadly. I have never written programs in Basic for Spectrum or did any similar stuff like some of my colleagues did.
My family got the computer in the late '90s when I was about 11 y.o. But I wasn't interested much in it then, albeit I enjoyed playing games once a while. Later, as I got access to the internet, I gained much more interest. The possibilities fascinated me, but still, I was just a user.
As for programming, we had Pascal lessons at high school. We were creating simple programs but had no understanding of how they could be applied to real life. Now I think that one of the biggest possible flaws of the education is detachment from reality.
I finished school at 16 and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. The default path was to enter the university, but I still had to choose one and a specialty. I was thinking about "something technical" (I somehow thought it was cool). With my test results, I could afford most of the specialties at the local university, so I've chosen "Computer Systems and Networks", cause it just seemed to be a nice one 🤷🏻
At the university, we had several programming courses like C, C++, and Assembly. At that time I used to think that "real" programming was too hard for me. It seemed to be not like what we had studied. We also had to learn a lot of outdated stuff at the uni, but I think it was still useful. At least I got the basic knowledge. I also suspect that I could have taken more of my studies if I had studied better. But I still was not aware that I'll need this in life.
Things changed for me when the OOP course started. We had Delphi, so we could use the visual editor to create a form with buttons, write several lines of code, and get a completely usable app. When I saw the result, my interest skyrocketed.
Initially, I was interested in mobile apps development (j2me and Symbian then), but I haven't spent much time learning that kind of programming, because I accidentally got into web development (and I liked it).
After the third year at the university, I started to look for a part-time job and was suddenly offered a trainee position at the local department of the Academy of Science. That doesn't sound impressive, but I was excited to get a real developer job. In the beginning, it was hard to dive into the code without proper knowledge of how the web and the databases work, but it was a good way to start.
Later I had several jobs, changed my primary programming language (from php to ruby), experienced frustration and burnout, found my passion for programming again, reflected a lot on my further goals, but that's another story.
Now when I think that it's impossible to learn something, I recall my first thoughts about programming. It turned out that "real" programming is not impossible and even not necessarily hard if you put effort.
- it's interesting
- it's a nice way to earn a fair amount of money (no shame for wanting that)
- it's a way to interact with smart people
- I can build useful stuff for myself and others
- improving the DEV codebase (and helping others to contribute)
- sharing my knowledge
- to consist of people who are willing to advance their communication skills
- to get rid of stereotypes
- to include more (and more) girls and women