My name is Olivier. I'd like to use this post to talk a bit about what I've been up to since I started programming at the beginning of this year.
A couple of years ago I moved to a different country, right after getting a bachelors degree. I thought it would be easy to find a job. It was not.
After a period of job applications and volunteering work I decided I needed a change.
A friend pointed me in the direction of programming and suggested checking out Udemy. I quickly looked up which languages are popular and I stumpled upon a Python Bootcamp. I decided I wanted to try the #100DaysofCode challenge - I needed a new challenge and I was ready to put in the time and effort.
Part of it was curiosity to see if I could take the time every day, for one hundred days, to learn a new skill. It soon became about proving to myself that this is a direction I take seriously. It did not participate on twitter. I didn't really keep track of the time I spent learning - there were days of 6+ hours and days I came home late in the evening and barely managed to put in one hour. That doesn't really matter. It was about creating a new habit and keeping to it. And I'm glad I did.
I saw this site recommended everywhere and I think I know why. It makes following courses so easy. I love the blue checkmarks. I love seeing the progressbar advancing.
I started out with The Complete Python Bootcamp by Jose Portilla. I really liked his style of teaching with lots of exercises and assessments.
After that I followed a more practical course: learning python while building an idle clicker tycoon game. This was a good way to see the same concepts in a different context. It also introduced me to TKinter.
At the same time I looked at Design Patterns, but it might have been too early - I shall need to revisit this.
Data Science seemed like an obvious choice since I have a background in chemistry. I like manipulating data to extract information and I like optimizing the visualization of it.
I felt a bit hesitant to start with the Machine Learning part of the course without first reading more about statistical learning and algorithms.
Since all of this is relatively new to me, I want to see different domains of programming. So I checked out a course on REST API with Python and Flask. I also added some SQL in the mix. Right now I just started Full stack web development with Django.
I'm used to studying from books and other sources, but I really like following courses on Udemy. It's not just watching video's, but filling out notebooks with exercises, challenges and projects.
Of course these courses are limited in their scope and some of the instructors do a good job of pointing you in the direction of where to go deeper into the subject matter.
Taking a leap into new territory isn't easy. These are a couple of my challenges.
Too much to learn..
I sometimes get overwhelmed by all the topics I still want to check out. I like discovering new things and so I browse the catalogues for new courses to take - going from one topic to the next. Which might lead to..
Not taking the time to do the projects.
When finishing up a course I'm excited to dive into the next one. I should spend more time doing a project with what I just learned - making it my own before moving on.
I was used to having a university tell me what I need to learn and be able to do. Now, I'm not yet sure what my future employer expects from me. I'm not even sure I know what I expect from myself. What level am I aiming at? Figuring this out on my own is hard. Articles I've read here are really helpful.
All of this takes place online or on my computer and at one point I started to lose track of all the stuff I was doing. So I started to visualize it better. Rewriting my resume helped. Taking notes with pen on paper helps me memorize things better. And so this post as well is an effort to keep track of my progress.
A big part of the reason I'm doing this is to open up a new career path, and so people ask me: "Do you actually like it?". Well, yes! I surprised myself a little finishing the first 100 days without skipping a day. Right now it's been a little over 4 months and I'm still very much motivated to put in the effort to get to a level where I'm confortable and confident with what I can do.
Creating a Portfolio
I'd like to create a portfolio with a couple of projects I'm proud of, to send out along with my resume to job applications.
I've seen this mentioned a couple of times here and there and I think I might benefit a lot from it - to help me keep track of where I am at and where I want to be.
..for taking the time reading this. I'd love some feedback.