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Discussion on: Day 0: Welcome To My Blog

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Red Cap Tom • Edited on

Awesome! I remember getting the same vibes when I was younger, then feeling that it was time to buckle down and properly learn to code.

I can suggest a small mental exercise that can help in proving to yourself that you can actually code, even if you're a total n00b in your own opinion. Try the following:

Imagine you're a big-time manager at Acme Corp. You have dozens of employees working for you, have an awesome time at work and generally love your life.

However, there is this pesky little problem in the back of your mind. It's not really worth any of your employee's time, but it's bugging you since like a month or so.

There's this piece of data, coming in via e-mail from a customer, that you're tired of copy-pasting into some Excel sheet on some OneDrive somewhere. You'd really, really like to have that automated, but since it only takes like 5 or 10 minutes of your time once every few days to properly extract the information, format it, then put it into the Excel document, you let it slide.

Now consider that you took up some coding on the side, just for fun, because you enjoyed the challenge. You kinda know how you can manage to extract the data from that email, massage it with a little bit of code, then put it in the Excel sheet.

And now, for fun and profit - assume that you've got all the extracting from e-mail + inputting into Excel parts pre-created for you. All you have to do is get the data from one format (the one in the email) into another format (the one in the Excel sheet).

Sit down and actually make this data massaging happen. It might take a while, you might sweat and curse, but I believe you will succeed. Actually, you might find a smart way of doing it that is quite fast. And in fact, you might show that to a programmer friend or some weird dude with a red hat on the interwebs, and they will tell you that you can actually make it a bit shorter. A bit nicer. A bit cooler.

And then, out of the blue, you have a working piece of code that solves a real problem - one that you have encountered in the wild, and have solved with code.

Take a step back from the dream, and open you browser. Take a small stroll down Google-lane, looking for "How to get information out of E-Mails in JS" and "How to get information into Excel in JS". These are solved problems, with a plethora of tutorials and tools to help you get 90% of the way.

The remaining 10%? That's the code you already wrote.

If automating your life in that way is not what programming is all about, I don't know what it is about. And if you can do it, aren't you a programmer already?

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Sergiu Pruteanu

Keep it up and good luck!

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Caitlin Elliott Author

Thank you!