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so you want to be a programmer...

Presentation materials for Skillshare class

Tanner Welsh

on 15 March 2013

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Transcript of so you want to be a programmer...

designing your learning path: why do you want to be a programmer? orientation attitude study plan community print("Hello, world!"); Before you begin your quest, you should have some good answers for the following questions. You can seek support in answering them, but ultimately it comes down to your personal motivations and priorities. riddle me this: Where do you want to be in 6 months? 1 year? 5 years? - This will help determine what kind of learning plan you need.
What field do you want to work in (i.e. web, mobile, enterprise software, etc.)? - This will tell you what topics you should study.
And finally, you should ask yourself: do you really want to learn software engineering or do you just want to know "enough to communicate with a tech team"? hackers are people, too. That's right! Although they may not all look like Angelina Jolie, they are humans with feelings and desires and frustrations. They have no magical powers. That being said, being a programmer does require special skills and abilities. You can learn them, and you will find your learning to be much improved by adopting the right attitude. did you know? Be humble, curious, and go easy on yourself.
Expect to be confused, frustrated, cry a little (or a lot), and to spend long hours solving problems.
You have to accept learning-by-doing. You can't get this shit from a book (although reading books is still very useful).
Remember: you are not your code. You will write tomes of bad code before you get to the good stuff. There is no terminus to your learning. but it sure helps to have a map. You know where you want to go. You know more or less how difficult it will be, and you are okay with that. The question remains, "how do you get there?" One destination, many paths, as they say. You have to pick the right course given your goals, resources, and constraints.

The principle questions you should consider include: the map is not the territory. How much time and money am I willing to invest?
Am I good at self-study or do I need a group environment to keep me on track?
What are my particular learning objectives and can I map them to my schedule? Even if you have the money and time to invest in professional training, expect to spend at least 3 very intense months getting to a beginner level. Many will need much more than this to reach a "hireable" proficiency. If time and money are tight, then expect to spend more time on solo learning. Developing a deliberate practice is crucial, and you will need to work more on your own portfolio. Community engagement is key. learning is all about feedback. Newsflash! There are lots of smart, friendly people out there who love helping eager, passionate people like yourself. You should find them, and use them.

Learning to program is not an isolated activity. Despite the stereotypes, developers are quite social. We share code and ideas. We review each other's work. We make things open source and we set up massive websites dedicated to solving each other's problems. Get involved in the community (meetups, hackathons, etc.).
Find meetups that cater to beginners or are less intensely technical and have more emphasis on show and tell.
Seek feedback from mentors, friends, and online community. fail fast, fail often. At the end of the day, programming is just solving problems with computers.

It's not magic, and it's not for everyone.

But if you are the kind of person who loves enduring endless confusion interspersed with bursts of elegance and glorious harmony, then you might just want to give it a shot. So you want to be a programmer An opinionated outline of paths to becoming
a master of the machines Presented by... Vikram Oberoi Tanner Welsh Instructor & Curriculum Designer
at Dev Bootcamp

@tannerwelsh tanner@devbootcamp.com

I have spent many years learning to code from books, websites, and real humans. Some of my efforts are more fruitful than others, and I'm continuously evolving my learning methods. Now I get to teach this stuff and that is very very much fun. Director of Business Intelligence
at Harrys | harrys.com

I'm a CS nerd, I love programming, and I especially enjoy teaching others how to do it. I caught the teaching bug in my college days, but haven't spent much time educating folks since. I'm really psyched about teaching others and, more importantly, understanding and helping solve the kinds of problems folks run into when learning how to program today.
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