Posted on Mon 23 May 2016

On being a beginner developer

My friend Jeremey has been learning JavaScript for a while. In this post he explains a problem I came up against in my own experience of learning iOS development:

I share the backstory to highlight two main hurdles I ran into:

  1. If you're thinking of pursuing a developer role through online learning, it's important to realize just how long the road is going to be. Finishing an online course is just the beginning.
  2. Moving from A) Finishing an online course to B) Squashing small bugs to finally C) New, creative feature development as a full-blown developer is very, very hard.

When I first tried learning to code I did a Ruby course. It involved lots of typing into the browser, and zero creating a project from scratch. When I finished that course, I had no idea how to start a new project, or what my next step should be to continue learning.

When I finished the Objective-C track on Treehouse (the same platform Jeremey used to learn JavaScript), I'd written quite a bit of code, and created a few simple projects from scratch. Thankfully, this emphasis on creating new projects (which, prior to Swift playgrounds, was pretty much essential for being able to write and run iOS code on your computer) meant I had some understanding of where to start.

I could create a new project. I could make new files. I couldn't do much, but I could get started.

I think that, along with my passion for iOS development, kept me going where my Ruby experience didn't.

But I'm still in the same boat as Jeremey. It's very, very hard to go from beginner to competent developer. I don't even know when I'll get there.

At least it's nice to know I'm not alone.

P.S. I make some stuff you might like: Exist, a personal analytics app to help you understand your life, and Larder, a bookmarking app for developers.

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