Why I decided to learn to code

Posted by sandyvern on September 16, 2016

I have been fascinated with computers for as long as I can remember. My parents brought home a Commodore 64 back in the early 80’s and I remember playing around with that thing all the time. I wanted to be able to ‘do things’ with it…not that I knew what it was that I wanted to ’do with it’, but it seemed like it should be able to do really cool things! I remember learning Logo so that I could make this little turtle move around the screen and even way back then I thought it was a pretty cool thing to type in some code and see it actually work.

Don’t Be Afraid to Blow Up Your Computer

Through the years, computers have remained a source of fascination to me. I have taught myself various aspects of computer skills as needed or when I read about some new technology that sounded interesting. Whether it was upgrading my computer with extra RAM, adding a video card, restoring a device back to factory settings, upgrading software/operating systems, learning about Blogger or Wordpress…all these things were just challenges to overcome…that I hoped, in the end, would result in a still functioning computer. And all in all, I think my computer-tinkering-endeavors have been relatively successful. I have managed to not blow up any computers that have been used as a testing ground for self-taught computer skills. And each successful computer-tinkering-endeavor spurs on my desire to learn more about computers.

Blue Screen of Death

In high school and college, I loved any and all required computer science classes which so many other of my fellow students hated. To me those classes ended up being easy A’s and also managed to win me some points with friends who were seemingly afraid of their computers, always worried that pressing the wrong button was going to blow up their computers. I still have friends coming to me for help with their computers or smartphones…with “how do you do xyz?” (It seems those same friends that were afraid of pressing the wrong button and blowing up their computers, have grown up to be people afraid to type their questions into Google.) Little do they know that Google is my BFF for learning how to do all these amazing things with computers (or actually, anything that I do!).

Learn When You Are Inspired to Do Something

Over the years, I have taught myself HTML and CSS in order to build a website for my pet sitting company, PawPrints & HoofBeats. My business website has been my testing ground and has gone through many changes over the last 12 years that I have been in business, usually as I learned new skills…and of course, there was lots of trial and error. But with each successful new skill I learned and that I was able to implement into my site or when helping friends or family with their sites my confidence has grown and the desire to continue improving my tech skills continues.

I recently had a friend (jokingly) give me a hard time cause we happened to be talking about computer stuff and I admitted to being a closet computer nerd and reading all kinds of computer magazine for years. In the hope that someday these things I have been reading about forever would come in handy…someday! He seemed to think this was pretty funny as he had no idea that I had any interest in computers at all.

Do it for Mom

My mom passed away right before the holidays in 2015. Coping with losing a loved one, it seems, is one of life’s greatest difficulties and something I (thankfully) have had little experience with and did not realize how greatly it can impact your life…until now. The last 6-months have been some of the toughest months of my life and learning to code has been one of the only things that I have been able to stay motivated to do in the past 6-months. Learning to code has let me stay engaged with life on a level at which I can cope with and be productive, while still be able to be alone to hibernate and lick my wounds and figure out how to go on without my greatest cheerleader always behind me pushing me to succeed.

My fascination with computers has never wavered over the years…but now I have found the resources to be able to focus my desire to continue learning and improving the computer skills I have already accumulated, in a program like Learn-Verified at Flatiron School. And despite it being one of the most challenging times in my life emotionally, learning to code has given me something to focus on that I enjoy and can get lost in for hours at a time.

Originially posted on Medium back in May 2016