The Journey To Coding Nirvana


Greetings all,

It’s been awhile since I posted a weblog and this is a return to fulfill a desire to blog more often. Today I decided to write about “restarting”, in this case, it’s about my return to teaching myself how to code.

Like many things, picking up something, learning something out of sheer excitement and desire is often very easy in the beginning. It’s not until you encounter obstacles (of any sort) that you learn just how mnuch you really want to accomplish what it is you’ve set out to achieve. I can directly relate to this from my experience in working out/maintaining a physical fitness regimen. For me, it began with working out in the gym. It came easy and I was able to achieve satisfactory results as long as I maintained a regular habit of doing things. As often happens, life situations may prohibit those habitual activities for a day or two, which may turn into a week, then maybe months, even a year or more. The key is to sometimes force yourself to get back in the saddle and reinstate those habits that were netting you the results you were hopping for.

I draw this direct correlation to coding. I took my first programming courses a very LONG time ago in college, but did well in both – to the point that even took the skills I learned and coded simple programs to help me complete duties that were given to me as a young engineer. Coding and programming wasn’t a regular hobby for me, so I didn’t do much of it for years to come. That said, since my last go at coding, things have changed a GREAT deal, and in 2013, I felt it was time for me to ride that wave again and take advantage to explore all that was new in programming languages and what they can do, not only in the professional workforce arenas, but from a hobbyist standppoint. After all, I did well in coding way back then, I know I can do well in it again. In addition, the approaches to learning coding on your own today gives far greater flexibility than having to be confined to a formal classroom setting.

So there I was, back in 2013, after some research, finding myself on Codecademy to learn Python, a scxripting language that I dound was very relevant in my field of work as well as for programs I want to code for my own personal use. Python is a scripting language that is widely used in areas like software testing (spaecraft software, etc) and has wide ranging use in other scientific and technical fields. Along with Python, there is a long list of other languages (high and low level) that are suited for various things that I found I’d like to learn as well, such as Java, Javascript, Ruby, CSS, Hadoop, Linux, and this goes on….and on…and on.

coding nirvana

In my net travels, I ended up subscribing to (The Application Developer’s Network), a network much like Twitter, originally created for developers to forge relationships and discuss softeare development, but has turned into a nice social network as well. It was while I got to build me followers list that I met a programmer there by the username bayprogrammer who became very helpful and unselfish in sharing all he could about the nuts and bolts of coding with respect to the major (and minor) languages out there and what they are best used for. I’ll take a moment to thank him for investing the time he took to share the knowledge (and he continues to) with me.

So, here I am, starting again at a place where I got stumped. The difference is I know that if a push is not made, the achievement won’t be either. That being said, there are tons of resources on the net as well as two regular Python coding meetups every week here in the DC metro area. I know the satisfaction I can achieve in learning to code (and this is in line with and beyond the pish to get “everyone learning how to code” in the US these days). I’m a techie, a builder, and a creator….coding, I know, is for me. Wish me consistency and good fortune in this journey.

Thanks for the read, have a great day.

The Return to Coding….

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Today was an interesting day, one of the more interesting days I’ve had with regards tech meetups. In the spring of 2013, I decided it was high time that I return to learning computer programming. Yeah, I had taken (and got good grades in) college level computer science programming courses, but it was ages ago. Fast forwarding to a myriad of internet resources on self-paced (in the very least) learning, I wanted to make moves to boost my skill set. I always liked coding/programming. The last programming project I did was to write a program calculate overall system reliability numbers for various satellite subsystems for a DoD satellite program I was working for, but that was MANY years ago – and in BASIC (but I digress).

I chose Python as the language to start my journey with. My learning vehicle of choice has been Codecademy and I’m quite pleased with it. Specifically I’d like to learn Python and apply it to engineering and scientific specific applications as a whole. In the mean time, I already have one project I’d like to code after gaining confident knowledge – the best way to learn anything is to jump in and start doing it, in essence.I had the good fortune of meeting with a local cloud computing solutions company recently at a local Starbucks (this also came about for participation on the mailing list). After meeting with their lead systems architect and the CEO, I hope to do some collaborating with them to some extent on two of the contracts they current have in place. A future meeting is scheduled.

Back today…I’m part of the DC Python Meetup mailing list. A few days ago, someone posted a question about the possibility of getting together for an impromptu study session, something just to get questions answered, do some coding, share resources and other bits of knowledge. I thought this was a good idea, and remembered seeing a post on the list from an administrator at MLK Library, who also offered to teach a beginner class. I reposted his email, that got the ball rolling. AFter all was said and done, within two days we had a huge room at the library’s Digital Commons area.

There were about 20 individuals in attendance, all experience levels and like the list, all very helpful. Before the session was out, one of the members quickly set up a group hackpad for collaboration/sharing of learning resources. By the end of the day, the library administrator allowed us to keep the room on a weekly basis as a Python Lab for “open office hours” coinciding with the library hours for general discussion, coding, hacking etc. The official Python classes start next Saturday. We agreed on a text and already have our first reading assignment. Along with finishing my course on Codecademy, I’ll highly looking forward to what will come out of these meetup sessions. I’m hoping these future developments will aid in the result of some future news I hope to share with you soon.

Before closing, I’ll give a quick shout to all the coders/developers on ADN that I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with. Thanks for all you (some of which don’t follow me, and vice versa…yet) share in your regular posts. Thanks especially to BayProgrammer for the extra effort in explaining the basic differences between static and dynamic coding languages, back end vs frontend development, considerations, and much more. I’m feeling like a kid at Christmas time in that there’s some much to learn, so many resources out there, it’s sort of overwhelming as to where to start, but I’m looking forward to being able to talk (and code) intelligently in the future. They say “code is art”, I’m about to be on my way to realizing this.

::: oceans of rhythm :::