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Feel too old to learn to code? here some motivation

masaldana2

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Zarathustra

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The more I look at it, the more I see coding as a Fastlane superpower. Very interested in getting proficient at this.
 

MB2

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The more I look at it, the more I see coding as a Fastlane superpower. Very interested in getting proficient at this.
Coding + Sales/Marketing = Ultra-Super power in fastlane
 

ChrisV

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He rambles like a trucker. I was actually looking forward to reading this, but this is like reading the constitution. There are almost 10 paragraphs with stuff like what he carried in his trucks and the scent of the open road. I hope he doesn't code like this. If he does we'll end up with 14 gigabyte calculator apps.

Here's the TLDR version:

Over the last 14 years, I have visited almost every state in the US and I have driven over 1.5 million miles seated 9 feet in the air and pulling 80,000 lbs behind me.

The TL;DR of it all is that, my kids were now grown and had finished college. My wife was home alone. We were living two entirely separate lives, but without the kids, there was no longer any justifiable reason for this.

This was our time, dammit, and it was long past time for us to have a life together, like normal people. I’ll never forget that day as it has altered the course of the rest of my life.

But I had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to earn a living… and I can tell you — at 48 years old, starting over like that, with absolutely no marketable skills… it’s a pretty overwhelming feeling

Then, one day while scrolling Facebook, I saw an ad for the Grow with Google Coding Challenge.

So, I clicked through and began making my contest entry.

To my surprise, there was an email from Udacity Scholarships Team that read:


Congratulations!!
We are excited to offer you a Grow with Google Challenge Scholarship to the Front-End Web Developer track. We received applications from many talented and motivated candidates, and yours truly stood out.
Naturally, I was so truly shocked and overwhelmed that my eyes just brimmed over, and I started yelling my wife’s name!! I was so proud and yet humbled to have been chosen at the same time. I just couldn’t believe that I had been selected out of 150,000 other applicants.

Wasting no time, I immediately threw myself into that challenge.

Again, weeks turned into months and finally, on April 23rd, I received another email from Udacity… and I just couldn’t believe it! This time the Subject line read:


Your Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree Scholarship Starts Tomorrow, April 24!
I was so humbled to have been chosen, proud of myself and overwhelmed at the same time because of the opportunity and blessing that had been given to me. I just couldn’t believe that I had been selected by Udacity and Google to win a full 6-month scholarship for a Front End Web Developer Nanodegree out of 15,000 other people and their amazing projects!! Once again, I started feeling hopeful! I think I can actually do this!!

I learned HTML, CSS, and Responsive Design. Next, I dived into JavaScript and jQuery. Then came the Unix Shell, and utilizing version control with Git, followed by Accessibility, Object Oriented Programming, web tooling and automation using Gulp and Grunt, live editing, linting, and optimizing code for production use.

At this point, I can truly say that my whole life has changed because of coding, and I believe it is only a matter of time before I am gainfully employed, because during the interview for that apprenticeship, I came to an understanding of just how well Udacity had prepared me for that moment. From crafting a resume that I received nothing but compliments for, to the whiteboard coding test, to my LinkedIn and GitHub profile. They truly have you and your success in mind. The compliments and comparisons I received from that interviewer on just my resume gave me a much-needed boost of confidence. The whiteboard interview threw me over the top! I am still humbled by this whole experience, but I know now that I have a HUGE leg up on my competition because of Udacity!

I walked into that interview more nervous than I could ever remember being in any interview; feeling like an imposter trying to weasel my way into somewhere that I didn’t belong. I had no prior relevant work history, and literally, just had the portfolio of projects from the Nanodegree program.

I’m here to tell you — learning to code can change your entire life. I now spend half the day papering this town with my resume, very selectively I might add, while the last half of my day is spent working through Free Code Camp’s courses to build up my certifications and working through coding challenges on HackerRank.com to keep my skills sharp.

And today, like Walt Disney, who started with nothing but a mouse in hand and a pocketful of dreams, I believe that if you can dream it, you can do it! And I’ve got this dream…
 

NicholasCato

Contributor
Oct 31, 2018
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So he learned HTML,CSS,JavaScript,Jquery, responsive web design, but still stuck in the slow lane sending out blind resumes, doesn’t have a job, or is making any money with his skills after months of learning?

Am I missing something?

I’m currently doing @Fox ’s web design challenge and this story (while inspirational seeing that he learned a new skill) is more discouraging than anything. It seems like he just traded one slow lane for another.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
masaldana2

masaldana2

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So he learned HTML,CSS,JavaScript,Jquery, responsive web design, but still stuck in the slow lane sending out blind resumes, doesn’t have a job, or is making any money with his skills after months of learning?

Am I missing something?

I’m currently doing @Fox ’s web design challenge and this story (while inspirational seeing that he learned a new skill) is more discouraging than anything. It seems like he just traded one slow lane for another.
lol it isn't about slowlane or fastlane, but process...
 

AustinS28

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2014
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Haven't posed in a while, but this is my experience learning to code at 26, I'm now 29.

Late 2016 - decided I wanted to learn to code to build a mobile app. Picked up syntax by doing algorithms on code wars with the Ruby programming language. Did this for about 6 months

Mid 2017 - really enjoyed coding and decided to make it a career. Attended a 12 week web development bootcamp called App Academy. It was tuition free until you landed a job. I completed it. I learned React, Rails and JavaScript.

Late 2017 - taught myself python the same way I did ruby. Realized the market for python developers was hotter.

Late 2017, early 2018 - applied to over 600 jobs. Yea over 600. I finally landed one at a small startup, I think I was the 14th person on the team.

2019 - Still at the same job. I’m a backend engineer. I write python all day using the Django REST framework. Our company has about 10 more engineers since I started and is rapidly growing.

Quality of life -

Salary - in the six figures, plus benefits.
Unlimited time off and work from home.
Equity in the company.
A lot of room for growth. I got promoted recently.
I have 0 formal background in comp science - I’m self taught, ran my own personal training business beforehand.

Still working on my side hustles which has been my attention now and why I popped back here. I've been building a mobile app, but not sure the direction I'd like to go and wouldn't mind doing things not related to programming as well, just using programming to help fund ideas.

If anything, or anyone is interested in learning to code, it was one of the biggest challenges in my life, but most rewarding. I'd be happy to talk to anyone about making the jump as well.
 

holmzee

Silver Contributor
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Jul 2, 2014
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Haven't posed in a while, but this is my experience learning to code at 26, I'm now 29.

Late 2016 - decided I wanted to learn to code to build a mobile app. Picked up syntax by doing algorithms on code wars with the Ruby programming language. Did this for about 6 months

Mid 2017 - really enjoyed coding and decided to make it a career. Attended a 12 week web development bootcamp called App Academy. It was tuition free until you landed a job. I completed it. I learned React, Rails and JavaScript.

Late 2017 - taught myself python the same way I did ruby. Realized the market for python developers was hotter.

Late 2017, early 2018 - applied to over 600 jobs. Yea over 600. I finally landed one at a small startup, I think I was the 14th person on the team.

2019 - Still at the same job. I’m a backend engineer. I write python all day using the Django REST framework. Our company has about 10 more engineers since I started and is rapidly growing.

Quality of life -

Salary - in the six figures, plus benefits.
Unlimited time off and work from home.
Equity in the company.
A lot of room for growth. I got promoted recently.
I have 0 formal background in comp science - I’m self taught, ran my own personal training business beforehand.

Still working on my side hustles which has been my attention now and why I popped back here. I've been building a mobile app, but not sure the direction I'd like to go and wouldn't mind doing things not related to programming as well, just using programming to help fund ideas.

If anything, or anyone is interested in learning to code, it was one of the biggest challenges in my life, but most rewarding. I'd be happy to talk to anyone about making the jump as well.
Nice I've been learning Django REST Framework as well for a web app I'm building. Starting to get pretty good at Python and also diving into JavaScript and Vue.js.

Question - do you find it difficult coding at a full-time job then coming home to work on your own projects? I find if I code for too long my brain gets tired and my productivity really goes down.

Would love to hear any suggestions you may have for combating this.
 

AustinS28

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2014
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Nice I've been learning Django REST Framework as well for a web app I'm building. Starting to get pretty good at Python and also diving into JavaScript and Vue.js.

Question - do you find it difficult coding at a full-time job then coming home to work on your own projects? I find if I code for too long my brain gets tired and my productivity really goes down.

Would love to hear any suggestions you may have for combating this.
I love Django REST.

It's tough for sure, some days are better than others. I strive to put in an hour or two a night. I usually leave work, workout, eat dinner, code for a bit. That break in between helps. It also helps when I have planned features that I am working on because, aimlessly slapping code into a project can get sloppy, so having an objective gives me a task to work on.

What I really like to do though is plan weekends where I code. I'll treat a Saturday like a work day.

It often comes at the expense of saying no to a lot of other things, but priorities. Whether this app takes off or not, I also look at it as a huge learning experience. I taught myself React Native, deployed an ios app, did a lot of dev ops work...its made me a better engineer.

I have a lot of old code in this project that needs to be refactored. One thing I wish I did from day one was to create library of reusable components, well made components. This way I can start any project and have all of the essentials pre built.

For example a textinput class that accepts several functions as props. One to validate the data being entered dependent on the field type - example strings vs integers, in many cases I don't want integer values less than 0 or greater than a specific value. The validation function could be created to handle any of this. Another prop would set the value on the parent class, then several static props to control style. You could pass several params that could set if the input should be small, medium or big for example. After you built out that you can drop it wherever you need a textinput and pass the required props and you have a standardized input field for the app.

When I started building, I didn't plan for a lot of things to be reusable which led to a bunch of duplicate work. In the end, just little things you pick up when you become more experienced.

Long story short, you'll be faster at developing and your project will require less work, if you spend more time upfront building reusable classes and components. Anytime you start duplicating something, make a base class.
 

foodiepersecond

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 2, 2019
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Atlanta, Georgia
I've actually been inspired by this thread and started to learn code on freecodecamp.org. Any other resources online that you all suggest?
 

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arl

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 16, 2019
17
9
12
Haven't posed in a while, but this is my experience learning to code at 26, I'm now 29.

Late 2016 - decided I wanted to learn to code to build a mobile app. Picked up syntax by doing algorithms on code wars with the Ruby programming language. Did this for about 6 months

Mid 2017 - really enjoyed coding and decided to make it a career. Attended a 12 week web development bootcamp called App Academy. It was tuition free until you landed a job. I completed it. I learned React, Rails and JavaScript.

Late 2017 - taught myself python the same way I did ruby. Realized the market for python developers was hotter.

Late 2017, early 2018 - applied to over 600 jobs. Yea over 600. I finally landed one at a small startup, I think I was the 14th person on the team.

2019 - Still at the same job. I’m a backend engineer. I write python all day using the Django REST framework. Our company has about 10 more engineers since I started and is rapidly growing.

Quality of life -

Salary - in the six figures, plus benefits.
Unlimited time off and work from home.
Equity in the company.
A lot of room for growth. I got promoted recently.
I have 0 formal background in comp science - I’m self taught, ran my own personal training business beforehand.

Still working on my side hustles which has been my attention now and why I popped back here. I've been building a mobile app, but not sure the direction I'd like to go and wouldn't mind doing things not related to programming as well, just using programming to help fund ideas.

If anything, or anyone is interested in learning to code, it was one of the biggest challenges in my life, but most rewarding. I'd be happy to talk to anyone about making the jump as well.
I'm also 29 and I just started learning python too (no previous coding knowledge). I just finished reading ATBS, and I'm practicing doing a webscraping project. Do you recommend any other resources besides code wars?
 

AustinS28

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2014
292
704
296
29
Manhattan, NY
I'm also 29 and I just started learning python too (no previous coding knowledge). I just finished reading ATBS, and I'm practicing doing a webscraping project. Do you recommend any other resources besides code wars?
What's your goal/what are you trying to learn?

Codewars and hackerrank are great for learning programming fundamentals, but won't give you the knowledge for building a web/mobile application outside of getting familiar with whatever language you've been coding in. They will help with your problem solving ability.

I spend a lot of time at work/home on stackoverflow. Any question you have has been answered there or will be answered there if you post it. That is hands down the best resource for any developer. I've never seen a community so good at quickly responding to questions with accurate answers. So many smart and experienced folks over there.

If you're really interested in python and building applications with it, I'd start a Django project and follow the tutorial they setup. Their documentation is impeccable.

Two important things for becoming a good developer (and probably anything) - repeated practice (put in the time), get good at reading and researching. I spend so much time reading documentation to figure out problems and learn the frameworks and tools I use. It's all online, and I've never had a question that I couldn't get answered. 70% of the job is planning and research, 30% is coding.
 

Dr. Fastlane

Amor Fati!
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 20, 2018
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71
113
Gurgaon
Haven't posed in a while, but this is my experience learning to code at 26, I'm now 29.

Late 2016 - decided I wanted to learn to code to build a mobile app. Picked up syntax by doing algorithms on code wars with the Ruby programming language. Did this for about 6 months

Mid 2017 - really enjoyed coding and decided to make it a career. Attended a 12 week web development bootcamp called App Academy. It was tuition free until you landed a job. I completed it. I learned React, Rails and JavaScript.

Late 2017 - taught myself python the same way I did ruby. Realized the market for python developers was hotter.

Late 2017, early 2018 - applied to over 600 jobs. Yea over 600. I finally landed one at a small startup, I think I was the 14th person on the team.

2019 - Still at the same job. I’m a backend engineer. I write python all day using the Django REST framework. Our company has about 10 more engineers since I started and is rapidly growing.

Quality of life -

Salary - in the six figures, plus benefits.
Unlimited time off and work from home.
Equity in the company.
A lot of room for growth. I got promoted recently.
I have 0 formal background in comp science - I’m self taught, ran my own personal training business beforehand.

Still working on my side hustles which has been my attention now and why I popped back here. I've been building a mobile app, but not sure the direction I'd like to go and wouldn't mind doing things not related to programming as well, just using programming to help fund ideas.

If anything, or anyone is interested in learning to code, it was one of the biggest challenges in my life, but most rewarding. I'd be happy to talk to anyone about making the jump as well.
Slightly off topic, but how good are you with maths? And do you see it as an essential skills to have? In order to reach greater understanding of algorithms, and to be able to take on more complex roles related to machine learning and data science?

Am currently learning Python/Django. Know tiny bit of css/html. Going to focus on the front-end after I finish my Python/Django course.
 

arl

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 16, 2019
17
9
12
What's your goal/what are you trying to learn?
I really like the Machine Learning and AI. I currently work with complex financial models in Excel, and I'm sure python could give my models an upgrade. But right know I'm just enjoying learning all the posibilities.

Thanks for your input. I will start with code wars right away.
 

Walterbl

Contributor
Sep 23, 2018
35
28
44
Late 2017, early 2018 - applied to over 600 jobs. Yea over 600. I finally landed one at a small startup, I think I was the 14th person on the team.

I have 0 formal background in comp science - I’m self taught, ran my own personal training business beforehand.
Congrats. How many of those jobs required a formal college degree? I also want to learn how to code, but the one thing that holds me back the most is the fact that you need the degree in order to work for a company as a developer. How can you prove your skills if you learned how to code from online courses?

Did you try wokring as freelance in platforms like upwork and such?
 

holmzee

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
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Jul 2, 2014
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24
I've actually been inspired by this thread and started to learn code on freecodecamp.org. Any other resources online that you all suggest?
I've done a lot of research on this.
*Free resources only*

Frontend (JavaScript):
-javascript.info (covers almost everything, highly recommended)
-Mozilla Dev Network JavaScript guide + beginner tutorials
-freecodecamp
-You Don't Know JS (intermediate)
-Eloquent JS (intermediate)

Backend (Python):
-Automate the Boring Stuff (beginner)
-Django Docs Official Tutorial
-Mozilla Django Tutorial
-Data Structures and Algorithms Using Python (intermediate)
-Fluent Python (intermediate - advanced)

All of the books/guides/courses listed above can be read for free online.
 

AustinS28

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2014
292
704
296
29
Manhattan, NY
Congrats. How many of those jobs required a formal college degree? I also want to learn how to code, but the one thing that holds me back the most is the fact that you need the degree in order to work for a company as a developer. How can you prove your skills if you learned how to code from online courses?

Did you try wokring as freelance in platforms like upwork and such?
Most don’t. Companies like google are actually making a big push to pioneer the idea that a college degree holds little weight in assessing someone’s capabilities as a developer.

Most startups employ people without degrees. What is cool about programming is you know it or you don’t and it’s easily testable. Many companies will give a code test before an in person interview.

I had the toughest 9 months of my life getting my first engineering job. I constantly questioned my decision but told myself I wasn’t going to stop until I became employed. I applied to over 600 jobs like I said.

I found my current job at a networking event, where I met my future employer and contacted him a few months into my search.

If you want to go down this path I’d also suggest looking into coding boot camps. They thrive off of placing graduates into high paying jobs and offer a large networks of companies to work at.

I know the system works because I and all of my friends in my cohort have been employed at six figure positions since graduating.

Sites like hacker rank have sections where you can apply to jobs by taking coding tests. If you have no prior experience the best way to show your worth on a resume is by building projects and using those to show off your skills. That’s what I did. I had several apps I built on it.
 

AustinS28

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2014
292
704
296
29
Manhattan, NY
I really like the Machine Learning and AI. I currently work with complex financial models in Excel, and I'm sure python could give my models an upgrade. But right know I'm just enjoying learning all the posibilities.

Thanks for your input. I will start with code wars right away.
I’m not too familiar with financial models, unless you can explain them. I can say that I know using a relational database like PostgreSQL can be configured to run queries much more efficiently than excel. I would look into that.

I’d also look into Pandas. It’s a very powerful data aggregation library for python.
 

gryfny

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Jun 11, 2019
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Europe
I didn't know they offered scholarships at Udacity! I did their free android course, which is great! I'll try to get one of the scholarships, seems like a fun challenge to try and get in.
 

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