Last year my resolution was to figure out what to do with my life after both my kids are in school. My oldest, 5, starts kindergarten in the fall and my youngest, 2, will be headed to preschool soon. All I knew for sure is that I did not want to go back to what I was doing before they came along, which was social work. While the work was rewarding and so, so worth it, it took an emotional toll on me that I am not willing to begin subjecting myself and, by extension, my family to.
So I thought about what I like to do. I like to make things. I enjoy work where, at the end, I have something tangible to show for it. The best thing is, in my opinion, when you finish something you enjoyed making and the person who receives it loves and enjoys using it.
My first idea was to go to trade school and study drafting and design. The thought of seeing actual buildings go up or things be made from the plans that I drew was extremely enticing. Then the only trade school that offered a program that suited my family’s schedule closed suddenly. So I scrapped that idea, since there were very few resources available for learning the skills required on my own.
Finally, a series of things happened that solidified a path in my mind’s eye. I watched a college classmate struggle to get assistive technology for her son with cerebral palsy. And I remembered working with children with autism who relied on the use of a special tablet to communicate with their families. Then, I had a quiet dinner conversation with my husband about how hard it would be to create something like what these children were using. Why are these items so expensive? What do I need to learn to make them? Do I need a degree to break into the world of coding?
My better half was adamant that I did not need to go back to school, but that there are plenty of resources (blogs, podcasts, tutorials, books) that would help me learn literally any programming language I wanted to. I was skeptical. But he sent me some resources to read and podcasts to listen to, which I did.
The answer to the question, “Do I need a computer science degree?” was a resounding NO. Software developers are apparently in such high demand that, if you can prove your knowledge through the use of a portfolio, you can get a job coding.
For the past few months, I have been listening to podcasts (mostly Developer Tea and CodeNewbie), reading books on software development, and working through the full-stack learning path on Codecademy. I’m starting this blog as a way to organize my thoughts as well as store resources as I come across them. I’m going to be sharing my path as I walk it, so please bear with me. I will make mistakes, which I’ve heard is what makes you a true coder 😉