darryl gibbs

thoughts and ramblings

Learning to code: How to feel dumb 101

For the longest time now, I’ve been wanting to learn to code.  Not because I have some fantastic app idea that I want to create, but rather for my own self-satisfaction.  I’ve always got a kick out of creating stuff or using the knowledge I’ve gained to help people, so this may be another way for me to manifest those desires.

The thing is, like most people, I, unfortunately, doubt my own abilities and therefore I never get around to actually making something of myself. Until now!

So a few months ago I purchased a video course from Udemy (https://www.udemy.com/complete-python-bootcamp/learn/v4/overview) to learn how to code in Python (https://www.python.org/). From my reading, this is meant to be the best language for beginners as the syntax is fairly easy to learn, it’s used in a wide variety of functions and it’s going to continue to be relevant for a long time to come.

So, I started the first few videos which began to make me familiar with basic syntax and structure, and it was then that I remembered all over again why I never did this earlier. Maths and it’s accompanying logic has never been my strong suit, and I was already feeling out of my depths. However, I pushed on regardless all the way until I had to do my first progress test. And let’s just say it could have gone better.

It then struck me: What exactly am I doing wrong? I mean, kids a fifth of my age can code, so why the heck can’t I? Hell, there was even a PC designed just for that purpose of teaching kids to code!

THE RASPBERRY PI

One of the great marvels of the 2010s has been the Raspberry Pi (Rpi) (https://www.raspberrypi.org/). A small credit card (or even half credit card) sized computer designed to be cheap, but sufficiently powerful to teach kids to code. $35 for the basic board got your foot in the door, and then all that was needed was a basic cellphone charger, SD card, keyboard, maybe a mouse and some kind of a screen and you were off to the races. Perfect for cash-strapped schools, with the sole purpose of making sure kids learn to code.

But as with all things these days, alternative uses (or rather thousands of alternative uses) were found for these bite-sized PCs, which in itself created an even greater requirement for coding knowledge. Insert me. I’ve made my RPi do a whole host of things, but all fairly simple tasks that just involved installing some software. But if I really want to maximize my investment, I need to code. Thus, my journey to code.

SO NOW WHAT?

My self-confidence is not exactly at an all-time high thanks to this small defeat. Having said that I don’t plan on quitting either. Coding to some degree or another is quickly becoming an essential skill. Just as an intermediate proficiency in using productivity packages like MS Office is a basic requirement for practically every job, it is likely that coding will be the necessary MS Office proficiency of the future. Everyone is expected to know how. So feeling sorry for myself for my ‘stupidity’ is simply not going to cut it.

Soon, probably this weekend I plan to get back into the proverbial coding saddle and mission on towards binary greatness. Well, for now, I’ll settle for binary mediocrity, but we all need to have dreams.

I plan to update this blog down the line with my advancements in this course of study, and who knows, I may even make a little app of some description.

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