On March 15 2022, with a pocket full of sunshine, a head full of dreams and a Udemy account containing a heavily discounted web dev course, I took my first intentional steps towards learning to code. I say intentional because I have learned a little bit of coding in the past, it’s something I have been drawn to for fun over the years but this is the first time I actually set out to see how far I could take it if I really put the effort in.
I had been doing some soul searching and some self improvement “stuff” and decided that I wanted to approach this process with an “Atomic Habits” mindset. Atomic Habits is a popular book by James Clear that talks about how to build good habits and break bad ones. One of the things I took away from it is that if you do something consistently it can really pay off. That 1% better every day, compounding interest mindset. I figured something like coding is hard and could take a long time. It’s pretty intimidating and there’s a LOT to learn but if I could just do something, anything, towards learning to code every day then in theory I would get somewhere. Certainly I would get further than if I kept following my current ‘strategy’ which was to take no action and think wistfully about what would happen if I did. That heavily discounted Udemy course had been gathering metaphorical dust for nearly 3 months.
Today, June 23 2022 marks 100 days since I wrote my first "Hello World" h1 and I am actually proud to say I have done ‘a something’ every single one of those 100 days. Triple digits, baby! I didn’t know about #100daysofcode when I started so 100 days wasn’t necessarily a goal but it’s a nice, round number and sounds kind of big so I’m choosing day 100 to take a moment to reflect. I’m sure many people could learn a whole bunch more than I have in 100 days but really, when I started I wanted to find out if coding could be a serious thing for me. It was something I was interested in but just kept looking into, skirting around, reading about, thinking over. I decided to take action and to continue to take action every day. I bit the bullet.
The first thing that happened was I started wanting to get out of bed in the morning. I planned to get my coding in before work. I had been working from home due to gestures broadly at the world and am definitely not a morning person. Motivation to be “up and at ‘em” was at an all time low but from day 1, I was setting an earlier alarm and actually getting up when it rang (ok maybe 1 snooze but still a major improvement). About a month in I started having dreams about coding. At around the 7 week mark I had the realisation that I had gone from a “see how it goes” mindset to an “I am a coder” mindset. I was hooked.
I was working through the Udemy course and supplementing it with CodeCademy lessons. I was listening to podcasts, reading blogs and trawling twitter. I had virtual coffee chats with people I didn’t know! I zoomed in to industry info sessions and completed a learn to code taster course. I started a coding twitter account and now I am writing my first blog post.
I genuinely feel that this process of coding every day for 100 days has changed the trajectory of my life. Sure, I could maybe have started sooner but equally I could have never taken that first step at all.
So. What have I learned in 100 days?
When you don’t feel like coding but you’re up to day 71 the urge not to break the streak overpowers all.
Some days you will feel like a wizard and some days you will feel like a jellyfish and that’s ok.
If someone says html is a programming language in a twitter post there will be a pile on.
If you are interested in something you can just try it and see how it goes.
A lot can change in 100 days.
Here’s to the next 100!
As a post script, I really want to just take a sec to recognise Kate Richardson. I took her course called “Find Your Next” and she guided me through how to identify new possibilities for my future and how to start experimenting with them. What I learned from her is what I needed to know to start this in the first place. Thank you doesn’t feel like enough but it will have to do. Thanks Kate!