Getting Started

Starting off is the hardest part of everything. No matter what you do it has a beginning, and if you can just get past that part you’re probably going to be OK.

I’ve made a habit out of trying new things and even re-inventing myself every so often. Every time I do this there is a beginning which is usually preceded by a long period of thinking about getting started. Sometimes this goes on for a very long time, and there are some things that I’m still mulling over. But no matter, if it’s important enough, the idea will eventually come back around at the right time and place and suddenly I’ll be on my way! My point is, it’s never too late to get started.

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a long time, but I just didn’t know what to write about. I feel like a good blog should not only be original, but should have some kind of takeaway value for the reader. I’m a student of computer science and I definitely have some opinions, but I’m not a real expert on anything technical, and I certainly don’t want to write something that is redundant or derivative of something I read by a bona-fide expert. There’s plenty of that to be found out there already.

Recently, a friend suggested that I write about my experiences learning new things. He said that he finds that kind of content interesting, and that there is always a unique perspective through fresh eyes no matter how familiar the subject. Now that may seem obvious to some of you, but I had never thought of it, and it seemed like such a good idea that it actually got me going.

As it happens, I am about to start a three week intensive coding program at Clemson University called TraceCamp. The curriculum is built around Django and React, so I’m really looking forward to diving in and learning about those technologies, plus it gives me a great opportunity to write about the learning process while it’s happening. It’s also not my first experience with a coding intensive. A few years ago I went through a 12-week program at Hack Reactor in San Francisco, and I’m interested to compare the two. I’ll say for the record that I was really not qualified to do that program at the time, but it was a great experience. My skills have come a long way since then, and so has web-development technology, so I expect to get much more out of the effort this time around.

I guess that my perspective here is as much about tenacity as it is about getting started. After I went through Hack Reactor, I was definitely not qualified to work in the development industry and I never took a developer job while I was in California. That could have been enough to make some people give up. The school was not cheap, and the next couple of years in California were pretty stressful. But I stayed with it, and after moving to South Carolina I decided that the best route for me would be to go back to school and get a degree in Computer Science. I’ve worked hard, and a little over a year from now I will graduate, and if everything goes according to plan I’ll continue on for my Masters. When I finally begin working in a developer role I’ll be prepared to offer something valuable to my employer, and I’ll have the confidence of knowing that I’ve put in the work to gain a really solid academic foundation.

It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I thought about it for years before getting started. Kind of like this blog – I thought about starting one for a long time, and all of a sudden I’ve finished my first post. How about that!

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