A good number of people get why I decided to start an evening web development intensive program at The New York Coding and Design Academy. I just began 2 weeks ago, and am so loving it. It is the smartest move I have ever made. I know that if I work hard and way beyond the scope of the course(s), I will be able to get a job as a Front End Web Developer in media. I have 14 more weeks to go, and with each week that I learn, create, and finish, I tell myself that I am one week closer to my goal.
On the other hand, some people take a look at me and just don’t believe me. She wants to pursue a career in computer programming? Is she crazy? She won’t succeed. She’s too old, and what could she possibly know about it?
I started WordPress Development for myself over 8 years ago because I couldn’t find anyone to make the kind of website I needed at the time, so I decided to teach myself. Back then, I didn’t have the type of resources at my disposal that we all have today. Despite challenges, I created all my own media-driven websites, and they were pretty complicated for the time. I continued to do so on and off, while pursuing other channels of employment. It never even occurred to me to go back to school and take up computer programming. Besides, it would have been very expensive to go that route, and would have taken much longer than I was willing to put in.
Then the concept of developer bootcamps arose around 2011. At that point, I was trying to figure out my next move, knowing that repetition of past endeavors just weren’t going to work for me. It was a big transition period for so many industries, and people were having difficulty adapting to the many changes that were taking place. At that point, I still wasn’t thinking in terms of computer programming as a career. In 2o12, thinking that I could bring in all the experience I had acquired when running my own entertainment publication, I created a media services and consulting business Inter-Global Media Network, Inc. However, the media landscape had already been undergoing drastic changes, and it was very difficult for an individual or small, unknown entity to break into the field. It was also a very expensive proposition to maintain, and therefore impossible to compete against bigger fish that had many more resources than I. And believe me, in the world of business, ultimately it is about the one(s) with the deepest pockets. But even the deepest pockets can become empty! This transitional period (which we’re still going through) has become more about AGILE ADAPTATION: the ability to adapt to and keep up with the times. The more people I met and spoke with in the startup and tech industries, the more I realized that the logical next step for someone with my background and experiences was to develop great computer programming skills. I wasn’t able to pursue this route immediately. It was only with the help of a kind relative that I was able to make it happen now.
At first I was resistant to taking the plunge. I tried to just take free (and premium) online courses through various channels like Codecademy, The WordPress Codex (which I was already very familiar with), W3 Schools, Treehouse, Lynda.com and the like, but I found that one can only get so far that way alone. You should make use of such resources in conjunction with any on-site developer course(s) you might be taking, but it’s not enough in of itself. It’s important to meet, learn, and work with other people on-site. That way they get to know who you are and what you are capable of, first hand. It is also a great way of rebuilding both your your business and social networks. I have already met a lot of really cool people from all walks of life, and am looking forward to meeting more.
One thing I already do know. In order to succeed, you need to be focused, persistent, not afraid to fail, ever creating, and finding solutions to your “problems”. You also need to be highly adaptive and inquisitive. You never stop learning, because there will always be someone else who knows more than you do. It’s also important to surround yourself with people who know more than you. That’s how you can learn and pass it on later to others who know less than you. Part of being a member of the tech community is about giving back. When you start out, you come across people who are willing to help you learn and get ahead. When you achieve a certain level of success, it is a good feeling (and good karma) to do the same for someone else. It’s especially important in Open Source Software communities such as WordPress. Lastly, it’s a great way of re-affirming your knowledge base and skills.
I have no idea what is in store for me down this path. I do know that I’ve never wanted to achieve something as much as this. I also know that it is all up to me to make it happen. Are you considering a career change? If you are, I highly recommend the field of computer programming!