Reflections on Learning to Code

My first experience coding was when I was about 5 years old. My parents put me in a children’s activity where I learned to use a computer, and I remember typing in BASIC code at home on a Commodore 64 to build a game that I played. I still have a bit of a nostalgia for those games—the text adventures mostly, as I remember enjoying problem-solving from an early age.

Later it was bulletin board systems, and I remember I thought it was so cool when a friend’s computer connected remotely to my own, and I could read what he typed on my screen, and vice versa.

So I’ve always had an affinity toward the technology, but it was in 2019 when I was seeking a trade, an occupation, that I came across web development tutorials on YouTube. I followed along and learned to build actual websites using HTML and CSS, and that summer I built my first public-facing website for a local business. The design was not superb, to say the least, but it did function to serve current and would-be customers, and the business owners were happy with it.

Since then, I’ve had such an appreciation of coding and what it can do. The Internet has layers—you can read up on the OSI model—but a great deal of the Internet is built using code. And I just find it such an important, worthwhile pursuit—from building websites for small businesses to building websites and web applications for a company—the impact of the work helping companies and organizations on the Internet, to my mind, is both large and important.

But I think of the potential as well—as more and more of people’s day-to-day is moved from the offline to the online—I think of remote work, online collaboration, digital transformation—how much more important this work will be. And the opportunities to add value, in terms of performance, marketing, sales, privacy, security, accessibility, functionality, data visualization, the list goes on and on.

Throughout the past 5 years of learning to code, I’ve come across many roadblocks in my learning—times when it took me a really long time to learn something. But then something wonderful would happen, a breakthrough, an “aha” moment, when it clicks and the learning is cemented. This continual learning of new technologies and new best practices and problem-solving, combined with the potential impact of the work, is what drew me to web development.

I say all this to encourage anyone looking to get into coding to give it a try. It is a worthwhile pursuit, you can do a lot with it, and it is a lot of fun.

Thanks be to God, in the name of Jesus. 🙏