/ coding

Taking the Plunge; A New Job and Learning to Code

Before this I had never met Frankie. He’s now one of my best friends.

Now that my month long vacation is over (I did some awesome stuff like Global Dance Festival), it’s back to the real world and that means work. While I’m sometimes diligently pursuing other opportunities to fully sustain my lifestyle and income, at this point in my life it’s hard to balance that with my desire to have fun. Life doesn’t ever stop, so you can’t stop living. As an EPIC Trainer I worked my butt off and took advantage of situations where I could display my skill set. With a little luck and some interview magic, I was offered a full time job.

For many at age 23, they’re just entering the workplace and starting on their first career path. Meanwhile I have three years experience in e-commerce, digital marketing, and operations management. My position as an EPIC Trainer was only meant to be temporary; a placeholder for my life where I could explore my options, do some traveling, and figure out my next move. Switching to healthcare IT permanently would be a radical change given that I have a business degree, edm blog, and considerable experience in other industries.

I was torn between diving back into an early stage startup company or joining a digital marketing / e-commerce firm. Not one to defer from a challenge, the world of healthcare is incredibly fascinating to me. You’re facilitating the most important service and running a business that’s forced to adhere to strict government laws and insurance regulations. Combine that with more than 53% of college graduates out of work or underemployed, ensuring your *employability *(take that Bud Light) means a diversified skill set and the ability to complete any given task. If you can’t do it, they’ll find someone who can.

Taking the Plunge

Ultimately, I decided to take the System Analyst II position at The Medical University of South Carolina (linkedin) to improve my skill set, but more so address my biggest weakness as an aspiring entrepreneur, which is programming. I don’t know how many X Things I’d Tell Myself Y Years Ago posts that I’ve read on HackerNews (like this one) that have told me to learn programming. I’ve tried before, but the motivation wasn’t there and it was easier to quit.

My position requires me to learn the fundamentals of programming, the basis of a new language and apply those concepts and theories in real web development projects in just a few months. It’s a challenge, but this is the time to take risks and continue my learning  evolution as a person.

**Something to think about:**When is the last thing you tried to learn something entirely new that you have never done before? How did you do?

Python Programming Ground Zero

My boss is a great guy and has been helpful in the process so far, but he basically said here’s a book learn Python. Python being an open sourced programming language used in light to medium web development projects. So here I am with a Python for Dummies book (not literally) and struggling to grasp the concepts and nerdspeak terminology.

…and then Zed Shaw showed me the light

Zed wrote this incredible learning material, Learn Python the Hard Way with tutorials and explanations that speak more to me than an outdated text book. The entire guide is free in HTML format with the PDF / Ebook for only $5 and a video class at $29. What might be more beneficial than the material is the community which actively discusses the tutorials through disqus.

I’ve found answers to the questions, insightful commentary and inspiration from my peers learning to code. Learn The Hard Way also includes; Ruby, C, SQL and Regex making it a complete starter guide for modern web development.

So if you’re trying to learn how to code – Learn The Hard Way.

At the same time my journey, Code Academy just launched an all new tutorial section for Python. Code Academy is an interactive training environment online where you code on their website rather than an editor earning badges and awards. The social gaming element is an interesting way to motivate people to learn coding, but for me the lessons are too gimmicky and do not force enough hard learning.

Throughout LPTHW, Zed encourages you to Google terms and try the extra credit items on your own. If half of your time coding will be spent on StackOverflow, why not get used to it now? 🙂

I will continue to document my progress on what works, what doesn’t and whatever other techniques / hacks I come across. If you’ve been looking to start programming, take the plunge with me! I could use a friend along the way and I have great music to share with you 🙂


I make money online through websites and business consulting. Everyday I'm challenging myself to learn and do more.

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