I’m @el_cocodrilo, a Super User from the U.S. I’m passionate about affordable and accessible education for everyone, and I just so happen to love to code as well. If you are interested, here are a few things about me and the road that led me here:
My Codecademy Journey
I joined Codecademy back 2016 out of curiosity, but didn’t begin taking the courses seriously until around 2018 and only began participating regularly on the forums as of April this year. Prior to Codecademy I had almost no exposure to code, outside of hacking the HTML in MySpace themes back in the day.
Like many learners here, I struggled to find the motivation and spare time to learn to program when I first started out. I found it incredibly frustrating that if a few days passed between study sessions I would forget what I had just learned and have to spend time relearning material in my limited free time.
For me, the turning point was deciding to try out Python rather than continue with HTML and CSS. I was doing a lot of data analysis and number crunching for my job in Excel, and Python immediately resonated with me as a powerful tool for processing that data faster. Having goals in mind (making my work faster and easier) and seeing a tangible and immediate “real world” benefit made studying before and after work and on the weekends much easier.
For those of you who are struggling, I guarantee that if you set a goal and work toward it a little each day, you will get there. Like many things in life, persistence and consistent practice are the most important factors in learning to program.
Other than that, I primarily focus on data analysis, data visualization, and data science projects using Python. I also built an Android app this summer using Python’s Kivy framework that will be ready for release on Google Play soon.
If I could start learning to code from scratch, I would do a few things differently. Here are my suggestions:
Set up a local coding environment and start coding on your own computer as soon as possible. You can always copy and paste your answers into the Codecademy lessons, or complete them on Codecademy’s platform and then paste them onto your own device to keep practicing.
Start learning and using Git/Github right away. Once you get used to saving your work with Git and uploading it to Github, you will not only have a valuable (and necessary) skill for this industry, you will have visible proof of all your work for potential employers. Also, if something happens to your computer, your code is backed up online for free.
Once you know some of the basics, look to official documentation and source code when you have questions. The sooner you get comfortable reading docs, the better. It is a skill that you can develop and improve, believe it or not. Also, when you’re using open source libraries and frameworks, sometimes the answer you’re looking for won’t be officially documented. Looking at the source code will not only help you solve problems, reading the code of more experienced programmers can help you improve your own code.
Work on projects that interest you. It doesn’t matter if you finish them. Just going through the process of coming up with your own project, planning it out, and trying to do it are crucial for getting past those learning plateaus.
Good luck and happy coding!