Ten years ago I was a customer service agent making just over the minimum wage, I didn’t have a college degree and I didn’t have the resources to go to school long term. I didn’t feel like I’d ever have a real career. Friends of mine suggested that I learn how to code. I thought they were nuts, coding is hard! People go to school for four years to do that! Who would hire someone who learned to code on their own!?!
Now, I am a lead/staff engineer at a large tech company in the Bay Area. Learning to code changed my life in every possible way. I won’t beat around the bush - a lot of it is about money, pretending that money doesn’t matter is folly for people who have it. Before, I couldn’t afford to go to the doctors office, much less buy a home or take a trip. I lived paycheck to paycheck and don’t have family to fall back on. Now I have savings! I got a passport and took a trip! When my car makes a funny sound I take it to mechanic instead of hoping it will go away!
Beyond money, there are the feelings of security and accomplishment. I don’t need to worry about the company I’m working at going under and getting laid-off. Developers are in demand, I can find another job right away. I feel like my skills matter at work, the work I do is important to my employer. My co-workers respect me.
I learned to code using a lot of different tools but Codecademy has always been my favorite and I was lucky enough to join the site when it was just a few months old. I still remember visiting the old bootstrapped site every day! Even though I’m pretty far along in my career now I come back to Codecademy every so often to check out a new language or get a quick refresher on something I haven’t touched in a while. Everyone has their own learning style and the way Codecademy breaks up concepts is perfect for me. I mentor junior developers and the one piece of advice I stress is to figure out how you learn best and look for resources in that format.
Good luck to everyone working on their journey!