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Hi! My name is Yasemin Terzi, I am 13 years old, and Codecademy shaped my tech interests for the good.
By the time I was in seventh grade, my mom was constantly nagging me to learn some form of coding. I had tried Python several times (not on Codecademy) but I dropped it over and over again because of how uninteresting the courses were. This was disappointing to my mother because not only had I dropped her favorite coding language, I had also tried to tell her that “I wasn’t a coding person”.
One day we were talking, and I have no idea how we got on the subject, but she told me that websites were actually made from code. For some reason I was shocked, and I immediately said, “I want to code websites!” I ended up finding Codecademy through a Google search for web development courses. Codecademy made the learning process very fun and easy for me to understand, which I really appreciated.
My main goals while learning HTML and CSS were to be able to create beautiful websites like AirBnB, and to generally learn as much as I could (I’m still learning as much as I can about HTML and CSS now!).
Fast forward a couple months and it was the summer of 2015. During this time, I had two friends that I was talking to over Skype constantly, and I soon found out that they were beginning a start up game company, and that they knew how to make games of course, but they needed a website. Coincidentally, I had just finished the HTML and CSS course on Codecademy. I told them I was an “expert” and would be willing to join the start up and build a website for them.
Once they told me what they wanted on the website, I went to work on it at godspeed. I don’t know just how many hours I spent perfecting every single piece of code, fixing all the bugs, making the design look as modern as possible etc. For weeks I was spending all day just lying in bed and web developing; I was so happy to be doing something I had come to love because of Codecademy.
I remember there was this one time where I needed to make the contact form on the website work, but I didn’t know any languages other than HTML and CSS. I ended up hiring someone in India to do the work for me. My mom freaked (in a good way) when she found this out. Another funny thing that happened was that we almost made a video to send to Codecademy that would be asking for some sort of “marketing exchange” since we needed some way of getting noticed. In the video I was going to ask that Codecademy write an article about us in order to help us get noticed, but we ended up deciding against the idea because we didn’t think that Codecademy would ever be interested.
Eventually, I finished the website, bought the domain, quickly learned how to use CPanel, and put it up on the web. The website looked just how the whole company wanted it (despite a couple missing features, ie. pictures), and all my work had finally paid off.
Unfortunately, the start up ended up dissolving because of a couple issues just within the people, but it was still a great experience. (If you want to see pictures of the website, you can view them here.)
Then, in 8th grade, I found out I was required to have at least 15 hours of volunteering done by early June. Since my mom was/is really active in our community of coders, she was able to find me a volunteering opportunity in which I would be creating a website for a civic hacking group called Code for NoVA. This happens to be the project I am working on at the moment! My mom told them about all my past experience, and they immediately wanted me working on their website. (I’m not finished with it yet so I don’t have a link, but when I do finish it I’ll make sure to put the link below here!)
After all of this, it’s really clear to me that I owe this all to Codecademy. Because of their courses, I have an extreme interest in everything having to do with coding, and my goals in life have changed. In fact, I’ve recently decided that I want to do data and computer science, and I’m taking the SQL course here, as well as a computer science course in high school next year. My mother was thrilled to hear this, as she is a data scientist that really wanted me to be interested in it. I’m also doing some game development, which is basically achieving one of my childhood goals, considering that I’ve been a gamer my whole life. Literally, when I used to play games on PBS Kids, I would think, “I want to make something like this!”
I would really like to thank Codecademy for everything they do. I wouldn’t be the same person if you hadn’t sparked my interest in coding.
My advice to anyone that is just starting out: whenever you’re frustrated, remember the great benefit coding can have on your life. So many people’s lives change when they get into coding, because it’s such a valuable skill. Keep yourself motivated.
(below is a picture of me just in case you wanted it.)