I like to believe myself to be a student. When I was younger, I was convinced that given the opportunity I would have stayed in school for decades, dissecting the inner workings of the English language, mathematical equations, cultural customs, the human mind, and the secrets of the universe we live in. But I never did. Much of that dream came from a natural thirst I’ve always had to learn, but approaching the three-year anniversary of my having finished college, I’ve done little more than dabble with the idea of returning back to school.
I keep learning though.
It isn’t out of a necessity that I pursue something. I learned how to solve a Rubik’s Cube because I was bored, I practiced pen spinning so I’d have something to do in class. I’ve read articles on the singularity, string theory, quantum mechanics simply because I was watching something on SyFy, and to be honest, I’ve forgotten more about each of those things than I can comfortably say I remember. And that’s okay. I rarely care to learn with cause. I learn because I can, because I want to, because when I hear about something, I want to at least pretend I know what is happening. Cue the reason for this article.
I’ve always considered myself to be a techie. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit drooling over phone iterations, more money than I care to admit on random tech I don’t need (but actually do). I read The Verge, I read TechCrunch, I read up on CES, and I weighed net-neutrality stances when I was voting this past year. But I’ve always been limited in my understanding. I’ve understood the terminology when it comes to coding, specifically, I can throw it around with limited correctness in awkward conversation, but so much of understanding technology, computers, and the advancing world we live in, stems from understanding the language(s) used in making it work. Granted, that isn’t entirely true. You don’t have to understand how an iOS works to enjoy using an iPhone, but understanding how the pieces fit together can make your experience greater.
Come the title of the piece: I’m teaching myself to code.
This is a long time coming. I’ve wanted to learn the programming languages since I was probably in middle school, but I never had a reason to actually work on them beyond the absolute basics. Sure, I could learn to build a website, maybe I could make a game, but the barrier to entry for an apathetic teenager was too high for me to move forward. The question this may lead you to is, “why now?” “What is the reason?” and, quite simply, there are two. The first, as I set up earlier, is a desire to learn something new, to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the things that I am interested in. And the second, the perhaps more important component of this decision, is a desire to enter this field, to teach myself to work one day as a developer of some sort. It may seem strange, my being an English major, my being involved in art, but coding is something that has always interested me, even if I’ve hardly pursued it.
I’m pursuing it now though. I’m starting with the basics—HTML, CSS—but I’m hoping to learn enough to one day put it to use. Even if that’s only for me. If the only thing I do is make a better website for myself then I’ll call it all a win, but the prospect of reaching further than that is something that’s exciting. It’ll be tough, for sure, and it’ll only get tougher, but it’ll be worth it to learn something new.
Also—I am fully anticipating using up some space on this blog for some of this pursuit so prepare yourself for more articles of this process as it moves along.