Experience is the best teacher, but no one said it has to be your experience
As a newbie just starting in tech, one of the most challenging decisions you have to make is choosing a tech stack to learn, you'll probably be thinking of choosing web, and you still have to decide if you'll be a Frontend developer or a Backend major, while you're at this, you'll see folks building mobile applications for Android or IOS, and the apps they are building will interest you, A lot of other fields like Java, .NET, C, Ruby, Go and a lot more will cross your path, and you'll have to choose one to start with; you can always change in the future though, but exactly how do you make that first decision?
Your first programming language does not determine what you'll do for the rest of your life, in fact, after going through this article, you'll find out quite a lot of folks changed their programming languages not just once. The only difference is; they started, so you have to start too.
About that experience I was talking about, let's take a look at why some amazing developers today decided to start their careers with a particular major back then. Quite a lot chose their fields not because they loved it and wanted to change the world, I mean, how would you even know the language to learn if you wanted to change the world? Not like we have a language called "World". So these are some of the reasons people picked their first language, the aim is for you to read through and hopefully, you'll find a story that fits your current situation and draw a conclusion from that.
- It was just really popular.
- There's little or no barrier to coming into it.
- Lots of job openings require it.
- Someone I looked up to asked me to learn it.
- It was introduced to us at school.
- I knew it'll be of high demand in the future.
- Someone I knew needed a website but had no money to pay a developer, so here I am.
- I attended a Bootcamp and that was the official language there.
- Reached out to people and they recommended a field for me.
- I got a tool that costs $800 for free and i knew I had to make good of it, got a website gig and the rest is history.
- I observed that smart people I respect said it was good.
- I was at the university, my roommates were doing this, I decided to join.
- I started a business and had to do everything initially. So i decided to learn the language needed.
- I wanted to make an app to help the community get better at a game, then i started learning what was needed to build the game.
- When I was 13, I read a blog post on how to make money online from ads on websites. I was convinced. I started learning how to build one from the ground.
And quite a lot more reasons, well I had over 100 answers from various developers in various fields sharing their real-life experiences for you to learn from.
Essential Reading: Learn React from Scratch! (2020 Edition)
Hi TechTwitter, why/how did you pick the current tech field you’re in right now?— Name cannot be blank (@hackSultan) October 26, 2019
How did you decide to learn/focus on .NET or Java, why choose backend and not Frontend?? Tell us!!
I’m asking this so newbies can read replies and perhaps be able to make a decision from it.
You can easily go through the replies in the tweets, but let's bring out some replies and analyze them.
Let's talk a little about the Founder of #BlackTechPipeline, One of the most amazing communities of black coders online.
I chose to get into tech because I knew that without some sort of technical background, I’d likely be left behind. I got into a bootcamp that taught FE web development. I stuck with it because it’s visual, I bring ideas to life. Better yet, I make interfaces sexy 😎💻😘 https://t.co/b9s221PCbi— 🍁Pariss Athena🎃 (@ParissAthena) October 26, 2019
In this case, Pariss' tech career was shaped by the Bootcamp she attended, she wasn't trying to solve global warming or earthquakes, so don't beat yourself up if you don't have one big motivation at the beginning of your career to solve one big problem and you just want to "get into tech because I knew that without some sort of technical background, I’d likely be left behind" as Pariss said.
Let's look at the founder of scotch.io next, you should also know that Chris Sevilleja is also a GoogleDevExpert.
I was given a pirated (don't tell adobe) version of Dreamweaver.— Chris on Code (@chrisoncode) October 26, 2019
Figured "wow this thing is like 800$! might as well figure it out"
Then my neighbor needed a website and said he'd pay me
👉 So I got a helping handout (Dreamweaver)
🤑 Then I did it for the money https://t.co/As2L6tD1Wh
Chris got a tool for web development that costs about $800, and that was the push, he did not want that opportunity to go to waste. Then along the way, he got someone who needed a website and was willing to pay for it. He started things here and soon realized how powerful the ability to code/create is, and the fact that you can build a future for yourself and those around you. Chris today is a mentor to many, and if you're reading this here now, thanks to Chris again.
It was a bet that has really paid off.
I do C# now but did Java in the late 90s and Delphi before that and VB before that and C before that. Languages change but the fundamentals don’t. Cars get new engines but still have 4 wheels. Be a good mechanic with a sense of history and you’ll be ok.— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) October 26, 2019
Another factor that makes choosing your tech field easier is if you're about to do something because of passion, Like the founder of T7Chickens; Nick. He is a great Tekken fan and while trying to make the game easier for fellow gamers, he decided to build a game, and he took the steps needed:
- Knowing what he needs to learn
- Learning what he needs to build
T7Chicken now have its own community with thousands of users too. Looking at Nick's story, you'll understand that Nick didn't choose React Native because he wanted a Job in it or because it was the biggest thing in town. He's a React native developer because that was what he needed to solve the problem he wanted to solve. If Php was what Nick needed back then he'll probably be one great backend developer now.
I had no idea if become a developer. I was just someone who played Tekken. I wanted to make an app to help the community get better at the game, I had no idea what it would take for me to make an app. I'm grateful to have found a love for building experiences— Nick DeJesus - T7 Chicken developer (@Dayhaysoos) October 26, 2019
So how about we talk about an adventurous person like Marc Grabanski, the current CEO/Founder and UI developer at Frontendmasters (One of the best out there for learning, the courses are top-notch plus there's never a dull moment).
I am from a small town where I felt no one shared my interests.— Marc Grabanski ✌️ (@1Marc) October 27, 2019
Once I saw you can publish words on websites and even people on the other side of the world can learn and share interests, I knew that is what I wanted to focus on for the rest of my life!
Front-end since 1998.
In his reply here about how he got into tech, Marc saw the endless possibilities of sharing information on websites and he took this as his major, and today, Frontendmasters.com has supported the learning of so many developers.
Sometimes, it's just great to make use of talented people around you, learn from them and follow their advice, here's a tweet from Crystal Young; A senior cybersecurity analyst. She was advised to join a cybersecurity and information assurance certification program. This was the bedrock of her career. If she was advised to join a Microsoft learning program, she probably would be one great .NET developer now.
I was volun-told, by my professor, to join the new cybersecurity and information assurance certification program that she was heading. I trusted her and joined.— Crystal Young (@criisann23) October 27, 2019
Best decision. https://t.co/cYubf8Ye2z
The main purpose of this article isn't to show you a bunch of tweets, but to show you that, by going through the storyline of others and learning from their experience, you can relate to a story based on your current situation and start your career. There's no perfect way to starting in tech, some come in like twitter; they pick up a language, use it a little, drop it, come back after a long break to major on it.
Here's Amarachi, She picked web as her field becuase she wanted to support her brother and cut the cost of website building for his company. If her brother needed an app and not a wesbsite, she would probably be an app developer now. The stack these folks chose is not the point of discussion, but that they used that as a push to start their career.
My brother has a fashion brand, and when I asked a web developer if he can build a website for us , he was charging us almost #300000. I told myself, can't I learn this skill, do it for my brother and also charge others to develop web application..— Amycruz 👩💻 👩💻 👩💻 (@AmarachiAmaechi) October 27, 2019
I also listened to a podcast that featured Neo Ighodaro, the former CTO of hotels.ng, his first attempt at coding started from curiosity, he saw someone coding and while it looked like magic, he became really interested, and that's how his journey started. He did say he picked Laravel because he liked the name. You can learn more about his journey into tech on this podcast.
In many ways - it chose me. I was too sick to do anything else. Coding was the only thing I could do.— Tejas Kumar (@TejasKumar_) October 26, 2019
So how about you look around, talk to experts and people within your reach, attend meetups and bootcamps, make use of that free courses you have access to, take up something you're cool with and START. Trust me (Or don't), you'll be fine.
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