When I started my journey last year I kept coming across talks of full-stack this and UI/UX and all these things confused the hell out of me. So I started trying to figure out what made a full-stack developer so special and sought-after. Were these skills attainable within a realistic timeline, for me? That led me down a rabbit hole, learning the difference between designers, front-end developers, and back-end developers – I read a lot of shit (this, this, this, that, this, and this too) – mostly saying all the same thing, but you know frequency increases recall. And that led me to high feelings of overwhelmation (yes, I know , just stick with me).

Not only did I read piece after piece on the pros/cons of pursuing one end versus the other, I found so many resources on the myriad of languages to choose from. In many high schools & universities, folks only have maybe 2-3 options for learning foreign languages, but in the programming world, that number is doubled, tripled, and who knows what the future holds. Having no past experience, that alone can lead to severe mental paralysis.

But I didn’t stop, I just continued ruminating on the decision. I don’t have a lot of time to keep making mistakes (at least that’s what I keep reminding myself) so it was very important to start making the better decisions sooner than later.

I kept a list of popular languages on my iPhone and would regularly look through it not really knowing how or why picking one would be better for me.

Funny enough, I finally made a decision and not for any particular reason except that classes are free.

Having relocated to a new area, I decided to search for programming resources and found a group called Hear Me Code, which offers free beginners classes for women interested in learning Python.

My lists of languages I found included C# and C++ which everyone says is so damn complicated and here I am learning Python, which ironically enough is considered one of the best languages to start programming with. It’s #3 on this General Assembly list for the most in-demand programming languages of the year.

Although I am learning Python, I’m committed to the front-end development track at the moment. Having dabbled in HTML/CSS for years I’m fortunate in that I’m not completely starting from scratch. Even so, with all of the rapid changes over the years, my familiarity seems insufficient, sometimes it feels as though I am a complete beginner who’ll always be playing catch-up. But as we know, the learning is never done. That is what keeps me encouraged, knowing that there is always something to be learned, from the more advanced to the complete novice, they’re just learn it faster.

I’m also learning JavaScript, on my own, but with the help of online coding communities.  It’s another in-demand programming language, a must-know if you want to be taken seriously on the front-end of things. I tried learning JavaScript as a teenager, went to a tech conference once (short story: I rode the CTA blue line all the way to Rosemont Convention Center and bought a JavaScript CD from a booth vendor, took it home, tried to make sense of it and never bothered pursuing it again lol). I’d like to chuck that up to having discovered boys.

I’m also going to delve into PHP. As a regular WordPress user, I’ve had to familiarize myself with the basics of the language and syntax (loops and conditional statements) but I’m by no means “a pro” so I’m hoping to get a better handle on it.

That said, I’m really excited. I’ve developed a curriculum for myself featuring work from the usual suspects: Code Academy, FreeCodeCamp, CodeSchool, Women Who Code DC, Girl Develop It DC, Hear Me Code (yes!!) and basically anything else I can get my hands on.

Just a year ago I bemoaned my lack of focus and long-term goals (unusual for my former overachiever self)and look at me now… having something to look forward to.

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