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How did I become a programmer?

Why not call myself a programmer after all? I had exposure to HTML and CSS for a long time while being a website owner, but I did not get a real interest in coding until mid 2021 when I wanted to create this interactive technical animation . During those days I knew absolutely nothing about JavaScript, and my old very popular Content Manage System (CMS) was not a tool to create a very specific line of code to do what I was interested in doing.

If you know anything about coding, you would know that HTML and CSS are only the scratches on the surface for coding, if you really want to learn to code and understand software engineering, then you must pick languages such as Python, Javascript, among other languages depending on what you are working.

After my first animation project

It took me about 2 weeks to finish a simple animation. I already had the vector graphics (drawings) converted into the SVG files that I wanted to animate, but just needed to find a way on how to do it. Long story short I found some help and learn the very basics on how to write a JavaScript function that would do what I wanted, and then writing a few other similar functions to do the rest.

When I got done with the animation I still had no much knowledge about coding, maybe the animation was looking cool (so I think), but it was just a few functions to control an SVG drawing.

If you are not a software engineer and you are not familiar with a function in programming, think of a function as an equation, something that would find in your physics or electrical class to calculate speed, force, voltage, amps.. the difference is that a function is written in whatever programming language you are working with, and you have a bit more control of the variables to use for the function to come up with the results that you want. ← This right here is what attracted me to programming, besides the point that I needed / wanted to publish information in a website.

My tools and resources

I am going to credit Angela Yu  as the person who taught me to code, or at least taught me the basics to keep on learning. After taking some of her classes late at night, then it was the time to get rid of my CMS (Content Management System) and start coding websites on my own without any CMS.

The tools I am using are:
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Bootstrap
  • JavaScript
  • Express.js
  • NEXT.js
  • GSAP

My advise if you want to learn to code.

If you are interested in learning to code without going for a computer science degree, then I surely would recommend Angela Yu and check out her class, and no, Angela does not know me and has no idea who I am, but I still think her class is pretty good.

There are many tools out there and they all get to be the buzz of the moment and maybe you'll think you need to learn a certain tool, but keep in mind that if you have control of good old HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, then all the awesome tools are just secondary. Something like Bootstrap is easy to learn, and sure will make you code faster, overall I give Bootstrap a thumbs up because it is easy and gets you moving fast, but still think of Bootstrap just like a secondary tool.

Things like REACT and NEXT.js are a bit more advance, and I would learn them later when you get more comfortable with your coding. I will tell you right now NOT to use REACT alone as I learned the hard way that REACT alone is no good for SEO because search engines can not read JavaScript, and you will need to learn Server Side Rendering to use in REACT, this is why I am using NEXT.js instead.

Learning to code takes time and it can be frustrating. Keeping it simple and advancing at your own pace is the way to go. Once you start coding you also need to practice to keep and obtain more skills, or else you will forget, some places to keep sharpening your skills are places like SoloLearn CodeWars  and Free Code Camp.

Talk to me.