How I Became a Programmer IN SPITE of the Education System
And not because of it… true story.
Hi! I am Silent-lad or as people know me normally, Divyansh Tripathi. I’m a young computer programmer who wants to learn as much as I can to make things as amusing as they can be. But why am I ranting about the whole education system out of the blue? Isn’t it supposed to help us?
Are you a successful and happy programmer because of your formal education or in-spite of it?
Answer me this question if your answer is you are good at coding BECAUSE of your formal education please leave a comment as you might not want to read further, this all will be alien to you as you were sent into a utopian education institution which I always strive to find :)
Not exactly but the way education is presented to us nowadays in schools is downright ridiculous. Schools are often these institutions that force-feed useless shit to kids who either have no power to say no, or are too scared of saying no. Schools are an archaic data-pumping system into young minds that have no choice but to absorb it, and they do so not because they want to, or because they realize how useful it is, but because the human brain is instinctively absorbant and willing — craving to learn.
And I wanted to learn.
If you do mistakes YOU’LL FAIL!
How many times have you heard this statement or something close to it? Think of learning a web framework without making mistakes and just following a set pattern of instructions laid down by a book… YOU WON’T learn anything. You won’t be able to debug your applications and you will just be adding to the code-manure which was already there before you came.
Mistakes are frowned upon in schools and EVEN in colleges. If you don’t do as told, YOU WILL FAIL. Fail? At Geography? In school? Or in life? Why are you generalizing something so BIG(failure) with a school test?
Failure in life is something which is very hard to achieve, But we all are scared so much by it that we think that any step we take instead of the fictional ‘‘RIGHT STEP’’ would result in failure.
Don’t be afraid of failures. Life does have a harness on you and it’s your will power.
ENTERS COLLEGE …
So I enter college with expectations that finally I’m in an institution where I’ll learn. But what I see there is even more astonishing.
The standards to reach failure here are even lower than they were in school. One wrong programming language …one wrong paradigm of programming …one wrong framework and you would be rejected in so and so companies’ interview process. And boy if you tell them that I just do programming for fun, they are alienated to this statement altogether.
What I did to escape the vicious rat race?
I won’t lie. When I entered college I started learning Python because IT IS THE FUTURE (xD). I knew the language by heart I made small little things with it. But then I realized it was not a thing to learn by rote. So I lost interest in it after 3 months of rigorous treatment.
Then I started competitive coding … Phew!! I did it day and night for a job I would get 4 years later. Then I lost interest after another 6 months. (I am not saying competitive programming is not the right way to be a programmer, it was just that my attitude towards it was to use it to get a job..not to learn something new).
Then I was introduced to programming as what it is meant to be “A MAGIC WAND”. By which I could create (almost) anything I want. And there was no turning back since then. I skipped meals, stopped being a socialite and suddenly the thing which was once WORK to me was now my RECREATION.
Open Source and Internet
Then I reached this magical place with the help of some seniors and my beloved MacBook. The world of the internet. It was just like Wreck it Ralph 2!
There was so much to learn, so much to do. No curriculum. No tests. No assignments. No single source of knowledge. No rules.
You want an app to perform some tasks that are personalized to your lifestyle…MAKE ONE.
You want a website to wish your friend Happy Birthday…MAKE ONE.
You want led lights for your room reacting to MUSIC…yea you got the pattern.
Learning is a lifestyle
Rather than what we’ve been told in school. Learning is a lifestyle. You don’t learn to pass a test, You don’t learn to clear a job interview.
Similarly, when someone asks me how much time did you take to learn to programme/code, I have no answer… I start introspecting the question and always come to the conclusion that I still haven’t scratched the surface of the iceberg.
And this statement seems to be absurd to someone who hasn’t changed the mindset molded by the education system. Which is the same reason they find it impossible to motivate themselves to CODE (a task which itself needs no motivation in my opinion).
What should you do?
What if you are a victim of such a rat race and desperately want to get out? What if you are tired of being the average coder with not so average dreams?
Don’t think of coding as a task. A task if completed will grant you a successful career and a good life. This way you would get a job but then you’ll realize you still HAVE TO LEARN AND CODE. And what was once a task for you will now be your lifelong job which you hate. Your destination is very similar to the path you take so beware.
Embrace coding as a form of art, you being an artist. Create stuff for yourself, for your friends, for your home. Enjoy coding and it will come to you naturally.
So these are my thoughts based on my own life experience. I’d love to hear what you think, so please feel free to comment and share your thoughts. Thanks! :)