New Beginnings

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

– Meister Eckhart

Why Code Differently?

The start of any journey is usually a difficult one but the decision to take a leap of faith into the coding world is both scary and exciting to me.

2020 has been a year full of unpleasant surprises. There are so many scary things happening, much of which is out of my control that it is hard not to feel overwhelmed. The one thing that I can control is my own choices and I choose to focus on the future. If I have learned one thing this first week of class, it is that the coding world is my future!

The New York Times

On the morning after Hurricane Maria hit Dominica, a resident surveyed the devastation in the island’s capital, Roseau.

This class isn’t the first time I’ve tried to jump into coding. I’ve had a growing interest in web development for years but it was kicked into overdrive in September 2017 while participating in relief efforts for the island of Dominica which was ransacked by the category 5 hurricane Maria. As the volunteer members of our organization, DARDA, began our work I realized how much better our campaign would be if we only had someone who could develop a more effective website and database for tracking donations.

A couple of years ago I decided to apply for a coding bootcamp. That attempt was unsuccessful despite the fact that I gave it my best effort. (I even declined an offer to go see Hamilton on Broadway because I was in the middle of studying for the assessment!) Despite that setback, I didn’t give up. I knew I still wanted to pursue coding. I started a CodeAcademy course and downloaded several coding tutorial apps to keep myself encouraged.

Then the Coronavirus happened. Like many others, I was out of work and stuck in the house watching the news with growing horror. I knew I wanted to keep myself focused on growth so I began to look for enrichment projects that I could complete virtually. While browsing FaceBook I came across a post by Governor Carney stating that Delaware would cover the tuition fees for those who wanted to start a new career in coding. I was so excited! These types of opportunities don’t come around often and I jumped at the chance to emerge from this pandemic with a brand-new start.

I researched the Code Differently website and was encouraged by what I saw. I was especially pleased to note that the organizers had created different program levels catered to the student’s experience level. I decided to take a chance and applied. Everything happened so fast. From the day I learned about the program to the day I learned I was accepted was only one week. I felt that this program would be a better fit for me than the previous one that I had applied to and I was eager to start.

A New Start

I started class last Monday with practically zero experience but I was determined to not fall behind. My fear was that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rest of the class. The instructors all said that we would be working long hours and that we would get frustrated at times. Boy, were they right! I knew I would get frustrated at some point but I didn’t expect it to happen in the first week!

This past week I was spending a late night to complete one of the HTML Treehouse courses when disaster struck. I was almost finished with my Workspace task when my finger slipped and I deleted my index.html file. ? All of the work I had been doing through multiple videos was gone. I wanted to shut my computer down in frustration right then. Instead, I tried to find a solution. I tried to recover the data, researched the internet, and I reached out to my peers for help. In the end, I was able to find a workaround that helped me recover some of my info.

Even though I was frustrated this week I’m actually glad it happened. I learned a valuable lesson from the experience. I realized that even though learning to code is scary for me I can handle it if I just remain persistent and continue to search for answers.

There have been other moments this week when I have been stuck but now it doesn’t bother me as much. I even enjoy them a little because it’s rewarding when I finally work out the right answer and everything works. Now I just stay focused and ready.

I’m excited to see what else is waiting for me as I progress through this course. I’ll keep moving forward towards the day where I am working as a professional full-stack developer while using my skills to help non-profit organizations such as DARDA increase their visibility and assist more people. If DARDA can increase their donations they will be able to enrich the lives of so many Dominicans. Helping them accomplish that, being a part of that goal would be a wonderful beginning.

12 Thoughts on “New Beginnings

  1. That is incredible that you were able to work with DARDA and that’s what inspired you to learn coding. I’m glad you stuck with it after you accidentally deleted your index.html file! You’re doing an amazing good! We got this!

  2. Greetings Shelley,

    In today’s era of information technology and employment uncertainty, it’s rare in the state of Delaware to discover and know for fact that some sisters are genuinely interested in coding technology. I’m glad to know you have a genuine interest. Not only do I notice you have a genuine interest, but you actually took time to put together a decent sounding blog post with an image of you and image of computer code. I’m proud of you for taking the first initial action step of putting yourself out there and explaining your reasons for joining Code Differently Delaware.

    2020 has been a year of unpleasant surprises for me as well. We are working class people and in the real world. It is a good idea to look to the future and not think in the moment if you ask me in my personal opinion. Coding and learning anything additional about how to use the Internet to advance yourself in life is definitely a good thing. Why? It helps you to stay one step ahead in today’s world of uncertainty, additionally to staying ahead of the wrongful termination game of being spontaneously let go by your employer for dumb reasons.

    Good news about coding and learning anything extra about the Internet is you’re doing it not only to get yourself ahead in life in terms of having a better paying job, but you can also use the priceless knowledge you’ve gained from this amazing coding school to perhaps write your own website someday. Or get into Internet marketing. One thing I’ve learned about the Internet and anything associated with it is you have to do it genuinely from the heart, because no one’s understand over your shoulder and pat you on the back and tell you to “keep going.”

    So I read here that you are out of work and stuck in the house watching the news. A good way to transform your time watching TV into online ad revenue is to use your cell phone or a digital camera to share your feelings in quick 3 to 5 min. Videos. Upload them to YouTube and ask people to leave comments of what they thought of your commentary videos. This is one of many ways of starting a side hustle working from home without shelling out one penny or dollar to start an online business and supplement your income with or without a job.

    Like yourself, I too started coding school with 0% experience. Back in the early 1980s in Brooklyn, my mother bought me a Commodore C 16 computer. This was before the Commodore C 64 came out. I knew nothing about the Internet back then as it was only used for the U.S. military and not for the general American public. I too am frustrated at not gripping this information fast enough. I used to work 3rd shift in a financial institution over a year. It slowly messed up my body’s natural processes, as I now have headaches left and right, gained more unhealthy weight, and have sleep problems. Believe me when I tell you I don’t care if they pay me $100,000 for another night shift job annually, I will never work night shift ever again for anybody. Only for my business because there’s no salary cap when you’re working online.

    And nice to know that you’re from the Dominican Republic. There’s a few spots in the East New York section of Brooklyn that make really good Puerto Rican and Dominican food off of Atlantic Avenue and Grant Avenue. I am willing to pay you if you know how to make “Pasteles.” 🙂

    Excellent work on your blog post! 🙂

    1. Thanks Shawn!!! Your encouragement and your advice is definitely appreciated. It’s reassuring to know that someone who started out with zero experience like I did has attained your level of knowledge.

      Believe me when I tell you I don’t care if they pay me $100,000 for another night shift job annually, I will never work night shift ever again for anybody.

      I agree with this so much! Night shift doesn’t bother me but I’ve had other jobs that have given me that feeling. Taking this course has given me a sense of control. I know that if I work hard enough then I can set myself up for a career in a field that actually inspires and motivates me. ?

      Thanks for the comment!
      (one small note: I am actually from the Commonwealth of Dominica not the Dominican Republic. It’s an island in the Caribbean between Martinique and Guadeloupe. People get the two countries mixed up all the time. So sorry, you’re out of luck on the “Pasteles” ???

  3. Oh no! I can’t imagine losing my code in Treehouse. That would be a nightmare!

    This was a really great read. I like that volunteer work inspired you to get into web development. And I can relate to how fast everything happened. I think I learned about the program and was approved to be in it all in the span of 4 days lol. But I am so grateful for the opportunity. I hope when we graduate I can do something as cool as making a website for DARDA. That’s really awesome.

  4. It’s great to know that I’m not the only one with trepidation about starting a new career. The Code Differently program is definitely a rare opportunity. Being able to have live instructors and supportive classmates is a huge help.

  5. I love that you are persisting through this. Stay connected, and don’t give up when technical glitches happen. Consider backing up your work from Treehouse back to an editor.

    That must’ve been hard to turn down Hamilton. I’m a huge fan of the show. I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched it since it came to Disney this summer.

    Nicely done using the drop cap and blockquote in your formatting! We will keep stepping up our formatting options as we go.

    1. Thanks Courtney!
      I love using WordPress… it’s very intuitive. I am having fun playing around with the different layout and design options on my local site so I’m excited to see what we learn next!

  6. I can definitely relate to having my plans and aspirations changed due to the pandemic. I’m glad you’re able to persist, even when you hit a roadblock. I’m sure that determination will see you through the end of this course. I wish you luck in the future.

    1. Thank you so much! I guess we all can relate to changed circumstances this year. Good luck to you as well! I hope the change in your plans has a successful outcome for you.

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