It’s been over 20 years since I last made a website but I recently decided to teach myself to be a programmer. How does that happen you might wonder? I blame it on Silicon Valley.
I had been asking my wife for some time if she would be interested in watching the show, but the answer was always no. I don’t even know why I wanted to watch it aside from the fact that I had heard good things, but she wasn’t the least bit interested. Even when her sister was an extra in an episode I could only get her to watch that one scene. I had basically given up but after we watched The Big Sick, a movie based on the true story of how Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani met his wife, and my quest to convince my wife to watch Silicon Valley finally gained some traction. We started watching the show a few days later and we were immediately hooked.
Now at this point, you might be thinking, “I get it. Silicon Valley is a great show but how does that lead a person to take up a new career in their mid-40’s?” It doesn’t really, at least not on its own, but it did help to rekindle an old spark.
Programming has always been something that I have had an interest in. I just hadn’t pursued it in quite some time.
I’m not sure what grade I was in, but I still remember how cool I thought it was when we learned simple scripts. Things like how to get our name to flash on the screen or how to program the computer to respond to questions. I was so excited I even took my little floppy disk home to show my dad what I learned. (Don’t judge! This would have been in the 80’s and that was cutting edge stuff back then.) In the 90’s, when people started to learn about this thing called the World Wide Web, I taught myself HTML and made several websites. (Shout out to anyone who remembers Geocities!) In the early 00’s I programmed a Chess bot that people could play against over the internet.
Watching Silicon Valley got me thinking about programming again. It also reminded me how much fun I used to have working on projects like those. I was already considering going in a new direction with my career after spending 20+ years in hotel and casino management so I decided to look into programming jobs.
I did some research on the internet and I spoke to some friends who are in the field. What I learned was enough to convince me that there was an opportunity there if I was willing to put in the work. I spent a few days reading articles and working on tutorials to brush up a bit and to make sure that this was still something I would enjoy doing. I quickly realized that it was.
The next step was to figure out how to make the transition to becoming a programmer. Should I learn to program in my free time while working an unrelated job or focus all of my time and attention on developing my programming skills? I discussed it with my wife and we decided that if I was going to do it that I should go all-in and make preparing for this new career my number one priority.
With the decision made to become a programmer it was time to develop an action plan and put it in motion, but we’ll cover that in the next post.