Learning how to code? Let’s face it, this is hard and the odds are stacked against you. If it was easy, everyone would learn to code and get a high paying job, but not everyone was meant to do this and part of this journey for you might be discovering that you’re not meant to do this. But if that’s the case, don’t let it be because you didn’t count the costs, were too afraid to work hard, or worse yet, because you didn’t know what you needed to do to make the career transition. So if you’re going to do this, and make it, you’ve got to face the mountain and not pretend it’s just a hill.
Before you start applying for jobs as a software engineer, you should log 1000 hours coding. Now, perhaps you could get a low-paying job writing HTML/CSS, but the days of that being a job are mostly over (dying with the pixel-perfect Photoshop designer), and your goal should be bigger than that.
This is perhaps the most daunting truth about all of this learning to code stuff. There is no way to learn how to code to the point of employability without logging the hours with your fingers on the keyboard and eyes on the screen. And by the way, just reading some books or watching some videos doesn’t count toward your 1000 hours. This is 1000 hours of working through coding problems, building applications, screwing them up, fixing bugs, asking for help and collaborating with others.
Don’t fret though, you can do this. In fact, this goal of logging 1000 hours should be freeing for you. It means that there really is no magic sauce to all of this, you don’t need a certain kind of mathematical brain or a special degree, just experience. The sooner you can commit to learning the hard way, the sooner you jump on it and start logging your hours.
You may ask, why 1000 hours? 1000 hours sounds like a lot, but if it were divided into 40 hour work weeks then that’s 25 weeks of work, roughly 6 months of experience. And this 6 months of experience has to stand-up next to 4 year computer science degrees, which it absolutely can as long as you include the 3 other essential elements to becoming a software engineer – a mentor, a carefully crafted learning plan/path and a network of potential employers and peers to collaborate on projects with. To learn more about these, download our free ebook, “Code for a Living”, below.
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