So I thought I would start this new direction for the blog with a post about a topic I get asked about a lot.
“I want to get started in programming, how do I do that?”
And this is a great question, and one that makes a lot of sense to me as the lines between technology and business are blurring. And more and more people are interacting with developers in their daily life as part of their current jobs, and its leading to people’s eyes being opened to the opportunities in this place.
My next question is normally “Why?” and at first that usually takes people back, but this is an important thing to ask yourself. I ask this because to be honest, switching fields and taking on something like becoming a developer isn’t an easy journey, and if your motives aren’t clear than your going to set yourself up for failure. I generally think it’s smart to ask if this is a worthwhile investment of your time. Because as much as I love this industry, it can be quite brutal at times.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making these statements as some grand arbiter who decides if you are worthy of becoming an almighty developer. I make these statements because the simple truth is that to work as a developer and achieve success you need to be willing to accept the reality, which is less Minority Report and steve jobs, and more the craziness of Silicon Valley.
I would tell you to ask the following questions:
- Do you like continual education? Are you willing to read about this stuff in your spare time?
- Do you like to tinker with things?
- Do you have “Grit”?
For the final question, specifically I’m referring to the fantastic book by Angela Duckworth, that describes Grit as basically being the intersection of Passion and Perseverance, and that it is the most important part of any equation where someone is hoping for success. And I would argue, even more so true for developers.
If you look online at the “successful developers” they all have one thing in common…they live for this stuff. And spend a lot of time doing it, and finding new ways to challenge themselves and push boundaries. They are constantly looking for ways to change their mindset to find new opportunities and directions. I don’t claim to be a famous developer, but I can tell you that I’m proud of where I’ve gone in my career and I genuinely love what I do, and much like those “famous developers”, my wife describes me as a “well documented nerd”.
So now the important question is, did I lose you? If not, I think this is a rewarding career option that can take you in some interesting directions, but you need to know that it will be a slow burn. This is not something where you will be writing award winning apps by Monday if you start on Friday.
Below are some links to help you out, feel free to reach out with questions, I’ve tried to provide a lot of training material and some notes about each link:
Visual Studio 2017 Community Edition – This is the primary IDE (integrated developer environment) for all things in the Micr0soft stack. And the community edition is free, which is even better.
When you go to install it, its going to ask you to customize the install, by selecting different packages and what not.
Great start: C# fundamentals for Absolute Beginners:
For training materials I would recommend the following:
Microsoft Virtual Academy – https://mva.microsoft.com/
This is a great site for a lot of training content Microsoft generates to help. I would point you to the absolute beginner classes as well as the learning paths. They also do a good job of categorizing training (100 level, 200 level etc)
Visual Studio Training:
Getting started with Visual Studio 2017
Channel 9 – https://channel9.msdn.com/
Great site for general videos, and is updated all the time.
This is probably a good start.