Can I Become a Coder with no Coding Background?

The answer to that question is quite simple, and it can only be answered by you. Any limitations you encounter when you begin programming, are going to be self-imposed obstacles. At the very beginning, you shouldn’t be constructing your own obstructions, your own excuses, walls that you feel you can’t climb. You should be acknowledging that anything worthwhile is going to difficult, and you’re just like everyone else at the very beginning. How you continue from there, how you progress, is up to you.

When Albert Einstein was 4 years old, he was still unable to speak and many of his teachers denounced him as ‘never going to attempt to much.’ Walt Disney was frequently unemployed, having been fired from a newspaper, the newspaper citing that he was ‘lacking imagination, and without any original ideas.’ A 30 year old man feel into a deep depression after he was unceremoniously removed from the company he helped start. Where did he go from there? Steve Jobs had co-founded Apple Inc, founded what we know now as Pixar, and was brought back in to Apple to salvage the one-great tech giant in 1996. To this day, Apple continues to be one of the largest giants of industry ever, with enormous influence in both the technology and economic sphere.

In his Stanford commencement speech in 2005, Jobs issued this advice- ‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.’

You may scold and denigrate yourself as not being clever enough mathematically, and undeniably mathematics plays a significant part in all technological fields, but that’s not your excuse. You may not yet have your original idea, but that doesn’t mean you lack imagination. The issues lies with whether or not you want to put in the work, and can back that statement up with the actual hard labour it takes to improve yourself in an unfamiliar field.

You may claim that your degree or diploma, your past jobs, are so far outside the world of coding that they make your past experience seem irrelevant, but that’s untrue. Any experience accumulated over the years hints at the larger picture of who you are and what you’re about. Whether you were a gardener or a teacher, an architect or a barista, you still had to learn a trade. You had to maintain professional decorum, punctuality, adapt to changes in your professional environment and economic circumstances, evolve over time in tandem with new technologies… and ideally, above all else, you had to work hard. The world of coding and software engineering may seem like a foreign land with  dozens, hundreds even, of foreign languages, and while there’s some truth in that analogy, most of the people working in that world are there because they took an interest in technology and computing, in coding and design, and expanded on that curiosity to do something about it. They made the choice to advance their technological knowledge and practise.
Take the example of Jennifer Dewalt, a fine arts major who focused primarily on sculpture and drawing, who began coding for an hour a day, and I’m not joking, until she was a CEO. An awful lot of Americans took it to heart when US President Barack Obama said ‘Don’t just play on your phone. Program it.’ It might seem a tad ironic now, as the last thing President Obama needs is more hackers…

This was all part of an almost global code literacy movement, and it illustrates the influence that technology giants have on politics, society, and economics. The world values intelligent, ambitious, and motivated coders. We at Code Institute, among other such technical learning environments, understand that not everyone grows up to become what they initially wanted to become. Not everything fell into place. Not everyone chooses their personal career path on the first try.
And we acknowledge that the world, emboldened by the hunger of the Irish ICT sector for capable, ambitious coders, emboldened by the past failures of giants of industry and Nobel laureates alike, needs more people who aren’t afraid to try again.
 

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