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What every beginner absolutely needs to know about the journey ahead

Quincy Larson was just a “guy in a suit in an office” and decided he wanted to learn how to code. So he asked around. He started by picking up a bit of Ruby then found himself skimming through other languages like Scala, Clojure and Go. He learned Emacs then Vim and even the Dvorak keyboard layout. He picked up Linux, dabbled in Lisp and coded in Python while living on the command line for more than half a year.

Like a leaf in a tornado, the advice Quincy received jerked him first one way and then another and then another until he’d finally taken “every online course program imaginable”. By the end of it all, despite having ultimately landed a software development job, Quincy:

… was convinced that the seemingly normal programmers I ran into were actually sociopaths who had experienced, then repressed, the trauma of learning to code.

Charting The Path Ahead

  1. The Hand Holding Honeymoon is the joy-filled romp through highly polished resources teaching you things that seem tricky but are totally do-able with their intensive support. You will primarily learn basic syntax but feel great about your accomplishments.
  2. The Cliff of Confusion is the painful realization that it’s a lot harder when the hand-holding ends and it feels like you can’t actually do anything on your own yet. Your primary challenges are constant debugging and not quite knowing how to ask the right questions as you fight your way towards any kind of momentum.
  3. The Desert of Despair is the long and lonely journey through a pathless landscape where every new direction seems correct but you’re frequently going in circles and you’re starving for the resources to get you through it. Beware the “Mirages of Mania”, like sirens of the desert, which will lead you astray.

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