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Ramblings on coding once again June 18, 2013

Posted by Edwin Ritter in career.
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I learned a long time ago that being good in one thing can limit your career. I did not limit myself and have worked as a software programmer, system administrator, project manager and supervisor. I quickly learned that moving into each new role requires a change in focus and leads to new insights as to how teams interact. In each role, I have always worked with software development teams in one capacity or another.

Over the last two months, I set a goal for myself to re-new my skills (and learn new ones) in software programming. The web is so good at providing learning resources and somehow, I found my way to the CodeAcademy web site. It tracks your progress and also awards badges and points, like a video game.

1stDay_CodeStreakThe first day, I ‘earned’ 68 points and getting back into coding was easier than I thought. I started with a HTML refresher and quickly re-gained a developer frame of mind. While the tools are different since my first job, the actual coding is similar to the bike riding syndrome. I then began using the site every day and  started a consecutive day coding streak.

Each day, I learned more about HTML and moved on to CSS, Java and gained insight into working with jQuery, PHP, Python and Ruby. I find an affinity to the server side apps of PHP, Ruby and Python.

60Day_CodeStreakMy recent daily learning regimen using Codeacedemy has just ended.  I worked my way through 1000 exercises over a consecutive 60 day period. On weekends and holidays, it took a concerted effort to find the time to code. During this streak, I also installed Eclipse IDE, created an account on JSFiddle and reviewed Oracle Java training also. Also a bonus, my MAC OS provides access to the java complier and Ruby via the command line as they are built in to the OS. The command line brings me back to the old days….<insert favorite old soldier story here>.

I’m not done yet and there is always more to learn. My intent here is to keep improving my skills. Having always worked with technical people, I understand the software development process from different perspectives. I also know that being able to ‘wear different hats’ is a positive and makes me more marketable.

Now that I am riding the coding bike once again, I am comfortable working on these applications as part of a development team. I also bring my experience and perspective as a project manager, supervisor and system administrator to the table. I continue to code and to learn about syntax intricacies and improving on my skills.

If you have programming skills, you may be aware of the site I used. For new programmers, it is a good place to consider – especially, since it is free. I like the Eclipse IDE (also free) and have also used DreamWeaver in the past. Oracle provides a good overview with Java also. Everyone builds their toolkit over time. I am refreshing mine and adding new ones.