As someone who was dipping his toes into something completely new, web development, I did not know where to start or what to do in order to put myself in a position to be the most successful. Similar to a lot of other newbies I've met, I did the typical Google searches "how to build websites?", "how to code?", etc. My results consisted of a lot of drag and drop site generators, information about bootcamps. None of which helped!
A good friend of mine then suggested this amazing website called udemy and my luck started to turn. I started purchasing courses for the "price of a coffee cup". This new found tool opened a world of learning for me. It allowed me to learn, practice and build quick landing pages, small projects. Now for the down side of all of this; while purchasing courses on udemy would help me practice with all of the training wheels on, it slowly dragged me into this "watch tutorial, code along, repeat" cycle. This cycle was not productive for me at all. It did not allow me to grow as a developer. I just needed a way out of this cycle! Slowly, I started to think, hey, why not try to build a project? This was my rude awakening moment! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, where to start, or what I needed to do to accomplish what I needed to. Extreme self-doubts started to creep in. I started slowly believing maybe this was not for me, maybe I did not have the ability to learn how to code.

In come, my light at the end of the tunnel! I stumbled upon this amazing thing called the "100DaysOfCode" challenge. It's as simple as it sounds, code for 100 days, for a certain period of time, hopefully 100 straight days, and post your progress on the good ol' Twitter. When I find out about this, I immediately knew this was my way out of my repeated cycle! I started to jot down a plan on how I want to approach it. As someone who works a full time job, I had to work on my time management skills and had to work diligently on setting up a schedule that worked for me not only to be able to code but also keep up with my daily activities.

The First Attempt

Even after setting a game plan, I have to admit, I was not successful right off the bat. I still had a lot of fear of people seeing my code and judging my projects. I also did not have any projects to work on, which at the time was due to me simply comparing myself to what I was seeing other developers post on Twitter. There was no way I could create this quiz app that a person posted. There was no way me creating a simple landing page would get as much likes or tractions as someone who just created an entire database driven dashboard. Still, I had to power through. I had to find ways to keep myself going though all the doubts. As a result, I started to actually adapting my initial plan and overcoming the fear. I started by posting my progress within a specific course. I would either attach a video or a picture to showcase what I did, etc. Slowly but surely that process started to not work as well as I thought it would. I ended up fading back into what I wanted to get out of, which was the inability to build anything on my own. This then lead to a lot of discouragement and a lot of not wanting to continue and as fate would have it, I ultimately did stopped coding and stopped tweeting about it as a whole.

Finally, it Clicked!

If you are reading this in 2021, I am sure you are aware of the global pandemic we all had to deal with. As terrible and as horrific the pandemic was, it provided me with an opportunity that I don't think I would have had otherwise. It provided me with time. With business not working as usual and working from home more, I had the opportunity to sit in front of my home computer with no real responsibility or anything to do. So it gave me an idea, what if I tried this again? What if I tried to actually commit and tried to make the most out of the new time I had in my hands? On February 17th, 2020, I finally started with my new goal. Through my quest of finding projects, I discovered the most amazing platform known to man, frontendmentor. This platform changed my initial trajectory, which was to aimlessly look for designs on dribble or other design platforms and attempt to recreate them. With this new tool in my arsenal, I went to work! I started with a somewhat basic landing page. I say somewhat because for someone who had not really done anything on their own, it definitely was filled with challenges. It had no real functionality involved, it was just about dealing with layouts and aligning things correctly, etc. By day 3, I was satisfied enough to submit it. I felt proud! I felt like finally, I am able to do this. I can do this. I don't have to be this amazing genius to be able to build websites. This sense of accomplishment only fueled my hunger to keep going and keep trying to get better. Over the course of time, I worked on building landing pages, widgets, dashboards, theme switchers, you name it. It all commemorated in the final days with me launching my first real production site, my portfolio (a version which has sense been updated).

Final Thoughts

I don't know if my first dev job will come tomorrow or in 6 years from now but I do know this, I would not have gotten anywhere within the coding world without taking part of the 100DaysOfCode challenge. Tweeting and sharing my work with people led to me making some amazing connections. I have even experienced what it's like to work in a team atmosphere. I got to experience things which not many newbies would have the chance and opportunity to experience. If you are reading this and planning on taking this challenge on, my biggest advice is find out what works for you. Figure out a game plan before you start and try all you can to stick to it. Always keep in mind, your code quality on day 1 will not be at the same level on day 100. 💯