How I Learned to Code – The Intro

Hi, I’m Austen. I taught myself to code. You can learn to code, too. It takes work and time, but it’s worth it.


Because programming can be used to improve every type of job there is. Whether you work as a janitor, an engineer, a financial analyst, or an insurance agent – when you learn to code you will make yourself more efficient, learn to think critically, and equip yourself for the future.

Here’s how I learned to code:

Part 1. How I learned to Code – The Intro (this article)

Part 2. How to Go About Teaching Yourself to Code

Part 3. How to Network and Interview as a Self-Taught Programmer

Part 4. How to not give up and land yourself a job

Who am I ?

I dreamed of being an engineer since I was a kid. I was inspired by characters like ‘Q’ from James Bond – inventors of dazzling gadgets and innovative tools. It seemed that the secret to these wondrous items was a knowledge of science and technology. That pointed me right in the direction of engineering.

When I was in college, I had a choice to make between the type of engineer I could be. I was able to work on a degree in Engineering-Physics before having to make this decision. Ultimately, my choice to study Civil Engineering was influenced by the other civil engineers in my life who had inspired me to make an impact on the world. I saw myself traveling the world and improving infrastructure in countries that needed it.

When I graduated in 2013, the state of the economy hit me where it hurt. I spent a year doing odd jobs, floating between retail and grounds maintenance to get by. I was able to land a job in April of 2014 at a large water utility company. It was a great opportunity to work at a company that boasted some of the biggest and best civil engineering infrastructure in the world.

I was disappointed by what I found there. The position I was hired for wasn’t exactly civil engineering – it was more facilities management. That meant managing contracts, coordinating projects, and doing some basic space planning and furniture buying when required. I was completely stagnant in my technical growth, and I wasn’t even doing what I’d trained for years to do!

However, that job taught me three key things that would contribute to my future success:

  1. I learned how to talk with people and manage expectations
  2. I learned how to manage projects
  3. I learned about building management and automation

While working for the utility company, I decided I had enough. I did some soul searching to try and figure out what I truly wanted to do for the rest of my life. What would I really enjoy working on every day? What kind of environment would I want to be in?

Learning to code started with Minecraft servers

I tried to think of the things that had initially drawn me to engineering. Why did I like engineering? Because I want to unlock the mysteries of the universe and make things that people use.

I remembered how much I had enjoyed my intro to coding courses in college. I was playing some Minecraft at the time, so decided to go about setting up my own Minecraft server. In order to do so, I had to set up a Linux operating system. After I started building a server on linux, my playing minecraft went to zero while my building minecraft servers time went to 100.

I came to the following realizations:

  1. I love building things
  2. Highly technical problems are fun
  3. I love solving problems for other people

The perfect solution was to learn to code. I could build things and see the results almost instantly, which was pretty cool. I could also use the power of technology to solve a wide variety of problems. This was the next step – learn to program.

You just read:  How I learned to Code – The Intro (this article)

Next in how I learned to code:

Part 2. How to Go About Teaching Yourself to Code

Part 3. How to Network and Interview as a Self-Taught Programmer

Part 4. How to not give up and land yourself a job

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