Posted on October 2, 2012 by

Doing What I Do

I talk about work often. Not just online but also in general conversation. There are a few reasons for this, but mostly it’s because I enjoy my work and that the type of work I do is quite consuming of my brain. It occupies enough of my thoughts that some nights I dream up solutions to problems I have and sometimes I dream up ideas so vivid it’s as if I was awake working on them.

One of the things about my job that is really tough is when people ask how they might get into what I do. It’s not really tough in any real sense, it’s just hard for me to define how I learned what I do and I also put my values differently to a lot of people in my profession.

I first started writing HTML in high school. The start was learning the basics of writing code by viewing the source of websites I liked and understanding how things were done. This often taught me how not to do things just as often as the right way, but unfortunately that is actually one of the best ways to learn. I pulled apart JavaScript snippets, downloaded tutorials, learned to curl entire websites, I tinkered and I played and I made websites about whatever I was thinking of at the time just to learn.

Then in my teens things like standards started becoming a bigger deal. People started caring about the code they wrote, rather than generating it or writing rubbish. I was at a point where nothing seemed to follow structure or logic and suddenly that wasn’t going to be the case anymore. And I read more.

Until university I learned a ton about HTML and CSS, a little about JavaScript and I also did my dirty days with PHP. I could build a basic website, I understood the basics of hosting and Linux, I was a Webmaster. Then I went to university and learned it all over again but wrong. I wrote assignments, got good grades and passed my computer science units, but ultimately I knew I was handing in crap.

The problem with doing what I do is that a vast majority of the things I know have been learned over time. Most of what I know has been “self-taught” but it was ultimately my curiosity that got me to the level that I am. If I didn’t question how things were done, look for better ways and look under the hood of peoples work then I would never have written more than a few lines of code and I am nearly 100% sure that instead of being a coder I would now be a professional football player used car salesman.

But… if you really wanna code… here are some places to start: