Monday, March 23, 2015

Slightly more confident noob

Coding. "I love coding" say some while others shout in a louder voice "I hate coding". No points for guessing that I was in the latter group. I did not do well in the first basic computer science course. And that set the tone for hatred. I had this mental block. I somehow survived five years of college in ways that I am not very proud of..

In July'14, I joined a healthcare consulting firm. Well, I was sure that I would not have to code.It was in the domain of my interest. I was put in the sales analytics team where we did segmentation and targeting for a European market. I had no clue until work actually started that numbers are crunched by running codes! They trained us in SAS and a bit of Excel. I found myself reading code, tweaking it, and generating reports from the analysis. I found it interesting every now and then but mundane most of the times. But then, I realised I could write some code and make the computer crunch numbers while I crunched Lays.

I kind of lost that fear of coding. I would compare this to those initial days of venturing into a swimming pool and realising that with bit of effort, one can breathe under water..

I joined a software company here in Chennai and happily resigned my first job, the healthcare "consulting" gig, in 4 months. I was kind of clear that I did not want to code "all the time". I was given a role that satisfied this ignorant criteria of mine.

It has been 4 months here and I have started learning how to code, totally because I was intrigued by it.. I did a teeny tiny bit of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python. I am in love with this new found joy in coding. I could not believe that I have been so rigid all these years. Well, better late than never.

A dear friend suggested that I should solve some problems using Python. I always wanted to do those maths problems from I struggled. I used google and followed the path that it laid. I was so happy when I cracked the first problem. I did not do anything else till I cracked it. It was like a new friend that I could talk to whenever I wanted to!

And then I started exploring other things. I am still a noob. Very much a noob. But a slightly more confident one.

Well, does this strike a chord with you? Do you fear/hate/not like/dislike coding? Maybe you could give it another shot. This time, just keep your mind open. Be open to learning. Be open to the idea of finding your way on your own. Learning is fun.

Codecademy is a great place to start. The odin project is a good compilation of various sources. It lets you explore other tutorials and lectures. Once you cross the threshold, you will find your way based on your needs.

Have fun! Happy coding. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Now it is

On a Sunday evening, after a duathlon, after eating nutella, nutella with bread, murku, I found myself talking to my friend about how we come up with so many excuses. And how important it is to put ourselves out there. She was nodding, reflecting, smiling. I was talking about how I have my set of excuses at times- how I have been avoiding writing a particular blog post and a thank you note..

That was it. I just got up. I couldn't stand the paradoxical situation anymore. I got my laptop. Settled down comfortably. Music plugged in. Opened the Gmail tab. And then YouTube. Blogger. Web WhatsApp. Facebook. Thanks to the duathlon today, I have the urge to check the social media site for photographs. Well, it has been good so far with the pictures that I got. Oh come on! It was my first duathlon. It was also 'enlightening' to see how I looked when I was on my cycle. A tiny chubby person. (Nevertheless, the nutella jar shall be consumed.)

Getting back, I closed some of the tabs. The thank you note hasn't happened yet. But I figured out a better approach to get that stuff done. So, yay!

So yes, the "NOW" factor is a very tricky one I feel. We have so many excuses popping up in our head. Excuses for not getting physical activity, for not calling up someone, for not doing grocery shopping, for not learning something that we have always wanted to and so on. But then, if we really want to do something, I think one needs to shut up and get to business! If I really want to do something, I should be able to battle the wars, rather issues that keep cropping up before they take the form of well worded excuses.

In this context, I am reminded of what a friend once told me.. Do something about it or stop complaining. True, right?

Personally, this approach has been helping me. Whenever I find myself in these kind of situations, I try to make peace with the facts or I just get them out of my way. Or else I sit and write about them and gain some insights.. What do you do?