Josh Vogel

What did we do before CodeAcademy?

As a product of the 90s/early 2000s, getting educated in computers was rough. While we had at least one computer per classroom in elementary school (I went to a private school) we only had one semester of computer programming in high school, and it was in BASIC, already an outdated language (though if you know BASIC and can post videos to YouTube, you might have a chance at being successful there – I should have paid attention more, ha). Then in college I’m pretty sure there was no computer science major, and the one class I rembmer taking was in Flash animation (good thing I didn’t go down that road). So having been born in this awkward age where either I was consigned to learning outdated or terrible platforms, and was too early to benefit from the plethora of democartized learning platforms available today? Hold on to your seats, the answer may shock you:

Read Texas Am GIF by Texas A&M University - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s right, books. And the book I used may shock you even more:

Yup, it was a Dummies book. And you know what, even with the Dummies book, it took me a couple of hours reading and re-reading the code snippits to fully understand how an if statement worked, and what a loop did. But on some level it was really good because I was able to stare at it and run the lines of code in my head and there were no “points” or feedback, or anythign else you might get on a coding site today. It wasn’t judgmental or pressuring. It was me on my own time just studying, because I enjoyed it and I wanted to learn it. And boy, when it finally all clicked was that a great feeling. It still is a great feeling to write 1, 100, or 1000 lines of code and see it all working perfectly (ok no one writes perfect code the first time). While my copy has met the recycling heap (there isn’t room for everything on a 40 foot lift across the ocean) this book is still availble for purchase, I hope it will be for a long time coming. This book alone has been responsible for some of my career choices as well as supplemental income probably totalling close to $100,000 by now. I guess that would make it one of the greatest investments of my life. Good luck to everyone in their coding journey!