Duncan Bain

Time For Change!

I’ve always been interested in computers, some of the fondest memories of my childhood are those of spending time with my dad writing code in Object Pascal to create a working calculator, installing Debian linux with a massive printed out manual as reference and no GUI.

Oh, and annoying the rest of the household by installing Windows Server 2000 along with setting up active directory and roaming profiles on our computers.

This love for computers stayed with me as I grew older, I went off to University to study Computer Science. But after finishing the first year of the degree I wasn’t sure if this was something I wanted to pursue for several years, and then onto a career, maybe it was something better kept as a hobby?

After some deliberation I changed degree and four years later graduated with a Bachelors of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering.

My roles in engineering have included developing complex safety critical systems for naval nuclear propulsion power plants, and working in environmental testing of anti-aircraft missile systems.

I’ve always spent a large amount of free time working with IT/tech, I’ve set up Proxmox virtualisation to run my home network, which runs a pfSense network firewall, and services such as Plex to stream media at home and away from home and PiHole to block intrusive advertising across the network.

I’ve always had a feeling of “what if?” when thinking about where I would be if I continued with my computing science degree, and this has increased over the past couple of years.

I started looking for resources on learning how to code, I read several articles on Medium where people have self-taught themselves how to code and successfully changed careers, which only made me more excited at the thought of doing the same.

One of the most common resources discussed, which was always rated highly, is freeCodeCamp. FreeCodeCamp consists of over 1400 coding challenges, 30 projects and 6 certifications that takes approximately 1800+ hours to fully complete.

The FCC curriculum starts at basic HTML and CSS, and goes through to how to creating back end databases and functioning APIs. There is a great community forum, where people post projects they’re working on to ask for code reviews and help, and a section where people ask for career or job interview advice.

I’m currently working my way through the Responsive Web Design certification, and have completed two of the five projects required to complete this.

A couple of days ago I came across # 100DaysOfCode, this is a challenge with only two rules; code a minimum of one hour a day for the next 100 days, and tweet your progress with the hashtag #100DaysOfCode.

Discovering this has given me an extra push, announcing my starting of the challenge by tweeting on my until-now dormant Twitter account, which was immediately re-tweeted several times and loved by others who are doing their own #100DaysOfCode challenge.

This has spurred me on to continue making the time for at least an hour of coding or activities which brings me closer to my goal as working as a software developer.