Category Archives: Coder

How to keep motivated while learning to be a coder online

I work full-time, have a family, and other responsibilities – I know it’s challenging to learn online, but not sure if I can dedicate 20 hours a week to study. I’m motivated, need to keep it written on a wall and keep reading, “I want to be a coder or software developer or software engineer” but that’s not the motivation, it’s the “why” do I want to learn this stuff.

guy looking at codeFor some people it’s to better themselves, to get a better job. For some it’s to improve their economic position in what they already know. For others it’s something to do while waiting and for other it’s to learn enough so they can create that “idea” that they can’t afford to hire a developer to make for them.

For me, it’s a little of everything. Jobs come and go and computers and software, websites, programming will continue to be a need. If I lose my job tomorrow, it’s not the type of job that can easily be duplicated and I don’t want to return to the type of work I did before – social work – too draining.

I need to review my list of what I like about programming and what it could do for me, be a back-up when that job ends or to move on and contribute to any area of society that I would want to contribute to. The numbers of need is staggering. Do I have the brains to do it, yes, but the brain-power when mentally exhausted – that’s what I need to push through.

Some of my challenges is my varied interest and so many distractions – both online and in-person. That means I need to stick to a schedule and get those around me to honor my study time. I’m still working on the precourse work and if I can’t do that, it doesn’t make sense to apply for an expensive bootcamp and become more overwhelmed. I can do the work but when I get stuck on a problem it’s too hard to get info and I end up not going back for days, sometimes weeks to figure out a problem, cause let’s face it – life gets in our way. If you find you can’t make the time to do a precourse (I’m on which is good but not great when you need help as the other students are guessing like you are and only repeat the questions you are asking) – Considering Flat Iron’s online course is $1000/month and seems to fit best with my entry level experience – I may need to go back to codeschool and treehouse as that fits my schedule best until I can make the time to invest in a course.

In addition, now I know my options should I need to find another field of employment, I can attend a local Iron Yard for 12 weeks and get a student loan, AND get a job – that’s still 12 weeks plus job search of no income. It would happen either way but at least I would have an option, better than I can come up with now.

My answer to the question, “write down the why” and it keeps me going. If you don’t have a good list of why you’re studying this, you won’t keep going. Even if I don’t do a full-stack developer course now, I know that I’ll keep learning how to code as there’s so many options.



What’s the difference between a coder, programmer, hacker, and a science major?

credit to vanderbilt dot edu.
credit to vanderbilt dot edu.

Technology changes quickly and versions of computer programs and languages are just as quick to be modified and created. Not only has technology changed but the people who are doing it are no longer typical math and science majors. Because of the web and the endless about of information and sharing, there are more and more self-taught programmers, coders, hackers and developers emerging – so what’s the difference in the names?

The terms that are used loosely in the non-tech world can and are used interchangeably (coder, programmer, hacker – although often thought of negatively – nerd, techie, etc) – these names don’t mean the same thing to some in the tech world. For that reason I did a little research and found a post with definitions which I’ll place here as I like the simplicity – thanks to Scott Hanselman’s blog.


These words might all mean the same thing to you. Perhaps you hear geek, nerd, and dweeb, but we all know these have very important differences. Knowing the differences also can give you a sense of how deep you want to go on your coding adventure.

  • Coders – Can pretty much figure out it. It’ll work, but it won’t be pretty.

  • Hackers – usually low level folks, skillful, with detailed understanding of some area deeply, often scarily deeply.

  • Programmer – Write code and understand algorithms. Often work alone and well.

  • Developer – Are the best generalists, can use lots of different systems and languages and get them to talk to each other. Are true and broad professionals, work with people, and communicate well.

  • Computer Scientist – Need to be able to prove how computers work, at a theoretical level. Are usually math people also.

With my social work and communication’s background I may be more of a developer, wanna be hacker/coder, but I have a little bit of programmer, computer scientist in me. That said, I’ll reserve the true definition of where I’m going, when I get there.

Giving credit where credit is due

I was looking for a picture to go on my blog header when I came across this image. a-day-in-the-life

I thought this looks cool, so I tried to find what it was connected to and who to credit and found this cool site. It also had an interesting infographic so I’m placing it here:

a-day-in-the-life-3 so, I’m hoping since I did a link to the post, they’ll let me use their graphic, if not I’ll get a nice notice in my inbox. Thanks to Back&Blog for the images. – m