Last week I wrote about my 100 Days of No Code journey. I realise that many people who know me now, though they may know me as being “in tech”, don’t know about my journey in tech. They often don’t realise that I started life as a programmer, in software development.
A recent tweet had me reflecting on how I got to where I am now:
It was a little walk down memory lane…
As a teenager, I had been exposed to computers by my early adopter father who was building them at home. But I had little interest myself. I only chose to study computer science to get out of doing geography, lol.
I was pretty good at the coding part, which back then was writing code in BASIC (aka “Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code”. My masterpiece? An assignment I wrote to generate an initial round robin water polo match schedule, track the scores and create the qualifying tournament rounds (quarters, semis and finals). I was a star to my teacher!
When I got to university, I again chose Computer Science not out of some deep abiding love, but as a sideways path to what I really wanted to study, lol. I ended up sticking with it and getting a degree. The only part of that degree I actually enjoyed were the programming classes. We learnt about a variety of language types and how to code in them (what was I ever going to do with LISP?!?). I spent large portions of my time in the computer lab debugging other people’s assignments.
My first job in technology was with a local Financial Software company and I spent my time that summer testing software originally written in Foxpro and being moved over to Visual Foxpro. After I finished my studies, I took a job with one of Jamaica’s first web development companies, InfoExchange (which is still around though they’ve moved to a focus on infrastructure services and consulting now). I was more on the web admin side but this job introduced me to the world of websites and started a lifelong love of dabbling in web development technology.
Over the years, the dabbling has often seen me entertaining notions of returning to coding. I thought about learning to write WordPress plugins. I got really excited about the possibilities of Ruby on Rails. But every time I started, I gave it up. It really wasn’t what I wanted to spend my time doing… writing lines of code.
I always stayed in touch with what was happening in that world. I saw the IDEs get better and better, the coding get faster and often more visual. And I saw WYSIWYG come to the world of code, lol. NoCode was exciting!
So this year, I finally dove in.
The NoCode world still involves code, both behind the scenes and to create more advanced functionality. And having learnt how to code, thinking through problems and how to create a solution is already part of my skill set.
What I have gained is a way (well, many ways) to create solutions without going back to writing lines of code for everything. I still don’t know what I will be doing with all this new-found power, but moving from code to NoCode has been an interesting journey.