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12 Developers on How They Fell in Love With Coding

how developers learn to code
Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

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February may be known as the month of paper valentines, discount chocolates, and stuffed animals whose hands have been sewn to plushie hearts, but here at Skillcrush we wanted to use the season of love to talk about something different.

We like to think of learning tech skills as a big act of self-love—you’re enhancing your financial future, creative expression, and career happiness. Wanting to make more money or have a flexible job—and then going out and gaining the skills necessary to have those things—actually makes you a total boss. And, spoiler alert: There’s nothing we love more at Skillcrush than hearing coding love stories from our students, coworkers, and peers.

We asked techies from the Skillcrush community and our friends at Girl Develop It to tell us exactly how they came to love coding. We hope that you’ll find their answers funny, inspirational, and sweet—just like we did.

1. “I learned to love code when I stopped thinking about it as a complex system of pulleys and gears— and starting thinking about it as a beautiful written language of poetry. _What code,through yonder window breaks? It is I, and semicolons are my sun._” —Erin Denton, Skillcrush Design Instructor

2. “I taught myself to code as a Gilmore Girls-obsessed pre-teen who wanted to make a Rory/Jess fansite. A friend I met online taught me the basics (i-frames! Ttables! Ooh my!) and that was enough to get me started. We would spend hours on AIM, going back and forth about why something was or wasn’t working, and then eventually I’d beg to borrow my dad’s cell phone because he had free long distance and it was easier to talk on the phone. Collaborating with her was what made me love coding—and we’re still close friends all these years later!” —Caro Griffin, Developer and Skillcrush Director of Operations

3. “I was working at a job that wasn’t very fulfilling or meaningful to me, but they offered tuition reimbursement. On a bit of a whim, I decided to enroll in a web design & development certificate program, and my first class was an intro to HTML/CSS. After building my first webpage, I was hooked, and there was no turning back. I loved both the creative and problem-solving aspect that went into writing code. I am a constant learner and love the ever-changing tech world and being able to learn new things continually.” —LeeAnn Kinney, Girl Develop It Outreach and Special Initiatives Director

4. “I decided I wanted to learn how to code after working as a designer on a number of projects. I was frustrated that I had to send of my designs to someone else to actually become real, instead of being able to bring my designs to life myself. I remember the moment I started loving code was during one of the exercises in (now old) JavaScript course at Skillcrush where I was supposed to build a model that opened when a button was clicked. It was frustrating and I kept getting it wrong, but I remember finally getting it to work exactly like I planned—and that feeling is what makes me love coding. That same feeling is still there two years later, the moment whatever project I am building works for the first time.” —Will King, Skillcrush Front-End Developer and Skillcrush Alum

5. “I fell in love with coding back in the Geocities days! I had various sites for various reasons (something that continues to be true). I started to dabble with editing my site. From there it went to blogging on WordPress and wanting to configure my theme. I learned so much so fast, and design and development eventually became my official career!” —Jennifer Coyle, Web Designer and Developer and Skillcrush Alum

6. “I came to love coding through communities like Girl Develop It and Skillcrush. Growing up, I lived on the internet. I dabbled with editing css for blog themes here and there, and at the time, had no idea that what I was doing was called coding and that people did it as a profession. Years later, I was working in academia and feeling pretty unfulfilled with my job and career path. I knew I wanted to do more, gain skills and training to put me at the forefront of helping people and do meaningful work. I looked into learning how to code and signed myself up for a couple online tutorials and attended a meetup that week. I haven’t looked back since.” —Shanise Barona, Girl Develop It Administrative Coordinator

7. “I’ve been coding off and on for a long time, but the ‘aha’ moment hit me when my mom took a coding course in college and asked me to help her with a project. Then I realized ‘Wow, I’m really good at this’ and the rest is history!” —Sarah Williams, Web Developer and Skillcrush Alum

8. “In 2007 when MySpace was a thing, I did a few page designs for my friends. Soon after, I was receiving requests from individuals and artists worldwide to work on more pages. The moment I learnt how to use “position: absolute”, I knew what I wanted to do in life. So, I interned at a web agency and later transitioned to working as a full-time developer!” —Kailan Wyatt, Skillcrush Back-End Developer

9. “When I was in 7th grade, I built a website with classmates as part of a student Web challenge. Our team’s website won us a trip to Disneyland! It was really neat to me as a kid to know that something I made could be shared with people all over the world. In high school, I also tinkered as a hobby, teaching myself HTML to customize my LiveJournal and MySpace. Some friends and I had a website with cartoons and crafts and Photoshop-filtered photos to look like they were from the 70s — way before Instagram existed. That site had a large community following and turned into a really fun business.

After college, I found out about Girl Develop It, and signed up for the very first class GDI hosted in Philadelphia. In it, I loved learning HTML and CSS for the first time in a classroom setting. I picked it up quick, but found myself super inspired by the community that formed around the classes. I started volunteering, organizing classes, and then became the local chapter leader. Fast forward a few years, and I get to work for GDI full-time!” —Corinne Warnshuis, Girl Develop It Executive Director

10. “I dabbled in HTML/CSS back in the Geocities days, and had a ton of fun with it. Then life took me in a very different direction, and I made my way back to web development sort of accidentally, when I wanted to edit my own WordPress site several years later. I found that I loved playing with code again and eventually spent all my free time learning more about WordPress as well as dabbling in other platforms/languages. I soon realized that this is all I wanted to spend my working hours doing, so I gradually made it into a full time career and I couldn’t be happier!”—Ann Cascarano, Skillcrush WordPress Instructor and Skillcrush Alum

11. “I was a really dorky “horse girl” as a kid, and so played a really dorky horse game (Horseland). I learned to customize personal page theres with HTML/CSS elements, so I would charge others for that service. An entrepreneurial coder was born!” —Kelsey Fecho, Freelance Web Developer and Skillcrush Alum

12. “I fell in love with tech while working in nonprofit communications. As my organization transitioned from an ancient and stagnant website to a user-friendly CMS, I realized the tremendous power and autonomy that thoughtful and well-made technology presents to its users. And later when I led client partnerships at a web agency, I realized that my ability to communicate from both the nonprofit and web development perspectives was a valuable skill. I was excited by my ability to create a bridge between my team’s developers and our clients, and to impact the success of the final product through shared understanding.” —Rachel Messeck, Girl Develop It Chapter Program Manager

If you’re ready to fall in love with coding and start your own career in tech, join us for a free webinar this Valentines Day!

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Make a plan for learning the tech skills you need to land a new job with this 60+ page FREE ebook!

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