Efienemokwu James
5 min readDec 15, 2020

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THE JOURNEY OF A SOFTWARE DEVELOPER BEGINS WITH A “HELLO WORLD”

MY PERSONAL LESSONS ABOUT CODING

A lot can happen in 6 months; like how I can go from being completely clueless about coding to bringing landing pages to life off the top of my head.

Here’s a little about myself: my name is James Efienemokwu and I’m a 21-year-old self-taught aspiring web developer. I am a final year undergraduate of biochemistry in the University of Lagos. You may ask what the correlation is between that last statement and web development,……...well nothing, at least not yet.

I started learning how to code exactly 6 months ago today, on the 15th of June 2020 when I stumbled on the Mimo app while practicing my French lessons on Duolingo. I had always had interests in web development, the fanciness of catchy websites and their interactivity, but the problem was I always assumed development & programming were for the select few. This is a dangerous way of thinking… So herein lies the dilemma: “how do I go about becoming a web developer?” Well, the answer is quite simple, 'you have to want to'. The hardest part in beginning any new endeavor, is taking the first step. Once you are able to do that, simply put forward the next one… and so on.

My interests in the internet and how it works didn’t just spring to life from nothing, I have always been curious about tech and fascinated by computers since my childhood and become more and more passionate about its advancements happening all around me. This fascination came to reality during the recent coronavirus pandemic lockdown and it’s been forward ever since. I signed up for HTML, CSS and JavaScript courses on Freecodecamp and Codecademy. I also complimented it with some YouTube videos. And joined my University’s Developers student club.

I really felt I should share a few things I have learned during this journey. I believe it will be of great insight to some people.

This brings me to the main point of this article — what I have learned.

5 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED SO FAR

Master the Basics

“What you’ll learn here is still what you’ll do later on, but in more complex variations” This is true both in introductory biochemistry and in the earlier stages of programming. Most frameworks and libraries such as Bootstrap, React and Vue are dependent on foundational knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The importance of being comfortable with these basics cannot be overemphasized because they’re central to frontend development. Even though I strongly believe nobody can claim one hundred percent knowledge of these three languages, but, a high degree of dexterity is required.

Nobody knows it all

The beautiful thing about this discipline, is that no one knows it all. We are all on this path together, although some are a little further up ahead. Learning has no end, it goes on forever! If you begin this journey with hopes of reaching the “end,” you have missed the point entirely. “What’s the whole point of this journey?” you might ask. Well the point of the journey is itself. The beautiful thing about it is, you are always progressing, becoming stronger, figuring out something new with each passing day. As you begin your journey, you will come upon many others who have chosen this path with you.

Always be gracious, kind, and helpful, and always remember we are in this together. This is not a journey of solitude, because nobody is an island of knowledge.

Create as much as you consume

I was speaking to one of my designer friends, Eronss, and he said to me “You could keep doing the same thing every time and you’re not actually growing or you could just keep consuming, like reading for an exam, knowing the answer but never going to write the exam” and it stuck with me.

Much like everything else in life, there has to be a fine balance, in this case between theory and practice. In a field as technical as programming, to learn how to code, you have to work on actual projects (no matter how simple or insignificant it may seem), consistently, and not just reading tutorials and following online courses which only teaches the basics.

Honestly It always gives me some sort of joy and fulfilment building stuff from scratch, even if it’s just a button.

Obsession with Perfection is a problem

I learned that aiming for perfection can lead to stagnation or a complete lack of progress. I found out that progress no matter how little is more important than perfection. As long as I am getting better than what I did before, constantly challenging and outdoing myself, then I am on the right track. You are never going to build the perfect website in just one trial; for perfection is an infinite pursuit.

Sometimes, you just have to adopt Nike's motto and 'Just do it!'.

Purpose is the biggest drive

Any idea needs to have a drive, a motivation, a purpose, something that won’t let you give up.

This drive has come in handy a lot of times when I feel uninspired to learn new stuff. Sometimes I just wake up in the morning feeling exhausted at the idea of learning totally new concepts and practicing, coupled with the frustrations of being a Nigerian living in Nigeria such as electricity and mobile data.

Then I remember the bigger picture and the entire reason why I embarked on this journey in the first place and I keep it moving.

Thank you and let’s Keep Creating Magic.

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Efienemokwu James

Frontend enginer, UI enthusiast, Technical support, Smart contract developer