Dave Powers

I create things with words and/or code.

Launch Academy or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Become a Web Developer

Growing up, I had always been fascinated by what could be accomplished with programming. I would play around with video game cheat cartridges or WYSIWYG web site builders, poking around the (poorly-generated) code. At the time, I just thought it was cool to try to do things that the software wasn’t necessarily designed to do.

Even without knowing how to achieve it, I eagerly wanted to make the transition from “it would be cool if this product did this” to “I am going to make this product do this.” I wanted to be the person that could build the functionality I had in mind, and not just wish for something better.

Over the years, I made some attempts at going down the coding path. While in school, I took some computer science courses where we learned and used Java. While I enjoyed solving problems and seeing my programs compile and run, I was intimidated as certain aspects of learning the language became more difficult. I became discouraged when I didn’t seem to grasp concepts as quickly as other classmates. One scare came with my first file I/O program, where a bug lead to my program eating up all of my free hard drive space.

A number of factors contributed to me not fully pursuing computer science, but I think a large one was the fear of failing. I didn’t fully commit myself, and used the first signs of struggling as an excuse to convince myself that programming was not for me.

Since then, the idea of being a programmer has not left my mind. I was considering my options, and decided I would teach myself to code, mostly using online sites and resources. During this process, I learned about the (fairly new) concept of “coding bootcamps”. Basically, they are an intensive course over a certain number of weeks that will teach you the skills needed to become a software developer.

The bootcamp model appealed to me especially because it would force me to fully commit to the goal of learning to program, and would also provide me with the support of like-minded students for when things get tough. Both of these benefits should help to break down the barriers I’ve faced in the past.

My ultimate decision lead me to join Launch Academy, which I’ll be attending soon in order to take the next step toward becoming a web developer. I’m fully-committed, and ready to face any challenges along the way.