Learn by doing

It has become clear to me that the best way to learn something new is by getting your hands dirty and working on something. You can follow tutorials and watch someone else code a project, and follow along. You will definitely learn concepts, but the best way to learn this stuff is by tackling something on your own.  What kind of project should I build? You might ask.

I guarantee there is something that you have always thought would be a cool app or idea…even if it is something really small and trivial. Perhaps you just want a basic blog…which is what I am working on with FlaskCasts.

Today I worked out some login functionality using some of the concepts and methodology I picked up from a Udemy course I just took. This kept me from having to use some sort of extension that may provide way more functionality than I need. This also forced me to get my hands dirty and work out little bugs in the code as they came up.

Little bugs can be very frustrating and can somethings be disheartening. You should keep this in mind, from my experience 99% of the bugs you spend a ton of time on are so trivial that when you find them you feel stupid. One thing is for certain, you will likely remember that mistake going forward and will develop your code in such that you will not make the same mistake again. This might be new habits, or a change in the way you think about things….which the latter is most powerful.

For instance today I kept getting a 404 error on my login form…I couldn’t find the reason for the error…I realized that flasks request.form[‘variable’] is looking for the name=”variable” attribute in the form…not id=”variable”….stupid mistake, but I learned something new and will remember this going forward.  A lot of times it’s just small stuff like this that you learn from and in the end will make you a better developer.

The one thing…

Had a long drive for work today. I usually listen to a lot of different podcasts on various topics. Lately my favorites are “Talk Python to Me” and the like… I listened “The SaaS podcast” because one of my goals from learning to code in Python is to develop a product, release it, and start earning supplemental income. Podcasts are great because not only will you learn things and absorb a lot of data, you find inspiration. The host kept talking about the book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. Since I had 3 credits on Audible, I decided, why not! So far it is a GREAT book.

The main idea is to pick 1 thing, and focus on it with everything you have. Build habits by struggling with the difficulties of doing that 1 thing for 66 days on average and it becomes easy. So, I asked myself. What is the one thing that I can do today that will propel me toward my goal of becoming a successful freelancer and entrepreneur? The answer that came to mind is, Blog about coding and code. Talk about the things I am learning in a blog post and share with the world. Set aside some time to document, almost in a diary like format the things that I am working on and learning.

This will propel me in my coding career because the habit of blogging will force me to find things to write about. The process of finding things to write about will help me to learn new concepts and force me to produce code to share. Even on days when my normal job has sucked out all of my energy and I just don’t have it in me to write a line of code, I can talk about ways to find inspiration. I can talk about the feeling that comes from building something that works and solves a problem for someone. I can think about how satisfying it is to finally solve a bug in my code.

So, this is my blog. I am going to update this site regularly with information that will build confidence and keep me on track to success. I plan to work on some tutorials tomorrow and will write about my thoughts.

Welcome to my blog!

This blog was inspired by https://dbader.org/, so I wanted to first and foremost give a shout-out and thanks.

About Me…

Well, I am a proud father and happy husband. I have 3 children, 2 dogs, several goldfish and a wonderful wife. I work professionally as a registered nurse case manager in the workers compensation field. I do love my job, but nursing isn’t what I set out to do…

In the mid 90’s my mother bought our first computer, a Tandy Sensation from Radio Shack….

This pretty much changed my life. I was able to tinker around on this computer at a young age 12-14 years old. I was blown away. Before this I used to try and make large outdoor antennas that could pick up radio stations from surrounding larger cities (I lived in a small rural town in the middle of nowhere). So having access to the internet, via dialup connection…was a game changer. I did in fact get in trouble as a kid because my cousin and I were using dial-up to connect to AOL and chat…the number was long distance so we ran up a very large phone bill.

I promise, as I do this I will get better at writing...I realize I suck right now.

As time went on I learned about ZDTV on our large c-band satellite system.

I literally grew up watching Leo and Kate. I learned how to mess around with Linux distros. I think my favorite around that time was Mandrake Linux, or Fedora.I went to college and a guy down the hall in my dorm built PC’s so, he helped me build my first one.

I then decided computer science was for me…this was late 90s early 2k’s. I made it about 2 years into my degree. I didn’t mention this before, but I was into music and played in a band. I actually set up a local music scene page called appalcore.org that does not exist today. I used that page as an outlet for my development interests. It was mostly PHP based stuff…but was fun to do.

I ultimately got scared of the “dot com bubble” and that I would not find a job…especially if I wanted to stay in my small rural town. So I switched majors to Nursing, having a lot of voices in my ear telling me to go into Health-care. In the meantime, I did start a web agency with a friend and we did a lot of early web-standards stuff. It was hard because we mostly pandered to our local market and being in a rural area…not really anyone gave a shit. There were a couple of real estate agencies and a restaurant or 2. I built a pretty big codeigniter project and tried to implement some early MVC stuff…but the code kind of sucked… The agency disbanded and I went on to get my nursing degree.

Fast forward 10 years or so…

I realize now that time goes by much faster than I ever did as a kid. A lot of my mistakes were thinking that something would take too long to complete…so I wouldn’t try. I look back now and a year literally seems like a day…

I have decided that life is too short not to follow what you are passionate about. Trying to make career choices based on what other people think, or what a local market dictates (there is no such thing as a local market in this day and age).

So this blog is dedicated to my rebirth as a developer. I started out on this path, and I wandered off. It seemed impossible for a while that I could ever get back onto this path. Yet, here I am. I am going to use this blog as a medium for my experiences and what I am learning, and doing. Some things may be more “personal”, and less informative. I am also really into esoteric shit… so you might get some of that from time to time. I had to get this in before 8/21/17…

Python is the language of choice. I had intended this blog to be hand coded in python, and actually started on the code using Flask, MongoDB… but it is imperative this be released on/before 8/21/17 for metaphysical reasons. New moons are powerful for new ventures….this one specifically. I couldn’t quite meet the deadline, and I actually had the domain and a hosting account ready to go…so I went with a basic wordpress for now.

The project I am going to produce based on the above code is FlaskCasts, www.flaskcasts.com. This is going to be a screencast/vlog/blog type situation. I am going to use this to put out videos on general web development issues and hopefully gain some traction in the community.

Hit me up via email: me@eddiegrey.com


Bear with me...I'll get better at writing.