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Code composer

Jenni
Jennifer Ch'ng
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado

Become a popstar? So 2010. After exploring the music industry, Jenni decided coding was her real passion. The parallels between learning to code and learning to compose don't end here.

1. How did you get started with coding?

In college I took a few C++ courses for my major and enjoyed them, but as I got more involved with songwriting and the YouTube ukulele community, I decided to go into the music industry and didn't think to pursue computer science.

In April of last year, I was doing some light web work for my employer, and I noticed that my work hours began passing more quickly than before...

Writing code again, I realized that web development may actually be my dream job. I recently finished nine months of work at an interactive agency where I used my HTML, CSS and jQuery skills from Codecademy every day. Now I'm moving to Boulder, CO to work at a SaaS startup.

2. How is learning to play an instrument similar to learning to code?

When I learned to play ukulele, I was teaching myself how to play songs I liked and connected to, and this led to me writing my own music. Same with coding. Find a project you like and connect to.

A lot of people think coding is daunting, but I find it really fun and enjoyable. Not only that, there's a great sense of accomplishment when you finish a project. It’s the same feeling I get, when I complete an original song.

3. What advice do you have for someone just beginning their coding career?

It was a scary jump for me. I moved from a full-time position in music to working as an intern and studying in the evenings. But this really accelerated my learning. During the day, I continued to improve my HTML and CSS skills while I worked on the Codecademy JavaScript and jQuery coursework in the evenings. Even after I became a full-time staff developer, I continued to teach myself Python and Ruby outside of work using Codecademy, which helped me land my new job in Boulder. The variety of courses offered on Codecademy has allowed me to get involved in different types of projects.

My advice would be to just get an internship when you've completed a few Codecademy courses. Internships were such a huge part of the learning process for me. They were frustrating at the beginning, still feeling like you don't completely understand everything, but putting what you've learned into real life projects is a core part of the learning process.

5. So... what's next?
Gaining experience in Ruby! I just finished the Codecademy Ruby course, and my job gives me the opportunity to use that Ruby knowledge on the back end while still making use of my front-end skills. The goal is to be a full stack developer.

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Want to follow Jenni's path? Start learning Ruby.