Learning To Think Differently

How and why did you get started with coding?

I had an eBay store, but my listings never attracted a great deal of attention. I noticed the professional sellers had fancy templates for promoting their products and I came to realize that in order to compete, I’d need to create my own. I went to Codecademy and completed the HTML/CSS and JavaScript tracks and soon had the skills to create my own professional templates. More importantly, I’d uncovered a hidden passion for programming that would go on to shape not only my career, but the rest of my life.

How did you find the time to code?

I’d been working full-time in banking and part of my daily commute consisted of an hours train journey. I began to use this time to complete the courses on Codecademy. I even set up a second account so that I could go over the courses again. I would read books, watch tutorials, write code for fun, anything I could do to improve my knowledge. It could be hard to find the time, but the satisfaction was always worth it.

What were your goals when starting to code and how did you keep motivated?

I’ve always been a big fan of Apple products. Since the launch of the App Store, I began using apps on a daily basis and after starting Codecademy it made me realize that I could build my own apps. I could bring my own ideas to life and maybe help improve the lives of others. I set about using what I’d learned through Codecademy as the basis for learning C, C++ and Objective-C and within a few months I had my first app on the App Store.

What was the most challenging part of learning how to code, and how did you rise above those challenges?

There’s no doubt about it that when starting out, programming can be hard and having no one to ask when you get stuck can make it even harder. I soon came to realize that it’s OK not to understand everything straight away and that the key is to persevere and remain positive.

What advice would you have for folks who are just starting out or thinking of getting started?

There’s no better time than now to be getting into programming, it’s clear that being able to read and write code is going to play an integral part in our future and the future of our children. Don’t just be a consumer of technology, be a creator, programming is about more than having the next hit app, it’s about training your mind and learning to think differently, but most importantly, have fun!

How did you get to where you are now?

After realizing a career in programming was something I wanted to pursue, I wrote to app development companies offering to work on a voluntary basis one day a week. I was offered an interview, which resulted in a full time position at one of the top app development companies in the UK. It came with a sizeable pay cut and a 3-hour drive to the office and back everyday, but I was over the moon.

During this time I was fortunate enough to build apps for some large well-known organizations, along with gaining valuable experience from some of the best developers in the industry. Today I work full-time as the sole iOS Developer for an international betting company, I run my own contracting business and have three apps on the App Store.

My advice for anyone looking for a career in programming would be to put yourself out there, try to make your own opportunities and if you’re passionate about what you do and willing to put in the work required, everything else will fall into place.

Start where Ash started by learning HTML/CSS. Want to share your story? Email us at stories@codecademy.com.