I grew up in a middle class family where my two parents worked in a hospital. My mother was a nurse while my father was a clinical officer. They both had day and night shifts such that there are time one of them would be under the care of none parent during the night. I remember that we hardly got to have family fan when the two parents were around. The situation worsened when my dad considered taking a part-time job in a private clinic, such that he would even be out of the house in the first few hours of the night during his off night. This made my sisters and I to miss our parents and to depend on a nanny or family members when we needed someone to stand in our parents’ position. I always felt jealous of my neighbor’s kids whose parents used to work from the house. This made me investigate on their professionals and I realized that the two parents were computer programmers. The desire to have a similar family time as that of my neighbor made me to develop a great desire to learn computer programming as part of my careers. This paper gives a narration about my two weeks journey towards completing my first very important computer program project as a self-motivated learner depending on YouTube and friends to accomplish my dream. The narrates on how the learning started, how I progressed to a level of taking the first project, and how I depended on my neighbors and friends to enhance my efficiency in computer applications development.
My desire to study computer programming was initiated by my desire to have great family time with my parents who were always preoccupied by their career. My neighbors on the contrary always had their parents at their disposal, with organized regular family time where they could all play at their backyard. This made me somehow jealous of them, and made me swear to have a similar professional as their parents to give my children the privilege my neighbors enjoyed while growing up. However, the journey to accomplish my dream was not easy. I was not able to secure a position as a computer programmer upon application. I instead got a chance to study a different course which I could not turn down as my parents highly approved it. As I was sharing with some of my friends on my disappointment for lack of computer programming course enrollment, one of friends advised me to consider using YouTube to fulfill my desire. This sounded quite interesting and I decided to start tight away. However, I did not have enough background on what to watch and how to decide on the right material from what I never needed. While thinking about it, I thought of consulting my neighbor’s parent crossed my mind and I immediately walked out to talked to them. I narrated my desire to them and how I have failed in the enrollment and they agreed to guide me through my learning process. During this unplanned meeting, I got a brief but very informative lecture about computer programming, what it entails, what I need to make a decision in and how I should learn to acquire and perfect the programing language of my choice. When I left their house that afternoon, I felt so informed and ready to learn more in computer programming.
My neighbors gave me a book about object oriented programming with Java specification, claiming that that would be the easiest programming language to learn on my own. I spent good part of the night reading the book. I realized that it was not easy and a lot of determination was needed. However, I considered taking it just like learning any other new language and I decided to put all my effort into it until I understood what it was all about. I read the book for about three days, trying to grasp the object oriented programming and design concept. In the fourth day, I visited my neighbor with my laptop, ready to install the application platform needed for real thing. My neighbor provided me with the disc containing the application and guided me in installing it. When the installation was successful, he took me through the process of writing my first program. According to him, this was supposed to help me familiarize myself with the application. I thus entered into a new phase where I would try different written programs in my application platform as a way of familiarizing myself with the new application.
I took to YouTube to get more tips on how to do this. I viewed a presentation on how to create a new simple program like what my neighbor had done. Although it seemed simple, it was not simple to grasp all the language syntax to make it run. I took sometimes trying, before I eventually managed to see the anticipated results. This was so encouraging and exciting. It gave me extra desire to know more and read even further. As I continued in my programming journey, my neighbor acknowledged my determination and decided to adopt the role of a tutor. He set aside one hour, three days per week for our programming lesson. Unlike other lessons where one would go for lectures, he made it as an appointment to show my progress and for him to clear sections I had difficulties in or to guide me on sections where I was not hitting the point properly as anticipated. My neighbor or my new tutor also developed a habit of giving me practical assignment in every meeting, to be reviewed in the next meeting. The assignments kept advancing in complexity and requirement for about one month where I was given what we both considered as my first mega project.
The project involved creation of a form that would accept data input, do some computation and return the output. The project was like a module of a working sales system. This was not easy. It required me to consolidate all the acquired programming knowledge so far to come up with something concrete. I spent about three days trying to make it work, without making much reference from the book or the internet. Although I managed the best part of the program, I was experienced challenges in some of the programs execution parts, and I had to consult the internet. I eventually managed to have a working module. My tutor was quite pleased by my work and considered integrating me to his current project to ensure that I learn more and handle different levels of program complexity. This marked the beginning of my long side career in computer programming.
Learning new things can be exciting and challenging at the same time. Whatever dominates at the end of the day is determined by individual drive, the kind of the tutor that one has, and the commitment both the tutor and the learner have toward achieving the learning goal. While starting learning programing I was convinced that I would do it alone. However, I encountered problems that pushed me into asking for help. I experienced moments of anxiety and fear while approaching my neighbor for help, without knowing what his reaction would be. The positive outcome demonstrated the importance of facing fears in learning and taking the first step into fulfilling individual dreams despite of the situation. Today I am proud to say that my initial step toward learning programming has paid off and I anticipate being a great programmer in the future. Although I had a misconception on availability of personal time among programmers, I believe that just like my neighbor, I will manage to practice my self-found career and manage to create enough family time in the future.
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