Wow. As of yesterday I have completed my goal of coding at least one hour a day for 365 days straight. I’ve coded on busses, in bed (under covers while my family slept), on a trans continental flight and in a rock climbing gym. Mostly though, I coded at my kitchen table: doing tutorials and projects, all of the Launch Academy curriculum and recently some actual paid software development. Coding every day for a year has taught me some valuable things.
What did I learn?
Setting a big goal like this a year ago felt hard to understand and difficult to achieve. I’m glad I did it though. Having a big audacious goal far out in the future gave me something to always be striving towards and eliminated one side of the question of “am I doing enough?” It taught me the value of consistently doing something and it forced me to make coding a priority. Squeezing an hour of anything in was almost impossible on many days, but I never wanted to break my streak. It taught me that if you want to get something done by the end of the day it is much easier if you finish it early. It helped get (and keep) my head in the world of software development, and that really smoothed my entry into Launch Academy.
The most interesting thing that my year of code taught me is that if you break it down into small enough pieces it’s actually pretty simple to finish. Waking up every day and knowing that I needed to study for at least one hour felt achievable most days, and after a while you feel like you have the wind at your back because you’ve done it for so long. Having a small, manageable step that simply needed to be repeated 365 times was only overwhelming if I looked at the big picture – it was fine if I kept my gaze low and focused on today. I think that strategy can apply at many levels of software development as well – understanding a new codebase and building a new feature are both examples where starting small and working your way up are essentially the only way to go.
What will I do next?
Keep coding, but relax the pressure to do it every day. Now that I have a job (!) I need to balance my quest for self education with making sure I’m on a sustainable pace. I’m already feeling like a few more months without any breaks might drain some of the enjoyment out of writing code. I want to focus my efforts on a few projects / tutorials and work through them at a comfortable pace.
I’m going to probably switch to a different themed blog. Once I’m 10 years into my career it will be odd to have myyearofcode still be my domain. That’s one long year! I’m still undecided on what that will be called or contain.
I’m definitely going to make some more long term goals. Maybe contributing to open source, or making an online service that people find useful. Definitely getting a lot better at my job, and finding lessons and subjects along the way that other people might benefit from me documenting.
Note: I skipped one day in the middle of my year due to a family emergency. I don’t regret it for a second. I also ended up doing an extra ten days because I somehow got it in my head that I started on the 15th, not the 2nd. I do regret that bad fact checking a little!