Oliwia Matusik, .NET Developer and our Silesia Organizer shares with us her tips on becoming a programmer.
Please, share with us your professional story and background.
I was a marketer in various companies. My responsibility was to take care of clients and sell them services/products. At one point, I started to feel a lack of progress. I reached the ceiling, and I had nothing more to do, just old boring tasks.
I didn’t immediately want to change the line of business. In the beginning, programming was simply fun, a fascination born from curiosity, ignited by tv shows and books. It was more like black magic, something out of reach, but when I’ve coded for a while it started to feel much less intimidating. Finally, I don’t know how and when I found myself where I am :).
Currently, I work in my regular job, but after hours and during weekends I do projects for my friends, who have their own business.
What were your first steps in IT?
It was nothing spectacular. I typed in Google phrases like “how to program” and I started to read articles and posts. I found a YouTube channel “Pasja informatyki”, made by Mirosław Zelent, where I licked a little bit of C++ language. Generally thanks to videos from that channel, I had the first contact with code. First moments of understanding what is this all about. Then I’ve read a different opinion about this series, but at that time, it helped me so much.
In the beginning, I was jumping between technologies, but when I found .Net, I decided to focus only on this one.
Why I choose .Net when frontend or Java is so popular?
I can design whatever I want: web apps, business desktop programs, mobile apps that work in Android and iOS, even the games! I have thousands of ideas per minute and I don’t like limits, so this technology allows me real freedom.
I can risk a statement that I changed my profession during maternity leave, but it`s not entirely true. I naively believed during pregnancy, that I will have so much time to study because I won’t be working for a while, and I can grow my skills, and I will progress so much during this time in my life. It was quickly verified by reality. And so I spent a year making only minimal progress.
What motivated you to go on?
Perseverance is really essential – but I think it`s important in every activity. Otherwise, if programming wouldn’t be truly satisfying for me, I would leave it after the first issue on my road. Despite all, it can be a very frustrating job.
But there are some people, who helped me.
My best friend Dominik. He always gives me tons of support. He’s been cheering me up since I shared with him my idea that “I want to be a programmer”. He borrowed me books about programming in C++ and gave me a lot of suggestions when I had the first problems of a fledgling coder. Although I have already learned the basics and changed the technology, I can still rely on his support in moments of doubt.
Besides, I was very involved in contributing to Open Source projects and finding a mentor, Weronika (programmer-girl.com). Thanks to her I had the opportunity to join the team of the great initiative DevAdventCalendar.pl! It helped me remove the blockage and start writing my projects from scratch. I am grateful for her because she forces me to think on my own and resolve the issues, based on her guidance.
When did you decide to join Geek Girls Carrots?
It was during one of the conferences. During the afterparty, we started to talk about meetups organized in different cities. When I sadly said that it is not much happening in Silesia, and these meetups relate to technologies with which I am not associated, someone suggested that it might be a good idea for me to organize something myself. This wasn’t a bad idea. I had it in the back of my head for some time.
Otherwise, the conversation with Maciek Korsan pushed me to make it happen, to organize Carrots in Silesia. Knowing myself, I would probably still be considering whether I could manage.
So finally I wrote to you that I am from Silesia, and you are not here yet and that I would like to change it, and so now the first meetup has happened 🙂
What would you advise those who are currently thinking about going into IT?
First of all please, don’t believe in these encouraging slogans from boot camps and other courses! Programming is really hard work, and these few weeks may be enough, but only for learning syntax and general principles. If you have neither the desire or the time for intellectual effort, unfortunately, you can fail.
One of the most important things to learn as soon as possible is how to look for information. At the beginning of your programming road you can stumble and bounce off the walls, but trust me, answers to almost all questions and problems of a beginner can be found in Google, just type the question and click on the first result. The most accurate answers are in English, so it’s better to ask them in English.
I mention this because once you find a job, you will not have a supervisor at your request, whom you can approach with a question – they also have their job to do. So the sooner you will have this skill the better.
What are you planning next?
I am thinking more and more about going to IT studies like I always wanted.
There are still a lot of things that are necessary for me to learn so definitely I will continue to study by myself, using online courses or books. Self-learning gave me colossal progress, so I don`t want to abandon it.
What are your favorite resources?
Udemy is a good source of cheap courses, but if you have the opportunity, invest in a subscription at pluralsight.com – I think this is the best course platform, courses there are at the highest level. Books become outdated very quickly, but those I can call timeless are: “To Understand Programming” by Gynvael Coldwind, “Clean Code” by Robert C. Martin, and if you don`t have mathematics skills at all (because you don’t have to), but you want to, this is great book “Grokking Algorithms: An Illustrated Guide for programmers and other curious people” by Aditya Y. Bhargava. And for people who don’t know how to choose a technology, or maybe wonder if programming is for them, I can recommend “Zawód Programista” by Maciej Aniserowicz. This book probably destroys all the myths and gives the most answers to beginner’s questions.