The Best Time To Plant A Tree

By Binh Nguyen (Coding Dojo’s October 7th, 2013 Class)

I don’t remember the exact moment or date when I decided that I wanted to learn how to program, but I do know it was roughly two years ago in Fall of 2011 that I decided to look into coding/programming bootcamps. There wasn’t a precise revelation or “Aha!” moment, but a gradual disgust with not being able to implement the ideas I had for the web, no matter how trivial or preposterous (i.e. all my ideas). I continued to work for the next year, while applying to a bootcamp every now and then, unsuccessfully applying to Dev Bootcamp and General Assembly SF. Coding Dojo was next on my list. It wasn’t my “third-choice” per se, just the next one I had heard about, as it hadn’t been running for more than a year.

And that is where I am now: five weeks in at Coding Dojo (or as we students affectionally refer to it: The Dojo, but we really don’t) in Mountain View, CA. To some, reading about and writing code for 10-12 hours a day, might seem tedious but I have come to enjoy it more than just about any formal education I’ve ever had (to clarify, I don’t blame my university, I blame myself for not being able to find anything that seriously interested me). I am happy to be in the Bay Area. I am happy to be around like-minded individuals who are looking for ways to better themselves. I chose to join the Coding Dojo because I wanted to start over. I had been feeling that I was squandering a gift. Not because I consider myself brilliant or something. I do not and I am not. But I am of (reasonably) sound mind, and I do consider that a gift itself, one which I had been wasting by missing a passion or at least a strong interest to focus on.

Though I am still very new to this world, I think and hope I have found that passion in web design/development and programming. I may not be great at it (yet) but I certainly look forward to going to Coding Dojo every day (despite having to commute 4+ hours a day). My typical M.O. is to beat myself up over every terrible decision I’ve ever made in my life (a great M.O., I know) and one of these decisions I dwell on the most is not learning programming earlier in my life. I try not to get too much motivation from random quotes I read on the Internet, but ever since I read this one I’ve been more forgiving of myself (I’m always skeptical about whether quotes like these are actually ancient Chinese proverbs, but I suppose that’s not important):

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
-Chinese Proverb

I wish I had started programming years ago. Perhaps even a decade ago. But I didn’t. So I’m starting now.

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