• DIVER: Leul Mamo
  • NATIVE COUNTRY: Ethiopia
  • CATEGORY: Coder
  • DIVE: General
  • LEVEL: 1
  • REQUIREMENTS: Can code in any one language at a beginner level

When and why did you decide to become a coder in general?

Well, I decided to become a coder at first because I wanted to create a book or library application that served the interest of lawyers in Ethiopia. But I also have an interest in being a mobile developer and building applications in general. In time, I realized–let us simply say the field of law isn’t for me. So, now I have decided to become a coder because with coding I can create and invent things that can impact the world, like the new app we are creating at Break Diving

How long did it take for you to accomplish this dive from the day you decided to pursue it, and why did it take that long?

It took me 1 and a half years to pursue and accomplish this dive. It took me that long for 2 reasons, one being I didn’t know where to start and two, I took coding classes in high school and I totally flunked on the courses so I was a bit nervous about diving into the coding world. I was scared I might fail, or that it (like the law) would end up not being for me.

What do you think is the hardest and easiest part about this dive and level?

Honestly, I think coding is the most difficult and challenging field ever but, I believe it as much rewarding as it is challenging. There is that pleasure and joy when your code works and you have actually built something unique and also there is that moment when you want to bang your head against the wall because your code is full of bugs that seem impossible to squash.

The other thing is that there seems to be arguments in the coding community about which language is better or which OS works better and which editor is suitable and so on and this sometimes intense debate is confusing for a total newbie in the field. So having a mentor or a guide to help you out when you are on a journey of being a self taught developer is key, and Break Diving can help there. 

The easiest thing about coding or the best thing about it is that it is a field that you can completely pursue without having a Computer Science degree or a degree in a related field. You really can become proficient by being self taught and you can learn a lot simply by hands-on practice. Other fields? Not so much. For example, you can’t teach yourself to be a professional doctor, or lawyer; well maybe, but highly unlikely.

So, the easiest thing about coding is it is easy to pursue without a high student loan and so on.

The hardest thing about this dive is that when you start out it seems so complicated but, later on you will realize that those first steps are actually the easiest part of your journey as a coder. And also the most important.

What is your advice for someone who is pursuing this dive and level?

Don’t let fear stop you from diving into the field. You don’t need a computer science degree. I am a law student and only took CS classes in high school here in Ethiopia and so I am not allowed to pursue a CS degree in my country. Yet, I am still on the road to becoming a great developer.

Also, don’t consider it as an easy field: you need to update yourself every day about the new languages, technologies, frameworks and libraries that are available on the market or else your skills will become outdated. As a coder, your skills need updating every day.

How did you prove you met the requirements for this level?

Through my FCC projects, and via staff corroboration with coding co-workers at Break Diving.

Tell us a coding story related to this dive! (At least 5 paragraphs)

Coding and Leul go way back to when I was in high school: At the time, my awareness of coding was quite blurry. It is when I took courses on c++ and java that I ran into the world of coding.

At the time I use to think c++ and java were the only programming languages that existed, and as a result, I didn’t think much about the coding world and never took it seriously. And when I took those courses, which were actually a requirement for graduation, I thought my perception about coding and technology would change and I would be fascinated by this new world of coding. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way, and thanks to the education and school system I ended up despising coding in general.

After 3 years I found myself in law school dealing with another kind of frustration. And the solution to my present frustration (law school) came to be my past frustration (coding). Haha, let me make it clear.

I found that lawyers (including law students) in Ethiopia faced the inconvenience of dealing with scarcity or unavailability of books, law documents and so on. So, an idea flashed in my head: what if I build a library app, where people can access law documents, books and so on for free. They won’t face the inconvenience of dealing with shortage of materials or long waiting lists at the library or bookstore or crowding their homes with lots of papers and hard copies; they could easily get access without any inconvenience of any kind via this awesome app.

And after moments of inspiration, joy and patting myself on the back, it came to me that I needed to know coding and suddenly c++ and java ghosts came back to haunt me haha. Then I just decided to take a shot. “It wouldn’t be that bad” was my comforting statement and it kind of worked. I decided to take another shot and that was 2 years ago.

Well, after the hard decision I made to start coding again, I collected all these tutorials and books online and I absolutely didn’t know what to do at first. And since I was planning to do mobile app development for android, I needed to learn java. After watching some tutorials and googling what I had to do, 95% of articles and tutorials were suggesting I start from frontend. So I got to learn html and css and then javascript in order to get the basics and dive deep into the coding world.

At the time, I thought I could develop the app within a day. I don’t know what made me think that way. I guess I watch too many science fiction movies! When I realized that it would take me a while to learn even the basics, and plus I didn’t have the right tools for coding like a decent laptop (I still don’t but I am deep in the coding world, so no excuses scream the Break Divers!), I decided to find a computer science grad who could help me with the coding part of the job and I would do the business and legal part.

After a year or so I realized that learning how to code would have been easier than finding a person who could help me code, haha funny right?! (I wasn’t aware at the time that you can pay coders online and help code things for you plus even if I was there is no online payment system where I come from). So, I just told myself to forget about everything and I just buried my dreams and started to live a normal life. But, I guess I wasn’t called to live a normal life!

About 4 months later, I somehow found myself surfing the web right upon Break Diving. But first, I did a volunteer call of duty in Maputo, Mozambique where I made a friend who was a computer science  grad. I didn’t mention about my on/off coding issues and I just listened to his story about his love of coding and passions and so on. And Every time we meet he goes on to talk about coding stuff: web, app development and so on. I didn’t want to be rude at the time, but I was feeling like “I didn’t come here for a CS 101 course man”. Then things about computer science and coding started to be clear and so on and he suggested I learn basic coding if I wanted to and directed to me this website called “code.org” where it is mostly for pre k-12 grade levels, and they directed me to other resources as an adult learner. But, I went with the prekg -12 grade because I felt I really needed the basics.

So, code.org is where I first really met html, css and also javascript. And it kind of felt different  and I started doing small things and the little success there made feel like an expert even though deep down I knew that this was just the tip of the iceberg. And through it all, I enjoyed what I was doing and I took it on as a hobby and fell in love so much that I totally forgot that I wanted to build that application for lawyers and law students so long ago, but I wanted to get real experience as a coder.

Well, after couple of months I surfed on to volunteermatch and got the great opportunity to work for Break Diving initially in the marketing department. When I first learned that I was gonna work for a tech company, I was a bit intimidated about potentially working with a place involved in too much advanced coding (well it is a social media company; what did I expect haha). But, the weird thing: after a few days, I felt like I wanted to get involved in this coding stuff and I was motivated by all the coders around me, and I quickly realize that if I was part of the company I needed to know what the heck was going on, right?

So, I wanted to speed up the process along with the quality of learning. Luckily, I was directed to two of the best resources available online: FCC and Codecademy. Within couple of months I was an html and css guy and a little bit of a javascript guy as well, haha, actually making pull requests!

So, I was fortunate enough to deal positively with my initial frustration and fear of joining the coding world after 6 years of on and off desire and frustration. I guess in the end, I was destined to pursue coding. Everything played out accordingly and now here I am in that world.
 
My advice: don’t let fear, and especially fear of failure hold you back from achieving anything. No matter what, if you are destined for something, you can’t get rid of that desire to pursue something, so you will only waste time by allowing fear to hold you back. As you can see, I let fear hold me back and so I wasted 6 good years. By now I would have been an awesome full stack developer if I had just trusted myself more. Or at least a decent one, haha. So, get rid of fear! It only wastes your time

Will you be pursuing the next level?  If so, what is the next level, and what is your plan?  If not, why not?

Yes, I will be pursuing the next level. Absolutely! Now, I have been coding in html and css for a few months now and gaining speed and learning a lot in the last couple of months, especially after I joined this amazing community of supporters here at Break Diving.


And having made this post, and provided adequate evidence to the dive committee, Leul Mamo is now hereby certified by Break Diving, Inc. as: CODER – GENERAL – LEVEL 1.  Congratulations Leul!  Thank you for being an inspiration to others!

The author above wrote this WYSEguidance post as one of the certification requirements to become certified by Break Diving, Inc. for a dive completed. Would you also like to find greater success, happiness, and friendship, and make genuine supportive connections with others around the world pursuing your same dreams? Come join us at www.breakdiving.io and soon your story will be the next one you read about on this site!

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