Le Wagon Week 3: Stay Humble, Stay True

In grad school, I once had a professor said that in economics, we have complicated terms to describe everyday phenomenon. The ability to speak this language earns us the big bucks. But if I no longer want my life goal to be about making the big bucks, what do I do with this language? Only three weeks into my coding education, and I am feeling similarly about programming.

None of the logics we learn is that difficult, but there are A LOT of complicated terms. Despite Ruby’s effort to humanise codes, there exists plenty of non-intuitive computer speak. They call computer codes languages for a reason. Thankfully, with four languages under my belt, learning computer speak isn’t too different than say, learning English or French. The process is always 1. Learn the basics, 2. Apply the basics to different contexts – over, and over, AND OVER again.

In week 3, we finished learning the basics of Ruby, and putting the concepts together in object-oriented programming. We learned the MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework, then assembled the pieces of the puzzles together by building a simple food delivery app. In human speak – it means laying out your app into puzzle pieces, where each piece has a specific job, then put them together.

The words have been strung into sentences, and stacked to make paragraphs. It is wildly rewarding to see a program run from lines of codes that I wrote from scratch. Just another experience to prove that nothing is impossible to learn. It simply takes time and effort.

With the sheer amount that we’ve learned, it’s hard to believe we are only 3 weeks in. At the same time, we are 1/3 of the way finished, and have begun to think about ideas for final projects. For me, I naturally wonder about next steps after the camp, and hence raises the existential question of what is my “passion”?

The tech world is a distracting place, filled with so many buzzwords and hot trends. I often feel I’m back in that final semester of grad school, surrounded by eager souls filled with angsts. People all seem to be after the job-du-jour, and you are trying to remember what you’d told the school in you application essay what you’d do with this degree. You can feel it in the air among fellow Wagoners. Everyone is slightly on edge trying to figure out how to put this new skill to good use.

Unlike in grad school, I am no longer under heavy financial pressure, and for the first time in my life can go after what interests me. Amidst various networking talks, I realize the deep reflection necessary for soul-searching and dot-connecting is crucial in order to truly identify that next project, rather than being swept away by the next-big-thing.

And with that, comes my week 3 takeaway: learning a language is good and well, but what do you do with that newfound skill to impact the world, that is the question. Staying grounded is hard, and harder still when people all around are chasing trends. So rather than staying hungry & foolish, I’m finding it increasingly more important to stay humble, and stay true.

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