The Not-So-Glorious Road From “Idea” to “Reality”

I’ve spent the majority of my free time today learning how code. I have accepted the fact that, unless I learn to code, working in excel is very limited in functionality. There’s too many functions I want my idea to have, and not anywhere close to the amount of functionality in excel, specifically based around contingencies. For those who also find themselves in a similar situation, here was my basic progression:

  1. I have an idea.
  2. This idea needs a dynamic interface to support it.
  3. Oh yeah, that means I need an app.
  4. I have an iPhone, but my computer is Windows OS.
  5. I have no desire to buy a Mac, nor do I want to rent a virtual one.
  6. I’ll likely go back to an Android phone, and if not, I’ll have a friend who has one.
  7. I’m going to make my app for Android first.

My next step was to find out what exactly I needed to make an Android app. It was hard to avoid reading stuff that was a lot further down the line (apparently Google play is not good if you’re a small publisher). But here’s what I found:

  1. Java is basically industry standard for programming apps. Or has been at least.
  2. There are a million places to learn Java.
  3. Udemy and University of Helsinki both offer Java courses.
  4. Someone gave a link to the Udemy course first.
  5. Looks like I’ll start with Udemy.

From what I understood upon further reading, the University course for Java was actually free. The one on Udemy was only like $10 though, so I didn’t feel too terrible about that (fun side note: Udemy basically claims to always have “sales”, however, those sales are actually the normal prices). It looks like both are great options. If I end up lacking the necessary confidence, I’ll go ahead and do the Helsinki course as well. Though, I don’t know if my Swedish friend will ever forgive me (I’m sorry Sam).

But, once again, as I began this Udemy course that I spent my hard-earned $10 on, I came upon EVEN MORE information. As far as coding languages go, there’s a new kid on the block making quite a wave. A new language by the name of Kotlin is becoming quite popular in the industry. From what my limited understand of coding will let me understand, it’s basically a mix of short-hand / more efficient Java. It uses the same or similar syntax (style of writing code) but does it with far fewer lines. But if there’s anything I’ve learned as a Windows user: The more complicated system is often more customizable, though more riddled with bugs due to increased possibilities. However, customization is what I’m after! What I’m building needs to be able to handle likely millions of potential iterations (sounds like a lot, but when you calculate potential combinations the number actually increases quickly). So, in my current ignorance and lack of ability to parse through the information, I decided to stick with Java with the goal of learning Kotlin shortly thereafter, especially given that if I ever wanted a job coding stuff then it would be beneficial to learn multiple languages anyways (and if I move to Washington, I can be one of the cool tech kids).

I’m currently 24% through the first class I bought with (watching at 1x speed) 20 hours and 46 minutes left to go. Fortunately, I watch at 1.25x speed, leaving me around 16 hours and 38 minutes of pure instructional video! Granted, I’m sure the exercises themselves will take up a substantial amount of time, so I’m probably more around 25 hours of work to go. And this is all just getting me ready to even begin starting my project which will likely be thousands of hours.

So that’s where I’m at today. Hopefully putting a dent in the work that is to come. Also, another side note: there’s lots of places to teach yourself how to code for free online. The biggest issue I have as a person though is getting frustrated looking for resources when I don’t know what to be looking for. Thus, I chose to spend money on a class that gives me structure. I was a solid student, and the classroom environment of coursework and clear progression has always been to my benefit. I hope that for people like me, however, this has been helpful! Leave a comment if you have any questions about how I found out what to do or even if you want recommendations on where/how to start. Also, at the time I’m writing this, I’m pretty sure my turkey burgers are overcooked now.

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