#100DaysOfCode: Challenge Accepted pt.1

50 days ago I started the #100DaysOfCode challenge. Many developers around the world took on this challenge as well. The goal is to code for 100 days in a row, excluding the code you produce at work and tutorials.

I have been a Rails developer for about 3 years and recently became a certified Ruby programmer. For awhile, I felt pretty comfortable developing Rails applications. This was a red flag for me. It made me realize, even though I had many years of experience and certifications, I needed to increase my value as a developer. I stumbled upon this challenge and without excuses, said to myself:

If you have a full-time job as a developer you might think:

“Well, I’ve been coding every day since the beginning of time”.

That’s a valid point. However, before you brush off the challenge, let me point out some things I’ve learned during my experience. Whether you are a beginner or jedi programmer, I’m sure they will help and inspire you.

First, the habit makes all the difference.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. — Aristotle







Just like any sport or art discipline, if you want to master what you do you have to practice. It is a must. This challenge is all about practicing — getting your hands dirty with code. When I became a better programmer, I stopped doing tutorials and courses. They may be good, but in the end, they don’t give you the chance to actually program an application from scratch or at least struggle with errors for a while. Instead, I started coding every day for projects from FreeCodeCamp. I also brought to life personal open-source projects that I buried a long time ago. Developing the habit of programming every day added quality to my day-to-day code routine.

Second, you have to take your ideas seriously. 

Almost everyone has heard:

“You should start contributing to open-source projects to get out there as a developer”.

I say, why not start your own open-source project?

A year ago, I was at the gym and came up with a solid idea for a web tool. I spent ten minutes jogging with ideas of how to do it running through my brain. Months passed by. I buried it away.

My point is if you are wondering: “What the heck will I code during this challenge?”. You should revive your ideas. If you commit to code whatever you imagine, it will take shape and you will be proud of what you are creating. I revived that web tool idea I came up with at the gym during this challenge. Now it has shape, it’s tangible, it’s in progress. It’s serious!

Third, it is important to remember that you will get stuck.

Coding is not an easy task. It’s not a magic land where you write things on a terminal and after a week you have a successful start-up going on. It demands resilienceWriting code for 100 days in a row will mean that there will be days that you will accomplish absolutely nothing. That’s OK. If you get stuck, keep calm. Do whatever you can to understand the bug or error. Ask for help.

Go to sleep and know the next day it will be better.

A day with no commits or deploys does not mean that you didn’t code at all. It just means that you are actually working on it and you are striving for progress and improvement. Bugs are just part of the journey, eat them!

The key to success in #100DaysofCode: 

The best way to stay committed and succeed on this challenge is to share your progress. Making yourself accountable to the challenge will give you enough motivation to continue. I have been tweeting my progress since Day 1 and it has been engaging and exciting. I have been able to interact with programmers from other countries. There is a significant community taking this challenge and it’s great to see a lot of “Day 1:” tweets. Sharing your progress and letting others know what you are working on is key. It will bring you all the support and motivation you need. It will make you chose an hour of coding instead of catching up with the latest Netflix show. 

I encourage you to join the #100DaysCodeChallenge yourself and reach out to me or tweet your progress. We can encourage each other and follow each other’s journey! Follow me on medium and stay tuned for my next post to see my progress. 

Happy coding!! 

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Victor Guzman

Victor Guzman is a computing engineer who has embraced the benefits of Agile practices to build high-quality software. Formerly, he was a Ruby on Rails engineer and has since transitioned into the role of a Scrum Master at Gorilla Logic.

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