This is what I found when I opened my email this morning.

Congrats! You’ve been learning with Codecademy for three months. What have you accomplished? What has been challenging along the way?

Three months. Three months since my first line of code. Three months since my first “Hello World”.

I know there’s nothing magical about three months, but I’m struggling to believe it’s only been that long, because so much has happened. I have completely fallen in love with writing code, I have dabbled with so many different languages and started to find my feet with a few. I’ve created web site from scratch and been the most frustrated I’ve ever been, over and over again. But I’ve also never been as happy as I am right now, I’ve never felt this sense of purpose.

In just three months I’ve made the decision to quit my job, to start a new career, to follow this passion. I’ve also learnt quite a few things (other than my still-very-new technical skills). Some of these may be obvious to everyone, but I thought that three months was as good a time as any to start sharing my story.

1. There’s nothing wrong with jumping around when you’re getting started

I’ve read in so many places that newbies should avoid jumping around from language to language. Stick to one. Build something. Learn the foundations and you can learn another syntax later. While this may be true once someone is a little way into their journey, I can’t agree that it’s the best advice for someone just getting started.

In the first month or so of learning I tried out HTML/CSS, Javascript, Python, Ruby, PHP, SQL, C, Swift, Rails, Django, JQuery, Bootstrap, and probably even more. Did I get good at any of them? Of course not! But I did do enough of each that I started to recognise the same patterns that kept reappearing. Rather than being told that there were similarities between languages, I saw them myself. Loops, hashes, arrays, strings, integers, variables – even if they were called something different I found them everywhere. I was able to see how the puzzle pieces fit together between front and back end, what purpose a database had, and how things worked on a broader scale. But most importantly it kept me excited. I had little successes over and over which just motivated me to keep going.

I know that at some point everyone needs to focus on one area to really master it, but that shouldn’t be what’s important in the first few weeks. Complete newbies need passion more than proficiency.

2. Community is key – and it’s online

I live in Brisbane, and while there’s definitely a range of meet-up groups around, the community I’ve found online far surpasses any I’ve found in person (for now, at least). Listening to podcasts, contributing to forums and being active on twitter has made me feel so connected. HReading and listening to stories of people who have gone through and are going through the same journey I am, makes it feel so possible. Having my tweets responded to by Saron Yitbarek, Zed Shaw or Laurence Bradford makes me feel like I’m visible, and not just an anonymous person behind a screen. So talk, tweet, blog, whatever feels right to you – just put your voice out there!

3. There’s a million possibilities

I’m sure this realisation is news to nobody, but it is what makes me jump out of bed every morning ready to put my head down and challenge myself all over.

There are a million ways I could go forward from here. Dozens of options I could choose from to continue learning (various in-person or remote boot camps, uni courses, self-taught courses) and hundreds of things to specialise in. It’s driving me insane that I can’t choose already, but is probably teaching me a lot of patience. I’m taking a deep breath and waiting to see what opportunities next year brings. And in the meantime, there’s always something new to learn…