About: Random Shit I Built

If you've come this far, I most likely don't need to convince you why programming is something you should know. But since I like to brag, here's just a taste of the things I've built over the last couple of years since I started programming.

The first web project I built was some lame-ass social network. One day while in college, I decided to build what I called at the time "an activity-based social network." It was supposed to be like Facebook but with the intent of having people meet in-person and do stuff rather than sit on their computer at home and just stalk cute boys. Well, the idea was shitty. The implementation was pretty bad too. But I could swear this was the greatest idea on Earth and I promised myself I'd build it. So I taught myself (learned?) PHP, some JS and MySQL and hacked together a site that students on my campus could sign up to. And they did. People did sign up to it. And then they didn't. Either way, that was such a strong experience I'd had that I couldn't resist and explore a little more of this whole web development thing.

So I continued exploring and built an automated stock trading application. This was also in PHP and it made use of the TradeKing API (a brokerage firm). This wasn't the niftiest software out there either. It was shittily written, but it actually did work to some extent, which caused me to rewrite it two years later (it was painful and made me swear I'll never half-ass a program anymore. Right.)

What else have I built over the last couple of years?

And this is just a partial list of how programming has simply made my life more efficient. And it doesn't even include any of the stuff I built for employers throughout the years, which certainly paid for my extravagant lifestyle (not really). Either way, any time I need to do something with more heavy lifting involved, I just open the Terminal and do it. Have you ever tried to find a file that has certain text in it -- for example, a phone number -- from the GUI? It's excruciating: it has buttons and loading animations, and it slows everything down, and it takes forever, and then it doesn't even find anything. So instead, I use the Terminal where it's quick as lightning to find whatever I need.

In our generation, knowing how to code, even just basic stuff, is not a profession, but rather a skillset that enriches almost all disciplines. You wanna be an artist? Cool! You'll still wanna have a site showcasing your work someday. Wanna be a porn star? Imagine if you knew how to code your own cam site and thus take 100% of your profits. It doesn't matter what it is, coding is just the tool and you need to have it.

Now that you've got a taste, the best way to continue from here is to find something you wanna build and just do it!

Let me give you an example that may be more relevant to you: Your name is Keisha, you work at a hair salon and you want to be able to automate the appointment reminders you spend so much time sending your customers. Since you use Google Calender to keep track of the appointments, you can use its API and write an application that checks for upcoming appointments every hour or so. If an appointment is coming up in the next day, AND a reminder hasn't been sent yet, your application connects to the Twillio API and sends the customer a text message with a friendly reminder.

This sounds like so much work. I'm sure of it. But think of all the time it'll save you once you start using an application like this. So it might be hard at first, but every time you get stuck, just google your question. To start, you can even copy-paste the error message you will get verbatim. Later, you'll learn how to debug it yourself. This is probably the best time investment you can make.

With time it'll get easier for you to build such applications, you'll get to a point where it's your second nature. You'll start seeing the world as full of opportunities to automate things and make them more efficient, where you, the human, only have to work on things that computers can't do (yet). You'll have more time for brainstorming, thinking before executing, being creative, making art. You'll have more time to make this world a better place *tearing up*.

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