Getting started as a coder in Trinidad and Tobago

What is a coder? A coder writes instructions (or code) for the computer to follow in a language it can understand. Programmer, developer and software engineer are also terms that are used. I use those terms to mean the same thing but there are articles you can Google for that spells out the differences.

My journey as a coder began in secondary school. I started with pseudocode then Basic, Pascal and Visual Basic. I got a perfect score in my CXC SBA and was getting good grades in my computing classes at St. Mary's College. We were fortunate to have a decent computer lab. I recognised the power of tech to make the world a better place and I was having fun and this motivated me to choose tech and coding as a career path.

If you want to become a coder you have to start asking yourself some questions. What are your goals in life? Can becoming a coder help you achieve those goals? Think about finding your ikigai which for me is doing what I love and making a difference. I think everyone should learn some amount of coding. You should at least try coding and learn more as you figure out what you are good at and where your passions are. Coding is about being a problem solver.

There are several pathways to becoming a coder, self taught, bootcamp, short courses, certifications and degree. Don't forget to develop your soft skills and pay attention to self-care. There are many good coding bloggers you can subscribe to and you can also start a coding blog. Check out my youtube video, learning to code - programming tips. Learn to use stack overflow and how to create a minimal reproducible example. Join the Caribbean Developers facebook group. Look out for local hackathons. Join in on 100 days of code. Think about side projects you can work on. Share your code on github. Seek out a mentor.

Be on the lookout for local events, webinars, conferences and courses. Check out this offering from Ministry of Youth Development and National Service - computer science courses. If you miss this one they will probably have it again as it is very popular and they have had it before. Be on the lookout for the launch of the Developer Hub. You can also send them feedback about things you would like for developers. Cariri also has the DIA Innovation Lab.

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