“The programmer works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination.”

Three years ago, I graduated from Princeton University with a degree in English Literature and no career plans to speak of. My friends and classmates seemed to have all figured out their post-graduation plans: graduate or law school, investment banking, traveling the world. They would cheerily ask me where I was headed, and I would be too embarrassed to tell them what I was–or rather wasn’t–doing.

Today, I’m what you might call a software engineer.

Nowadays, when I tell people that I’m “what you might call a software engineer”, there’s a universal refrain:

“But you didn’t know anything about coding!”

I get that a lot–from family, friends, old classmates–and it’s true, I didn’t know much about coding. I didn’t know what an endpoint, API, or SDK was. I certainly didn’t know what a “stack” was.

But you can always learn.

I’ve learned a lot in the past year as a software engineer at Switch, from small eccentricities:

to things that I really should know…

  • inheriting, subclassing, and extending all mean the same thing
  • [NSNumber numberWithBool:NO] evaluates to true
  • == isn’t the same as is

to important life lessons

  • You can never clean, quit, and rebuild XCode enough times. Clean, quit, rebuild. Clean, quit, rebuild.
  • The more I learn, the more I learn that I have more to learn

I’ve also learned that when you’re learning something new, it’s all too easy to fall into these patterns:

  1. thinking that you are not the type of person to program dance cook learn
  2. forgetting to remember what you learned
  3. forgetting to share what you learned with the many others on the journey with you

Learning should be a natural state of being.

Learning should not get in the way of thinking about it.

Learning should be shared, like a smile, or a print statement to the world.

So this blog will be mostly about getting from point A to point B. There are many point B’s in our lives, if we’re doing it right. I would love to share with you all what I discovered, and will discover, along the way.

Do share with me, too–I would love to hear from you.