How I Learned to Code in 6 Months - And Got Into Google

How I Learned to Code in 6 Months - And Got Into Google

What'S up everybody how's it go and just want to do a quick introduction here. Basically, in this video I wanted to share with you the story of how I went from quite literally, never having written a line of code in my life to landing a job as a software engineer at Google in just a little over six months and as you'll See in this video I really tried to be candid and transparent, because I want to give you sort of accurate information. I want to paint a real picture of what happened without leaving out important details, but at the same time, without sort of adding a bunch of useless information, and hopefully this video will be just that me telling you what I did during these six months. So with that, I hope that this video will be insightful, maybe even inspirational or at the very least, interesting and enjoy so I graduated from college in May of 2016 with a major in math in college. I had been sort of all over the place. I was gon na major in visual studies. At one point then I was gon na major in economics, then mathematical economics and I ended up in math. But the point is that when I graduated from college I had never written a single line of code. In my life - and that was largely due to two reasons - the first one is that I had this really bad misconception that if who hadn't been studying coding, since you were a kid or since high school, you couldn't do it in college. Couldn'T do computer science in college? It really annoys me thinking back that I had this misconception, but I did have it. The second reason is that I didn't like it. I had seen other people do some coding and I was just kind of turned off by it and I had dabbled in HTML and CSS for one weekend in college. By the way. I realized that some of you here gon na thank oh, but you said you never wrote the line of code in your life, HTML and CSS. You know. Learning the fundamentals of HTML and CSS is not quite the same thing as you know, learning how to write Python or JavaScript or C. I bet that someone in the comments here is gon na, be like you. You said that you never wrote a single line of code in your life and yet you wrote HTML and CSS. You get the ideas and I just didn't like it. I did not like the the very little amount of HTML CSS I'd done during that one weekend, and so I just had never picked it up very quickly after I graduated from college. I realized that a lot of the things that I wanted to do launch my own business or work in product management and venture capital. All these things required coding skills and I just discovered what coding boot camps were. So I decided you know what I'm gon na apply to a coding boot camp and I'm gon na learn how to code, and that is really the sort of start of my software engineering journey or my journey to software engineering. That'S when it started in early June of 2016, a few weeks after I'd graduated from college when I started applying to these coding boot camps, I applied to for coding boot camps, and I wrote my very first real line of code while applying to them the way That these coding boot camps work is that they don't want their students to arrive on the first day of in-person classes or online classes having never written a single line of code in their lives. They want them at that point in time to be at a sort of very elementary level of coding knowledge, but they want them to be able to understand basic code. So, in order not to sort of discriminate against people like me who have never written a line of code in their lives or who had never written a line of code in their lives, they give you preparatory material. When you apply, you know, you can check off the box. That says, I've never written a line of code in my life and they send you material, very basic material to teach you the sort of fundamentals of programming, and so I remember I applied to these coding boot camps in you know, early June of 2016, about a Few weeks after I graduated from college - and I started learning how to code from these sort of you know online articles that they sent me, I learned about conditional statements. You know, if else I learned about loops and you know very basic recursion. I remember recursion was sort of like you know, advanced topic and that's when I wrote my very first line of code now to get into these coding boot camps. You have to pass an interview brightly's back then, when I was applying, I had to pass an interview, and those interviews were very very similar to the types of coding interviews that you get at Google, if you're applying to Google as a software engineer, except way easier. Basically, you know they'll, ask you a few coding interview, questions very easy ones like no write, a function that determines if a string is a palindrome, the types of easy questions on algo expert and if you pass, if you do well on those interviews you get in And so, as you can imagine in the preparatory material that they have given me where I was sort of learning how to code, they gave a lot of practice problems for their interviews, and I remember I did a lot of them and I got very into them That was probably what sort of pulled me into coding at the very beginning. I really liked. I immediately fell in love with these sort of coding interview questions. I remember loving, to do the palindrome question or to do the Caesar cipher encrypter question. That was one that I had was given at the time as a practice problem, and I just found it very enjoyable, very fun, and so during you know the first few weeks of June 2016. I found myself doing a lot of these sort of you know easy coding, interview questions as I was learning the very fundamentals of programming. So then, I was accepted to all four of the coding boot camps that I had applied to and I decided to attend full-stack Academy in New York City and their program was gon na be four months. Three months were the sort of immersive in-person part of the program from September to mid-december, and then there was gon na be one month before the program started in August. That would just be sort of self directed at home. With some you know tutorials and things they would send me, and so I remember, I spent the month of July 2016 to sort of very excited that I'd gotten into the program and kind of you know going back to playing video games all day. I remember I didn't any coding during that month then, the month of August rolled around and I started doing their sort of pre work online and during that time I wasn't doing anything too crazy. I was following what they were doing. It was. You know just a few hours of coding per day. I wouldn't say that I was doing anything particularly more than that in large part, because they were sort of warning. You telling you do what we're giving you not much more you'll have plenty of coding to do during the three months of the immersive part of the program. So I sort of just took them by out by their word and did just that. Then the immersive part of the coding boot camp started. It went from September 2016, all the way to December 2016 or mid-december, and those three months and a half were really the highlight of my journey to software engineering. During those three months I was living and breathing coding and most of my peers, most of the people in the coding boot camp with me were doing the same thing or similar things, but I was really I really treated that as all I'm gon na do during Those three months and a half is coding and coding related stuff, because it's really important for to understand that this was a big. This was sort of a it wasn't too risky, but it was. It was a big thing to have done this coding boot camp. I say it wasn't that risky, because you know I just graduated from college, but it was still a big big thing. It cost a lot of money. You know somewhere, but somewhere around $ 17,000, half of which I had paid using all the money that I'd saved up in college, and you know my parents, weren't thrilled, that I was suddenly. You know doing this huge, like rant, seemingly random career shifts immediately after graduating college, and I really told myself if I'm gon na, take this seriously or or if I'm gon na try to actually make something out of this. I better take it seriously. So all I was doing was coding. I was basically spending, I would say you know 14-hour days doing coding related stuff. I would spend the first sort of eight hours of the. You know that the coding bootcamp sort of had structured for you, they're, obviously doing their classes and doing their projects and all that. But then I would stay at the coding, bootcamp campus and I would do other stuff other coding stuff. I was lucky that I was really good friends with some of the the students there and we were kind of together in it together there and then I would come home really late. I remember I would come home every every night at like midnight or 1:00 a.m.

And I would still continue doing a bit of coding, but the point is, I was really just living and breathing coding. I want to highlight this next point, which is that during the coding boot camp, I got very very hooked into this website. Called code Wars code Wars is a website that gives you these sort of, like coding, puzzles and challenges. They'Re kind of like coding, interview questions, but a little bit more like puzzle, oriented or math oriented. I would, for instance, recommend I'll go expert if you're prepared for coding interviews, but if you're in, if you like or enjoy these sort of coding challenges, then code Wars is very fun and full-stack Academy. My coding boot camp recommended that we do code Wars to warm up in the mornings and I got so addicted to that website, addicted to doing their problems and their puzzles, probably because I'm just a very like competitive person in general, and I love when systems are Like game ax fide and with rankings, and all that - and we had this ranking for our class at the coding boot camp - and I remember I got so into that me and this one other students in the class - that I did almost all the problems on code. Wars - and I got to the sort of top ranked on code wars and really here - I'm not I'm not flexing, maybe a little bit it's more than just like. I put so much time into that. I remember I was doing it like day in and day out in the evenings in the mornings on the train. I just loved it, but so yeah here I think I have it on my computer. I can pull it up. You can see like I got to this thing, the top rank, which is one cue and yeah. I was just putting so much time into it. This was our coding, bootcamp class. The reason that I wanted to highlight this was because I really attribute a lot of my success during my journey to to Google, for instance, and to learning software engineering to having done so much of this code. Wars website, and I think the reason is that it's not that you have to do code Wars or that you have to do all these, like coding, puzzles it's more that I found something that I was really interested in, or that were that I found a really Fun that was related to coding, and I got to practice my coding skills or some coding skills right, some parts of coding - a ton by doing this over and over and over again every day, and so that was one. That'S one thing that I really attribute to my success thus far. I also got very into the projects that I was working on and I decided to do something that I think was pretty smart or clever. I tried to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak with my projects and what I mean by that is, let's say, you're working on a project right, let's say so. I don't know website and you're making a website about video games or about cooking because giving an example right. You have the coding part of the project, which is like the website, but then you have the other non-coding part of the project, which is video games or cooking. I tried to make that other part. Video games are cooking, something related to programming. So, for instance, three of the projects that I worked on out of four big projects that I have in my resume were all related like doubly related to programming. Two of them were visualization tools for algorithms, for path, finding algorithms and sorting algorithms and those were really cool because they taught me about like they really really taught me about algorithms, about path, finding and sorting algorithms. It was a great way to not only sort of flex, my front-end and JavaScript skills and I'll show you the projects in a second. But it was also a great way for me to kind of double down on my algorithms and get a head start on them. And learn about these algorithms and how they worked inside and out and then another project that was sort of similar is, I wrote, a sort of like a compiler or interpreter for a programming language that I that I invented we called it. The oak programming language. I worked on this with one of my other classmates, and that was another way to kind of like EE work on programming right. I wrote this interpreter for language, but then I also had to sort of like create that language and and try to come up with. You know, learn about how interpreters work and all and so on and so forth. So I think that those projects were were particularly helpful for me just because you know as someone who again had very little, it's not any coding experience before. I wanted to maximize my my exposure to coding and coding related things. So that's why I did that. So here you can see my pathfinding visualizer project. Basically, you've got like multiple nodes that you can put on a grid and you can put sort of walls, you can draw walls, and then you can visualize algorithms like Dijkstra's, algorithm or a star. It was really fun. A very visual project like if I visualize, let's say Dijkstra's algorithm, you sort of see like the node trying to find the other node and then the the path will get sort of drawn out like this, and you could sort of like move it. There'S lots of cool stuff. You can find this project on my github and you can play around with it, but this was a really cool one because, like I said it taught me like, I breathed Dijkstra's algorithm for like two weeks when I was doing this project and similarly, if you look At my sorting visualizer project this one, I had to learn like really thoroughly how well mergesort quicksort heapsort work, bubble, sort of course, but like merge sort, you know there's a great great way to kind of see. Let'S see if I press sort, you know to see it work and to also be able to you know, put my you know JavaScript and react skills to the test. I think this was in vanilla, JavaScript not react, but um yeah, because these projects were really cool because they kind of you know killed two birds with one stone so to speak. Then December came along the coding. Bootcamp was done. I started applying to jobs. I was still wrapping up a couple of projects at that point, for instance the sorting visualizer I did that after the coding boot camp in late December 2016 and then in January 2017, I got a rude awakening. I found myself in a pretty humbling experience. I was a bit overconfident that the experience of code wars, all the problems I had done in code wars were enough to prepare me for the coding interviews and I actually failed one of my phone interviews at lift the ride-sharing company and that was kind of a Very disappointing experience for me. I remember thinking like wow the problem that I got. I think I had gone the longest palindromic substring. That is. That is something that I should have been able to do, but I just hadn't prepared enough and - and you know the thing of the problems on code Wars just weren't geared geared towards really interview prep. That was right around the time that I scheduled my interviews at Google. By the way, I recently made a video on how I actually landed the coding interviews at Google. If you haven't checked it out already, I would recommend you do it'll be in the description below, but so when I scheduled those interviews for Google, I had about 10 days until then or until the interviews - and I really said I will. I will learn my lesson from lift and I will really go heads down on coding, interview, prep, and that is exactly what I did at the time. All that I had to prepare with were books and the Internet, and it really wasn't fun, especially for someone like me, who only knew JavaScript, because those books were in Java and C only so having to understand written solutions in a typed language like Java or C. When I had never learned a typed language was just a nightmare. Of course. Today, if you're studying for coding interviews, I would recommend using algo expert algo exper. Do the website that I co-founded? The one thing that I do want to mention is that, during those like 10 days, hardcore coding interview prep that I did, I actually taught myself Python and I did all of that coding interview prep in Python, because, apart from the Google coding interviews that I was Preparing for I also had two sigma interviews: XI Sigma is a hedge-fund and a very sort of tech related to hedge fund and their interviews. You had to pick a language between Python C and Java, and I knew I was gon na. I wasn't gon na learn. Java or C in ten days, so I decided to do that in Python and then at Google. I ended up doing my interviews in Python as well, even though I could have done JavaScript there and it ended up working for me and then the rest is history. I did well on my coding interviews at Google, which happened in early February 2017, and then I got my hire decision from Google cuz three days after my interviews and that's it. If you count the months between the day that I wrote my very first line of code and the time that I got my hire decision its June 2016, then July 2016, I didn't do anything. I sort of took a break and played video games all day. Overwatch and then August September October November December January, so seven months a little over six months. Six months sounds better in the title anyway, and that's it. That is how I went from never having written a line of code in my life to landing a job as a software engineer at Google and now just a couple years later. I can't imagine not being a software engineer. I can't imagine not coding almost every day. That'S it for this video. I hope that you enjoyed hearing my story. Let me know what you thought about it in the comments below. Let me know if you have a similar story or if you're inspired by my story. I always read your comments and these videos take a surprising amount of time to film and to edit and to kind of scope out so very much appreciate a smashing of the like button. If you enjoyed the video, but it is by no means necessary, I will see you in the next one.