First Impressions of the Global Open Source Community

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I am "one of them" now. Yes, I am a geek. I just received my pocket protectors from Geeks ‘R’ Us. Seriously, though, I’ve always wanted to be a computer programmer. I had family members and friends over the years who took the leap and became prolific programmers. I was always the creative type; I was a prolific author, painter, music-maker. I never learned computer programming, though, until now.

I had wanted to learn to code for at least a decade, but I kept putting it off. About two years ago I decided enough was enough, and started to teach myself computer programming. I didn’t make much progress the first year. After that, I discovered Udacity and Coursera who offer free online courses, and in my first Udacity course, CS101: Introduction to Computer Science, I learned to program in Python.

The funniest thing happened. Learning to code was much easier than I thought it would be. Okay, at times I felt like I was learning an alien language, but I made progress fast, took great strides in very little time. Today I can program, write code. I’m maybe not very good at it yet, I mean for all intents and purposes, I’m still very much a beginner.

What I wanted to write about today, though, is simple. I want to express extreme gratitude and thanks to the global community of coders that just embraced me with open arms. In my life, I have been part of countless communities, online and off. This is the first time, however, that I experience such a high level of camaraderie and hospitality.

I want to express gratitude and thanks to all those people who helped me get through my introduction to computer science and programming. You helped me when I needed it most. You were selfless, you spent hour upon hour of your free time to help me solve challenging problems. You helped me find resources online, you even shared some of your own code with me so I could see how it was done.

Thank you, thank you, thank you a billion times. Now I spend my days on GitHub reading other people’s code, learning how to write code. I can recognize now the elegance of your best writing (code is text, is literature, programmers are creative writers). It will take me at least another decade to master the art of computer programming, but at least now I know I can count on the global open source community to help me when times are tough.

One last thing. Since I was met with such open-arms, with such generosity and hospitality, I feel pulled to do the same for others who are learning to code. I want newcomers to the art of code to feel as welcome as I did when I first started. I want to spend long hours helping you figure things out, if you are just beginning. I know enough now to help you get started as I keep learning from my own more experienced teachers/mentors.

Don’t be shy. If you just started to learn about computer science and computer programming, you can contact me anytime. I can be found on Twitter at @jonasthanatos twitter.com/jonasthanatos and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/antifacecloud. If you have difficulty grasping some concept, or trouble with syntax in Python, etc., feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help you out. Learning to code is a great voyage. I am so happy that I began this long wonderful journey into the New World of Geekhood. 🙂

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