Code Academy: PHP

Like a peaceful meadow after a trek through dense jungle, or the eye of a hurricane, PHP was a welcome relief, a lot more intuitive, and pretty fun.

The Basics on PHP

PHP is a server side language, and is the “P” in the LAMP environments that run a good deal of the internet (not general dinner table conversation, I know). As I understand it, PHP allows your site to interact with the server and be more dynamic (e.g. Mobile friendly and responsive sites are made so with PHP).

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Code Academy: JQuery and JavaScript

If the Web Fundamentals Course was like eating a tasty peanut butter and cholocate pie, jQuery (jQ) and JavaScript (JS) we’re like eating a bitttersweet pie and a pebble pie, respectively.


Not as easy to pick up as HTML and CSS, but not too bad either.

What is jQ? Officially, it’s a javascript library.

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First Course in Code Academy: HTML/CSS

Finding My NEW Drug of Choice

After my first experience with CodeAcademy (CA), I knew that I was hooked. Literally, addicted. I’m a learner AND an achiever, and so the format of CodeAcademy was the perfect way for me to begin learning HTML and CSS.

Yes, correctly completing a lesson, getting a green check and moving on to the next lesson was like taking a hit from [insert your favorite addictive substance].

I’ve done a lot of schooling, and loved it, but this was the most fun I’d had learning in a while.

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Getting Started with Coding: CodeAcademy

Starting from (just about) Zero

How do you even begin to start thinking about learning to code on your own?
The only thing that I ever really knew about HTML was how to do use the “a href” tag in the text editor in WordPress. That was it.  Seriously
In thinking about how I could become a website developer, and taking on my first client (hi Mom!), I knew a higher and higher skill level would be needed as I took on one, two and three more clients at a time.

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20 Hours Ahead: Initial Thoughts and the Point


Why “20 Hours Ahead”?:

The idea is the same behind idea behind Josh Kaufman’s “The First 20 Hours”*, at least as I understand part of it (see his video below). There is the rapid learning that takes place (and I’m an avid learner!), but there’s also the idea that you only need about 20 hours to be able to teach people something. And if you can teach, you can bring value to someone. And if you can bring value to someone, they can probably pay you for that.

So, the idea is to be learning just enough to get paid, and then build on that incrementally, and eventually achieving the goals below.

What are those goals?

Let’s get started…

What is my meta goal?:

  • To have my own business that I can take with me anywhere, that will replace my wife’s income for now, and eventually mine.

What is the specific goal?:

  • Currently, the specific goal is to build/develop websites for SMEs (or anyone who asks), probably using the Genesis Framework on WordPress. Currently, this is about a $300/month business, and I want it to get into a $2,000 a month business by July of 2014. Oh, and to have enough work that I make the Genesis Developers list.

Why am I doing this?:

  • Provide for my growing family and have a location and office independent job (for the most part:-)). Do I want to spend all my time traveling? No. However, we have no clue where we want to “settle down” and might want to be international for a while. I need something that I can take with me, and doesn’t depend on me being in a particular time zone. The goal is also such that I can currently do this “on the side”, but replace my wife’s income, and potentially my income.

I think the developer side of things is for me:

  • I’m VERY utilitarian, so form isn’t as important as function
  • I like working alone (though I don’t mind collaborating or outsourcing)
  • I love languages and coding seems like “just another language to learn” (some are harder than others (a-hem, Javascript, I’m looking in your general direction).
  • I’m more of a systems, builder, behind the scenes guy
  • I’m pretty practical, what will work and what doesn’t.

What is the WORST thing that could happen?:

  • I learn a ton of code, buy Genesis, and take a few more clients and one or all of the following happens:
  • I just “don’t get it” (coding, HTML, CSS, jQuery, Javascript, PHP, maybe even Python or Ruby, or something like website managment, domain transfering, DNS stuff, LAMP environments, etc., etc., etc)
  • I break or crash every single one of my clients websites with no backup files and no pay
  • No one I pitch to will hire me (the market is flooded)
  • No one wants to recommend me or give any repeat business.

What’s the BEST thing that could happen?:

It works!:-)

  • I could land 50% of my pitches
  • I could end up replacing my wife’s income right on schedule.
  • This could develop into a full blown business for me that I can take anywhere.
  • I actually really enjoy this
  • I am able to start teaching others and consulting.
  • I’m officially a Genesis Developer and WordPress Consultant, contributing to Core and involved in the community.
  • I develop at least one plugin and one theme that people actually use and appreciate.
  • Continue developing myself as a small business consultant and coach.

What’s the plan from here on out?:

  • I’ve got a few things that I’m working on making habits:
  • Daily coding practice (going strong on 40+ days at Code Academy)
  • Daily lead generation to potential clients.
  • At least 15 minutes of work on my business six days a week
  • Taking at least one day off where I’m not working, to rest.
  • Recording my progress here, and trying to figure out how to submit code and such.

So, this is the start. One day at a time, staying 20 hours ahead.

If you read this, let me know what you think.


Josh Kaufman’s “First 20 Hours” TED Talk


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