Teaching yourself any skill such as coding requires commitment and initiative but, at times, this can be easier said than done. In those moments when you can’t bring yourself to sit in front of the screen and get stuff done, read that essay, or watch that tutorial — these are the moments you need role models to inspire you.
We’ve all heard of the Jobs, the Gates, and the Zuckerbergs. These guys should definitely be an inspiration but there are loads of others out there that can inspire you.
Your coding role models can be anyone but here are a few to inspire you:
1) Kevin Systrom, Founder and CEO of Instagram
Kevin had a background in Marketing but taught himself to code by night. After teaching himself the basics he set about creating small projects such as combining elements of Foursquare with Mafia Wars.
He would then get his friends to play around with what he had created and then work on improving it. Pretty soon he had quit his job and was working on his first app Burbn. In time he had developed Instagram and is now the CEO of one of the largest internet phenomena which sold to Facebook in Spring 2012 for a cool billion dollars.
2) James Whelton, Founder of CoderDojo
CoderDojo is a not for profit company that is sweeping across the world. Its aim is to help teach students how to code. CoderDojo’s founder James Whelton originally founded the organization after some of his school friends said they wanted to learn to code too after they were impressed by Whelton’s ability to hack an iPod Nano. Whelton’s skills at that time were completely self-taught but now he is inspiring an entire generation to code (along with the governments of the world).
3) This 12-year-old kid!
Shane Curran is a 12-year-old coder who created and set up Libramatic. He presented his idea at the Dublin Beta and was voted the best start-up in the evening! If this kid can’t inspire you and instill the belief that you can code too then no-one will!
4) Ada Lovelace, the First Computer Programmer
For all you girls out there who are concerned that programming is a guy thing, you should be inspired by Ada Lovelace. She is considered to be the first computer programmer out there. She was the child of Lord Byron and wrote the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine (the analytical machine).
While she is an older example she is still an inspiration to the increasing numbers of women who are engaging with programming nowadays.
5) Jamie Zawinski, Contributes to Free Software Projects
Jamie Zawinski (sometimes called jwz) is considered by many to be one of the greatest programmers out there. He had very little formal training and was mostly self-taught. He is best known for his contributions to open/free software projects like Mozilla and the Netscape web browser.
6) The People Behind These Apps
You’d be surprised how many apps start out by self-taught programmers. Usually, as they scale up they will bring in other coders but the initial prototypes are done by self-taught coders.
List of the best apps that have been built by self-taught coders:
- Simple Tax: JonathanSuter, who learned to code with Codec academy, created Simple Tax to help people in Canada file their taxes
- Sworkit: Sworkit is a mobile app created by army officer Ryan Hanna which gives users circuit training workouts they can do anywhere
- Open Office Hours: This app, created by Nate Westheimer, allows you to post office hours and where you will be
- BrideBook: Manuel De Costa’s app helps brides-to-be plan their wedding and was created after he learned to code through One Month Rails
- Reminder Apps: Jordan Garn built 3 iOS reminder apps after teaching himself to code through Treehouse
- Major Finder: This app was built by a One Month Rails student to help students to browse and ask questions to help them chose their major in college
- BusNear.me: Jonathan Werbell used his coding knowledge generated from Skillshare to create this simple app which indicates which buses are nearby
- Instacurate: Another Codecacademy graduate, David Bauer, created Instacurate which generates a Pinterest-style layout of the links in your Twitter account — it’s an easier way to navigate your Twitter feed!
- Worst Best Hairy Chest: Skillshare student Joshua Beckerman created this genius app where you can judge what is good, bad, and just plain weird.
7) All programmers!
All programmers are in some part self-taught. A lot teach themselves the basics and then move on to formal coding education afterward, but since computer languages evolve and change so much, a proper coder will always be learning and questioning their own skills and seeing where they can improve upon it.
Hopefully, all these coders will inspire you when you feel you can’t achieve your goals or solve that problem!