EP24 – From Playing with HTML to the Director of IT – Shaban Rahman’s Coding Journey

Shaban is currently a Director of IT who manages programmers, system administrators, QA Testers and helpdesk. His story is a great success story that shows you what you can do by just taking it upon yourself to learn how to program at home.

Let’s take a journey through Shaban’s life and understand how he went from knowing nothing about how to code to becoming an IT Director.

In his early years Shaban was a techie who didn’t have many friends. I can relate to him on this front as I was also the geeky kid in grade 7 and 8 who didn’t have many friends.

Shaban would come home and jump onto his computer and mess around with building web pages using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and SQL. He found an interest in the core “logic” part of programming that can be applied universally in Computer Science.

Eventually, he went through College to follow a Criminal Justice Law degree. He took some C, C++ and Java programming courses on the side while in school, but programming was never his many focus during his College years. I’m sure just focusing on getting a law degree on its own is a feat that rivals learning to code.

One afternoon while pursuing his Law degree, Shaban attended a job fair and found a great high paying QA position that he was qualified for. It was a manual testing position, so it didn’t require much in terms of coding skills. But only after two months of working in this big company, Shaban didn’t feel like the working environment was a fit for him as they treating their employees like a number instead of a human.

But as luck would have it, there was a smaller company that Shaban came across while applying for jobs. This company was also hiring a QA person, so armed with his skills of having a bit of programming knowledge and a keen eye for detail, he landed the job with this smaller company and got a pay raise to boot!

As time went by in his new position, he began to get a bit envious of his coworkers and their ability to program with the Java language. So Shaban took it upon himself to learn Java on his own in his spare time at home.

Now here’s where Shaban falls into a very common trap when it comes to learning how to program on your own. There are tons of free resources scattered around the internet in the form of videos, podcasts, blog articles, courses and so on. So for over a year Shaban drifted around learning from this place and that place, learning concepts at random without any true direction.

This can be a bit of a killer for people learning how to code on their own. The reason why this is a bad way to go is because the world of programming changes very quickly, and if you’re not careful, you could waste a lot of time learning a technology (or a language) that’s not being used anymore… or more commonly, you’ll learn a version of a technology that’s out of date and not used in the real world.

This is where you need to have an expert to guide you in your learning journey.

In Shaban’s journey, this lead him down the path of learning things he didn’t necessarily need and he wasted a bunch of time in that process. What took him over a year, could have been done in half the time (in my opinion).

But alas, he was able to transition out of his manual testing job and into an automated testing position (which again, came with a pay raise!).

My conversation with Shaban eventually shifted into some of his responsibilities in his current position as the Director of IT. I asked him about his hiring policies and if his company requires programmers to have some sort of College / University degree.

My hope was that since he didn’t have a degree in Computer Science, he would hopefully not require his staff to have a degree.

Sure enough, I was right. Shaban actually prefers someone with a plentiful GitHub page as opposed to someone with a College degree. This shows him that the candidate actually enjoys programming and has built some real world applications in the past.

In any case, going back to his story, Shaban eventually found a cool programming boot-camp that helped him learn to use Java and Spring. The only criticism he had though, was that after leaving this boot-camp, he didn’t “feel like a Spring programmer”. He felt like there were still holes in his understanding.

That’s when he stumbled into my podcast and my Coders Campus membership.

After enrolling in Coders Campus, watching the video lessons and listening to my podcasts everyday, everything “clicked” for Shaban. He was able to put the pieces together and solidify his understanding of Java.

Shaban goes on to say that the way I teach programming “is VERY unique, it’s very hard to find teachers that are able to explain simply, basically, and in an easy to understand manner the way [I] do.”

It always nice to get some positive feedback from my students, I’m happy that I could help him connect all the dots!

Shaban’s Advice for You

I always ask the programmers that I interview if they have any advice for someone who’s just starting to learn how to program, or who’s just starting to learn the Java language.

We’ve all been in that situation before, and it’s always nice to hear from someone else who successfully navigated their way through those “rough waters”.

Shaban’s advice is that if you’re looking to get into software development, and you want to do it in the most efficient way possible, find a resource that works well for you and commit to it. Don’t jump around all over the place. He feels like he could have cut his journey down in half if he had just focused on one well organized resource for learning how to code.

He also encourages anyone to keep at it. “Don’t give up!”. If you’re stuck on something, it’s only a matter of time before you can get past it. This is why I offer free admission into my private Coders Campus Facebook group when you sign up for Coders Campus. Inside the group you can reach out and ask for help from people going through the exact same journey you are. Plus I always keep an eye on the group and help people out wherever I can.

So the key takeaway is that you’re not alone on this journey. Every single person in the history of coding has stumbled and felt completely overwhelmed by the process of learning how to code. But that’s why I’m here, to help you get back up on your feet and achieve your goals of learning how to code.

If you liked this interview and wanted to share your thanks, or if you had any questions for Shaban, he has graciously given me permission to share his email address on the blog. If you have any questions for him, feel free to shoot him a message via shaban.rahman@gmail.com.