Jul 132012
 July 13, 2012  Posted by at 5:45 am Uncategorized, WinRT  Add comments
Iris Classon

I can't believe I didn't even know how 'code' looked like a year ago, today I can't imagine myself doing anything else. It is, as we say in Norwegian 'kanon' (Kanon = cannon AKA awesome)

Yesterday was a very special day for. Exactly one year had passed since I wrote my very first line of code, one year since I saw code for the first time in my life, one year since I completely and utterly fell in love with programming. It was love at first compile. I just knew me and this was meant to be!- And I have never looked back since. Learning everything from zero worried me, I was really clueless and was scared that I would never get even close to becoming a decent developer,- starting so late and without any previous experience with computers at all. But being so foolishly in love, I ignored those feelings, and promised myself to give it everything I had for at least two years, and see how far I could get. The good thing about starting at zero is that it is easy to measure how far you have come.

Here is my first year: (short summary)

July 2011: I make my first hello-world, a WPF app. I have no idea what I am doing

My first few lines of code- yes, I am not kidding haha 😀

August 2011: School starts, I make my own virtual zoo in a console application and I am so proud of the result. I get a key to the school and come in at 8 am and stay until 10 pm every day. I set up a website and forum for the class, and a newsletter, so we can share code/solutions.

My first notes from school

Working on my first console application- learning to pseudocode

The site I set up for the class

September 2011: First group assignment, we make a small CRM windows forms application. I start attending all .Net related events, such as Swedish .Net developer user group (Swenug). I join the school board.

The CRM program

Late September 2011: I make a WPF application using MVVM called dietitians dining tool. I join up on Stackoverflow and start asking questions and reading answers. I do get some down votes in the beginning he he. I start on my first windows phone application. Every night I fall asleep with a new programming book next to me.

WPF application, Dieatitian dining tool

October 2011: Second group assignment, we make a social mashup tool in WPF for mail, Facebook and Twitter. I start attending the classes that second year senior students take, and I ask the teacher for extra assignments (which he gladly gives me :P). The second year students take good care of me and share what they know, Jonas A. tells me about Pluralsight and I start watching tutorials every day, about two hours a day at least.

Our WPF social mashup tool

November 2011: After hardcore studying and coding, I feel confident enough to take my first Microsoft Certifications. I succeed, and I am thrilled!

70-511: TS: Windows Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework
Because of complaints from some of the senior students I am no longer allowed to sit with them during their evening classes. I ask my teacher if I can do internship a day a week instead and he is very supportive.

December 2011: Third group assignment, we make an image editing application. The group work is great, and we are extremely proud of the result. I spend Christmas vacation working with Silverlight and studying (to my parent’s frustration). I pass my third Microsoft exam, 70-506: TS: Silverlight 4, Development. I start my internship at Squeed, but change to DotNet Mentor after a few weeks as the projects they are working on are more suitable.

Our WPF image editing application

January 2012: I’ve joined up in about four user groups by now, and in school we have started with web development. It all makes sense to me, and I am so enthusiastic about it I find it hard to stop. I read a lot of books, watch even more tutorials, and write twice as much code. There is no stopping me, so I go ahead and book myself in on my third exam and pass it. 70-515: TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

February 2012: I want more challenges, and since I am ahead of the class the school allows me to go out on early full-time internship with a second year student. We get our own office at the school and we have a great time, Daniel W. is very skilled and patient and I learn a lot from him. We plan and hold a lecture for the class, he holds one about MVC4 attributes, and I about how to debug using firebug and web developer plugin in firefox. DotNet Mentor offers me a position as a fulltime consultant, and I am the happiest girl in the world! Of course I say yes!

The team at DotNet Mentor

March 2012: Me and Daniel W. attend a windows phone hackaton event, and win the competition with our Shake a Kitty app that we made in a few hours. We win a 3D computers screen (Daniel get the screen) and a ticket to Scandinavian developer conference (I get to go). Att Scandev I get to meet some Pluralsight authors I have been listening to, and it is a wonderful experience meeting so skilled developers. Later that month I take my fourth certificate: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4. The Shake a Kitty app is published, and seems fairly popular.

The shake a kitty app

April 2012: Time for final assignment before the class goes out on internship. It is an individual assignment this time, and I make a MVC4 Mobile first ajax based application. The app is a cooperation portal where you can add friends, chat, create groups, share files and ask questions and get answers on the forum. The app turns out great, and I am very proud. At the end of April I start fulltime at DotNet Mentor.

My MVC4 app, main page, logged in as administrator

The app on an IPhone

Mai 2012: Work borrows me a Mac as I am keen to learn how to use one, and to try to develop iPhone apps. After a week with the Mac I get my first iPhone app published, and at the same time also an android application. I used Appcelerator for both apps.

The android app

The iPhone app

June 2012: Pluralsight contacts me and invites me to NDC, Norwegian developer conference to do a video interview with me. I am thrilled, and soooo happy! NDC turns out to be some of the best days of my life and I get to meet the awesome Pluralsight team and help them out at the booth, I get to go to all the private dinners and meet all my heros – great dedicated developers with brilliant minds. And they are all so kind and welcoming, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!

From NDC Eating dinner at a Mongolian. From the left: Paul Betts, Chris Hardy, Iris Classon (me), Phil Haack, Scott Allen , Sondre Bjellås, Bodil Stokke, Jon Galloway

Pluralsight dinner at NDC 2012. Jaipur Indian Restaurant in Oslo, Norway. — with Megan Russell, Miguel A. Castro, Shay Friedman, Iris Classon, Hadi Hariri, Aaron Skonnard, Scott Allen, Udi Dahan, Guy Smith-Ferrier, Sahil Malik, Steve Woolley and Aaron Holt.

Late June 2012: Once I get home I start developing Metro apps, loving windows 8 and Metro. I’ve attended about 5 presentations on the subject, – and a 12 h virtual training session.
I get invited to an App Excellence lab in Stockholm where I get to show my Metro app and receive one-on-one advice from passionate Microsoft devs. The lab was truly inspiring, and the Metro app is turning out great. I am dead set on getting a Windows Store token.

Sampling colors for my Metro app (it looks completly different now btw)

Loving win8 and VS2012

July 2012: I start answering questions on Stackoverflow (just a few really, I’m still scared haha) and MSDN and started blogging more about programming sharing example apps that I’ve made. I attended the three day Microsoft seminar SommarKollo and liked it. On my one-year anniversary as a developer I take my fifth, and my first Pro Certification, Pro exam Designing & Developing Windows Phone applications.

The journey of Iris Classon continues 🙂 - and I don't mind a bit of a walk. The way I see it, I got my heels on and I am going from a party to another.

And here I am today! It has been an amazing year, and I’ve given it all I have. I have never worked so hard in my life, but I’ve never had so much fun either. I feel blessed getting to meet so many fantastic people, and I keep meeting people like that every day. Now and then there are idiots that try to put me down, but I don’t care about them. They got issues that do not concern me. I know I have the support of the devs I admire, and I never feel alone,- and that’s what matters. What I do hope, is that I can inspire others and give back to the very helpful community.

Now starts the second year of my journey, and I have no plans of slowing down. Let’s see how much crazy stuff I can do during my next year as a developer! It is going to be such a great ride 😀 !

  81 Responses to “My first year of programming July 11 2011- July 12 2012”

  1. thanks to your blog… it help me to burst my desired to became a programmer like you, because of your story, i need to study hard….hehehe thanks again….

  2. Dear Miss Classon,
    I read your journey with interest and I’d like to congratulate you on you passion and excitement regarding the world of software development. For the rest of the world – software development is often considered as just another job and software developers are thought of as sort of intelligent typists.
    But for those of us who immerse ourselves in it – it is a lifestyle, a calling. I see your excitement about your first programs and I am reminded of my own experiences typing long sequences of Basic at a Commodore 64 just to see the screen draw some geometric shapes in various colors. It is not so much the program but rather the recognition of the potential it promised that hooked me.
    I’d like to welcome you to the world of programming and encourage you to explore beyond the sheltered waters of MSDN – there is whole lot more to software development than Microsoft certifications (though they are a good start…) – https://plus.google.com/108266211978729976328/posts/9157ygRDimQ


  3. This sounds a bit like me when I was learning to be a developer in the mid 90’s. The problem is that the skills learned today will be obsolete in a few years, and you will get burned out having to relearn how to do conceptually the same thing.

    Oh, and the author is bar far the sexiest (female) developer I have ever seen.

  4. In fact if I’m not impressed with the good work with your figure or spectacular a combination hard to find beautiful and intelligent

  5. Simply amazing what you have achieved in a single year, very well done.

  6. Your notes from school are so beautiful. Using multiple colors is very effective.

  7. Came here to say you’re hot. Now leaving.

  8. Hey Iris,

    Congratulations and welcome to the club! I’ve been writing code and documentation for decades, and the quest to learn is never ending. I find it heartening to read how you bootstrapped yourself up into this profession. It shows that you need not start in the cradle, but when you have an itch that cannot be scratched any other way. Did you always have this intellectual curiosity? Were you always the kid in class who drove your classmates nuts because you wanted to learn more? I have a feeling you are that person.

    Let me know if you ever get to the Seattle area. My wife, daughter, and I hosted a Norwegian student (yeah Victoria!) about 5 years ago and she was awesome.

    doug in Seattle

  9. […] read John Sonmez post on “When Being good is Bad“ and Iris Classon‘s posts “My First year of Programming” and her “365 Stupid Questions” series then squint your eyes until the rambling […]

  10. Hi Iris,
    someone once told me that the difference between a student and a master (of any art) is love of the art. I think in the end programming is an art and you are on your way to mastery. You’ve accomplished so much in a short time , amazing !

  11. Lady, you’re awesome. Accept my respect 🙂

  12. Fecking awesome Iris and congratulations. You are an inspiration to new and old (me!) programmers around the world.

    Now i would love to see more Github Repos from you……? 🙂

  13. The last picture of this post is my favourite deskop “back”ground! 😉

  14. Iris nice post.
    I congratz you keep it up. I also agree with Technikhil.
    There is a big world out there and you should take a look at how big it is.
    I admire your passion and for what u achieved in 1 year.
    And a woman also in our world this is a rare site.

    I have one thing to say to u:
    Welcome into our world

  15. #WOULD

  16. You are my true inspiration Iris…
    I am super glad I came across your course – “Learn to Program – Being a better programmer” and I came to know about you…
    I really admire you for your hardwork!

  17. omg are you real?

    I will follow and achieve my dreams. thanks for reminding me.

    you goddess, you.

  18. Amazing story!! I’m on a journey to become a web developer myself! Spent time doing a biology degree found out it wasn’t a match and then did some time in the miltary, and now i’m in school for a computer science degree while teaching myself to become a developer!!

    It has been overwhelming but worth every minute!! thanks for the additional inspiration iris!

    • Thank you so much for sharing that, we need more of those stories! – also thank you for the kind words.

      Ping me anytime if you need to went, or just talk ( @irisclasson ) . Enjoy a fantastic journey!

  19. An inspiration for aspiring programmers. Your passion and dedication for coding is an example.

  20. Your achievements in such a short time really bring a lot of shame to this computer guy with an experience of over 9 years. Thanks for the much needed embarrassment!

    • How do I remove this comment? It could be interpreted in a wrong way. I just wanted to compliment you. Can you please remove it? Thanks.

  21. Hello,

    did you start off by learning c# ? I’m thinking to start with that and then learn from there.



  22. can we download this kind of application with source code?

  23. Loved your course on Pluralsight – Universal Apps with c# and xaml!
    Gave it 5 stars – I hope it registered my review correctly.

  24. It’s amazing to see how you managed from “not knowing what code even is” to get invited by Pluralsight (!) and meet amazing people like Phil! Stunning 🙂

  25. It’s amazing to see how you managed from “not knowing what code even is” to get invited by Pluralsight (!) and meet amazing people like Phil! Stunning 🙂

  26. Amazing journey! OMG, I thought I fell in love with you…

  27. I know its a while since this was posted but I’m about to start on a similar journey and this has certainly motivated me. Admittedly, I am not a complete newbie – I am an engineer of a different discipline and I also regularly hack scripts together for my work.

    I hope to start blogging more on the topic and keeping a record of my learning week by week.
    Good luck with your further learning!

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