my name is rimon
The Singapore government has an agency devoted to creating online government services. It’s called – what else – Government Digital Services (GDS).
GDS started a new experiment lately. GovBuy is a website where programmers can bid on microassignments issued by GDS. Each assignment is valued at a few hundred dollars, though it can go up to a few thousand.
The experiment seeks to streamline the cumbersome tender process that government agencies face when engaging vendors to build systems. Deciding on a vendor could take up to two months.
What GovBuy seeks to do is to break down programming tasks into smaller components, and then let contractors bid on them through an automated bidding process. This saves time and money.
I’m not a programmer. I know a few things about programming but I learned most of them not in expensive coding bootcamps but from free online tutorials and several searches on Stack Overflow in the past three months. But despite my background and lack of formal coding education, I feel I have something to contribute to programming education.
My entire career has been in the tech industry. I’m one of the founders of Yahoo! Answers, the world’s largest Q&A site; was a product manager for Google’s AI project, working for Ray Kurzweil; and have been involved in many software product launches for consumers and enterprises, desktop and mobile, and startups and corporate behemoths.
Recently, several amazing visualizations of the various technologies web developers use surfaced online. One of them (geared toward backend developers) is pictured here:
These visualizations are great resources for both beginners and experts. They lay out what technologies you should be aware of if you want to get a job as a frontend or backend web developer or system administrator.
But I think they are especially useful to absolute beginners learning their first few lines of code.
I’ve been programming for over 15 years. I consider myself to be a full stack web developer, so everything shown in these visualizations falls into my domain in one way or another.
Taking a look at the photo above is pretty scary, right? But they’re not a map of everything you need to know to be a developer. Do you really think I—or any developer—actually knows how to use all this stuff?
Not a chance.
I taught myself to code by building 180 websites in 180 days. Building a website a day consumed my entire life for 6 months. People are often shocked to hear that I quit my job to tackle the project, but I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to learn to code if I also had to work a job.
I used to be a fine artist… sort of. I love building things, which is why I ended up studying fine art. Art gave me an outlet to build and create. I went off to art graduate school with a head full of youthful optimism and a bunch of student loans. I spent two years making artwork – finding my voice as they say – and when I graduated, I was broke. I needed to make money so I started bartending because I thought it would give me enough free time to also make art.