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Nicole Archambault is a self-taught web developer and the creator of La Vie en Code, a podcast, blog, and online course dedicated to helping other self-taught web development students, via Medium
I entered the tech industry in 2015, when I was unexpectedly let go from my job at a mobile POS app startup. I stood outside on the corner, genuinely unsure of what my next steps would be.
I had attempted a major in Computer Science at Wellesley, but was ultimately discouraged because I just couldn’t keep up with the abstract information I was expected to retain.
After being let go, I decided to teach myself to code. I’d always loved dinking around on the web. I built my first online blog at 14 or something, and was over the moon when some random blog rating account gave me a 10/10. Ah, simpler times.
I decided to use a platform I’d heard of, based in Portland where I was, called Treehouse. They told me that I could learn the skills to get a job in web development, and I believed them. I had no real solid goal, but I knew I had to take action SOON.
I flew through the material, because Treehouse’s video-based learning platform allowed me to pause, go back, speed up, slow down—all features I’d never had available to me in a classroom setting.
I started a little blog called La Vie en Code. I wrote random things in it—what I was working on, thoughts on a particular technology. My early posts are hilarious. I was so damn happy just to be learning.
About a month later, I discovered a Facebook group called Ladies Storm Hackathons.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.