I’m a builder.

My Birthday App

This is a very simple app that I just build for my girlfriend’s birthday yesterday. A label to acknowledge her birthday and a button that plays a happy birthday song when pressed. I sent it to her via Testflight. Compared to 3 months ago, I could not do shit with Xcode and I would have went out to by something off the shelf yesterday. Of course this is nothing if you are an experienced programmer, but this to me is simply amazing. And I like to share with you how it started.

I have become a builder.

But first why learn programming?

Because now I have a little skill to build something that custom to my needs. I can solve my own problem. I can create an instant messaging between my girlfriend and I, I  also can create a table view of our travel pictures… (You know where I getting at, the sky is the limit) This is also great skill if you are planning to startup because you (founder) can be building your own MVP and once you manage to raise your fund, you can than find a great technical guy to help you. (easier said than done, but this is an example)

This is a skill that I believe have change my life. And I have to thank Cong for his guidance.

Cong is an amazing teacher and a great running buddy. He is the one who put me on a 30 Day Challenge to learn iOS. He does not charge me any fees for teaching me iOS because he believes that if you have the passion to learn, he is more than willing to teach. And he used to benefit from a similar system, he pick up his iOS skill from Multiuni

MultiUni is run by and for the community.  Similar to BarCamp and the unconference concept, the participants themselves decide what and how to teach.  You could call it an “unschool.”

How it started?

Cong was first introduced to 30 Day Challenge by his friend. “It is believe that if you do something continuously for 30 days, it would be come a habit” For example, if you start to go for morning walk everyone morning, it is likely this becomes a habit instill in you after 30 days. Cong was inspired by it and decided to take up his first 30 Day Challenge. His first challenge was to mediate each day for at least 5 mins. He did it the first week and felt great, but he also decided that he needed a tool to track his progress so he build a challenge app for himself.

Why bother tracking?

Just running a startup, you need metrics to track your success. For personal development, you do the same too. By tracking your progress, you get to look back in time to see how have you improve or how much work is require to reach your goal. There is a site call Quantified Self where people interested in self-tracking, share knowledge and experiences gather. There is also a Singapore meetup group, If you have a weight problem, you should check out how this lady uses 10-day moving average to serves as an “early warning system” that helps her put back to the path of mindful eating.

How I track my 30 Days iOS Challenge?

Today is the 96 day of my iOS Challenge, in case you were wondering I did not manage to learn iOS in 30 days, but I did developed a habit to read / do at least 1 tutorial a day. These tutorials readily available online but there are too many available online so Cong will recommend the ones most suitable for beginners.

I use two tools in my learning journey.

Trello app – This is used for Cong to assigned tutorials and for me to ask questions

Challenge app – This is for me to journal and track my progress. I feel great when I look back and read what have I done. Especially when I started with Zero programming knowledge and now everyday I’m learning something new. There is one thing for sure, programming is an endless learning journey, you can never finish learning. (even if you are the best)

During the start of the challenge, it was tough. I just followed the tutorials and did not actually know what was I doing. It was also tough journey down the entries but as time passes it all started to make sense. From time to time, I also needed some small wins otherwise I would soon lose motivation. This birthday app is a small win for me, I build something and I journal it down. In Cong’s challenge app, there is a support button (sort of like Facebook like) , when I see people supporting my challenge, I feel motivated. This is even more so when users of challenge app comment on my challenge, simple encouragement like “all the way, looking forward to your next awesome app” makes me feel “flying in the sky”

So if you are looking for do something new today, and have not gotten down to do it. Take up a challenge right now, make your 30 Day Challenge commitment, develop a habit because if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you

p.s I have a few friends joining the 30 Day iOS Challenge too, if you think joining, drop me a tweet and I would add you into the Trello board.

p.p.s And remember to download the Challenge app too, Cong has also now gone full-time developing his Challenge app, he would love feedback from you about the app, you can tweet him to share your views

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5 thoughts on “I’m a builder.

  1. Great post, thanks a lot for the insight. I am trying to learn programming as a side project right now as well and haven’t found the perfect way for me yet. I think I might try your approach and the suggested apps. Developing a habit, being able to have small successes on your way and staying curious and experiential are the keys I think.

  2. Nice post, this would be a great way to challenge myself to learn something new. Hopefully this can help me in achieving what I have always wanted, as I have been getting demotivated after days or weeks that I have started doing something. Good luck with your iOS programming journey although I will be learning android programming!! Hope that we can both achieve our goals

    1. Yeah, in fact there is already one on AppStore. But that I do not have much contribution in terms of development, it was all our team’s effort.

      We are coming out with a version 2 and I’m happy to say I contributed to so of the feature 🙂

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