My name is Matt, and I’m the creator of this crazy little project called Code Larks.
I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you the story of how Code Larks came to be. Along the way, I’ll explain “the why” behind my decision to start Code Larks, and why I believe it has the potential to improve the “learn-to-code” journey of thousands of busy people from all walks of life.
If you want to understand more about what Code Larks is, in the first place, I encourage you to first checkout this page, then come back here for the story below.
How the idea came about:
Two years ago, I was sitting at my computer, and it was early. Like really early. Like “why are you up this early? go back to bed man” early. It was around 4:00am or so… My wife and son were still sleeping…and I didn’t have to get up and commute to my tele-sales job that I did not enjoy for another few hours or so…and I’m not traditionally a “morning person”.
….so why was I up?
Well at this time of my life, I was in a position that is a very common state for many at some point or another: I longed for something more in my career than the types of roles I’d held professionally to-date. So, on that morning – as had become my morning routine at this point – I was on a mission to continue building the skills that would allow me to, one day, transition into a career in the software industry. Specifically, I was on a mission to learn how to program, or “code”, as it’s commonly referred to. I wanted to become a programmer, a coder — whatever that meant.
From everything I’d heard and researched, these skillsets are clearly in high demand, have a reputation for paying very well, and seem like extremely interesting work. I mean, to think, you could help build the virtual infrastructure of some of the most exciting technology companies, whose products and business models have improved our lives in countless ways not even imagined less than 20 years ago! I won’t name names, but I’m sure you can think of a few.
…but why get up so early?
Well, I’d actually been working towards building coding skill sets since 2015, but before getting up early, my practice habits were inconsistent at best — and that was BEFORE my life got much busier with a child in the picture! I learned the basics of building websites, but the reality is I didn’t have the discipline or make the time to practice enough, to make the sort of rapid progress one would need to gain sufficient proficiency for a new career in coding.
The turning point:
In 2018, I finally had the realization that, if I wanted to make enough progress in building my coding skillsets, to actually have a shot at launching a career in the software industry, I needed to find time where I could practice every day, without selfishly taking away from my most important day-to-day commitments (i.e. providing for, taking care of, and spending time with my family).
My attempts to learn before this point had usually been in the evenings, some time after work, when I was already tired from everything that had happened during the day. For me, that didn’t feel sustainable anymore (..my son was a little over 1 years old, and if you’ve had/have children, you know: …those windows when they’re sleeping, you should probably be sleeping too…to reduce zombie mode). With that, I gave early morning a shot. I’d heard about the people out there preaching the power of waking up early to carve out a few hours for themselves, such as Hal Elrod does in his book, “The Miracle Morning”.
This turned out to be the perfect time for me, where I could carve out anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hrs worth of intentional time to really focus on making progress. And it seemed to be working extremely well! I started making progress faster than ever and was quickly building the habit of coding daily.
Important side note: I don’t want to sugar coat or downplay this. It’s true that learning to code requires a lot of focus, patience, and can be as discouraging at times as it is uplifting. BUT, when you make progress – even the small wins, especially the small wins – feel tremendous! I think this article from coding bootcamp, Thinkful, appropriately titled, “Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard”, sums up the challenges of learning to code in the best way I’ve read to date. That’s why communities and resources like the #100DaysOfCode, #CodeNewbie, and FreeCodeCamp are so helpful and powerful. I envision Code Larks as 100% complimentary to these pre-existing communities, and I hope that Code Larks can be a force in helping introduce new coders to them as well.
Back to my story: fast forward less than a year later, I was able to leverage my rapid, early-morning skill building progress to land my dream job in a more technical role at an amazing software company, where we build Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that help improve the customer experience at some of the world’s largest brands!
The solid case for early morning coding (i.e. “why” Code Larks):
Distractions at this hour are extremely minimal, since most of the world in your time zone and immediate circle is still sleeping. Other perks: your brain is hopefully fresh from a night of sleep, and – better yet – a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Most rewarding and beneficial, though, is the fact that once you make progress on coding for that chunk of time every morning, you feel great about the progress you made, and you carry that positive momentum with you into the rest of your day.
As crazy as it sounds (if you’re not used to waking up early), life can be surprisingly good starting your day before 6am! This makes sense, when we think about the benefits of prioritizing fitness in the morning, which so many people already do to start their day right. This also starts to underline the “why” of Code Larks, and why my hypothesis is that it has the potential to change thousands of lives for the better.
Code Larks exists to systematize this approach to early morning study by providing an accountability loop that helps build the habit of consistently learning to code. The other main goal is for Code Larks to develop into a strong, extremely positive and encouraging community of people who wake up early to learn to code together.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts:
I hope that helps provide some interesting, if not useful, context into Code Larks. If you, or anyone you know, are currently learning to code or would like to, we’d love to be a resource for you! Please leave a comment or send us a message to let us know.