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How I Became a Self-Taught Computer Programmer

I am a self-taught, freelance software developer. I make an alright living but it could be better. I started programming some when I was in the oilfield. In those days I didn't consider myself a real programmer because I used a rapid development platform geared for data acquisition. It wasn't until the bottom fell out of the oilfield in 2014 and I started looking for something else to do that I started to really study programming. It started when I monitored a computer science course from MIT. The course used Python so I learned a few lines of code. I was hooked. I started watching YouTube videos and online tutorials about Python.
For me, the most difficult part of the entire process was to get a decent programming environment setup. When I first started, it seemed that everyone setup their environment in a different way. There are several great integrated development environments (IDE) to choose from, and several strategies for setting up Python. It was completely overwhelming. Since I started on Windows, I had to also worry about adding Python to the windows path. Then there was Pip. For some reason that I still don't understand today, it didn't work correctly for me at first. The initial frustration almost caused me to give up. I was lucky enough to find a Python distribution called Python XY. It was a scientific distribution which I kind of liked. It came preloaded with PyQt4 and QT designer which eventually helped me get started with graphical user interfaces (GUI). Also Pip worked out of the box. The best part for me was that there was the Spyder IDE. It was a good little IDE that suited all of my immediate needs. Now, armed with a decent programming environment, my programming really took off. Today, in 2022 I am a freelance, full-stack software developer. I even picked up more languages, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Check out