Lena is a practicing physician who for a long time was certain that software development would definitely not be her story. But today her story would surely surprise her former self.
In high school, she had a testy relationship with computers, but years later she created an application for diagnosing diseases.
Lena writes: "When everyone in my grade planned to become a programmer, I succumbed to my romantic ideas about the medical profession and decided to become a doctor. The fact that my family couldn't afford a computer back in 2001 played a non-trivial role in the decision."
Computer science lessons were clearly not enough for her to speak with a computer on a first-name basis. For many years, Lena believed that "using a computer is VERY difficult.
Working in medicine
When Lena began work as a doctor, she constantly faced problems in making diagnoses. She always tried to find answers and help in articles and books on the Internet, but rarely found what she was looking for and usually only after a long delay.
Startup idea and the first hurdle
It was 6 years ago that this former CodeGym student was first seized by the desire to create a program to make diagnoses. She didn't have money to pay professionals to create the program. But she had a knack for hard sciences, and she decided to study programming herself on the Internet.
She began my studies on the first C++ website that caught her eye and simultaneously read ancient reference books on computer science. Not 3 months had passed from her first attempt before she came across ready-made diagnostic websites (symptom checkers). Amazed at their quality, Lena realized that she had nothing to contribute here and abandoned the idea. What's more, her maternity leave was approaching and she was transitioning to family life.
Attempt number two
Returning from maternity leave, she again plunged headlong into the apocalypse happening in the medicine field. For family reasons, she couldn't leave the small town where she was assigned to complete an unpaid residency. The prospect of staying at an unloved job for the rest of her life depressed Lena more than ever. And then suddenly she was antagonized by her old idea — writing her own medical program. Lena was 30 years old in 2015.
This time she approached the choice of a language more thoughtfully. She looked at what was popular, what was praised, and what gets paid. And she chose Java. She read a couple of books à la "Java for Dummies, Beginners, Children, and Grandmothers in 30 Days." And she didn't at all feel like a programmer. She again visited websites with educational articles about Java, following their instructions step by step. That's when she saw CodeGym for the first time, but decided not to buy a subscription.
Instead, Lena spent a couple of months studying CLIPS, a language for writing expert systems. At the time, it didn't bother her that no one had shown any interest in this language for decades. She wrote a small algorithm using CLIPS. Then she just had to hook it up to a website, and she would have her own finished project. But the only lessons on how to do this turned out to be YouTube videos in Spanish. At that moment, it dawned on Lena that to write what she had in mind, she would have to immerse her brain in programming.
Gaining practical skills in the medical field is a huge challenge. Practicing on patients is dangerous in terms of the law, and medical institutions never have any money for simulators and phantom models. As a result, the poor doctors learn only from books and posters. Sometimes you can also loiter in a hospital ward and chat with the patients. And this dysfunctional process (first stuffing the brain with theory until it pours out of the eyeballs and then only many years later applying that heap of knowledge in practice) was firmly entrenched in Lena's head.
Given that background, she was just... afraid to write code! Clearly, a mistake made by a doctor and a mistake made by a programmer are as different as heaven and earth, but the incorrect thinking had already taken root and she had to somehow overcome her fear of writing code.
And that's when she remembered CodeGym. Considering it a way to make friends with a development environment, she decided to fork out some money after all and purchased a subscription with an internship.
Learning on CodeGym
The saga with the validator lasted about three months. And even brought her some enjoyment. When her friends heard about Lena's hobby, they were bewildered by what she was doing. But other people's success stories urged her not to lose heart and to crawl to the finish line. She reached Level 30 with great difficulty.
Finally, Lena was able to open the test task for an internship!
And for the next six months, she tried to solve it every day.
Six months, Carl! Finally she did it, and she was accepted. The euphoria quickly gave way to hard work: there was an enormous amount of information. Lena managed to get through the third lesson of her first internship. During the second internship, she made it to 6 or 7. During the third internship, she sensed that she would start to hate programming if she didn't finally begin to implement what she had envisioned.
And so she began... Fortunately, the knowledge required for the internship was enough to create the framework for her own application.
Finally, it "worked"
Lena had to study a lot on her own (and mostly in English). She shed a bucket of tears and even said a few prayers. And at the end of October 2018, she finally deployed her brainchild to a server. Curious fellow coders can find it at etiona.com
When she got involved in this whole thing, she had never heard the word "startup". Nor the fact that 95% of them fail in their very early years. But time will put everything into its place.
Lena writes: "Maybe a dreamer like me will read my story. And maybe that dreamer will remember some unrealized idea and decide to create something of his or her own — something that the world has never seen and would never see without his or her action. Programming provides these incredible opportunities.
Even being tied to your room in a small provincial town, you have a chance to make decent money and become part of a huge community of smart people. The costs of admission are small: a computer, preferably with an Internet connection, your time, and perseverance. Well, and the price of a CodeGym subscription, since we all gathered here anyway.
If you compare this with what is required to become a doctor, it's sheer nonsense. Sunshine and best wishes to everyone! May we all succeed in our efforts! The main thing is to believe in yourself!"