(• Reading Time: 10 minutes •)

If you're looking for motivation to learn coding, this one's for you.

From an 81-year old developer to a former drug addict, these beautiful, inspiring, true stories will fire you up on your coding journey.

I gathered these stories as I came by them without any particular order.

You'll find self-taught web developer stories, an engineer who landed at a big tech company, to people who are now mentoring others.

It was rough but they overcame the odds.

You can, too.

Masako Wakamiya

A wake-up call from zero to developer at 81 years old

Masako Wakamiya noticed the lack of fun game apps for senior citizens and created her own at the age of 81. It’s called Hinadan, and it’s inspired by a traditional Japanese doll festival. We met Wakamiya, now 84, in Kanagawa, Japan, and learned how this IT evangelist and digital creator is empowering other senior citizens to make the most of technology. See more

Motivating story of Masako Wakamiya - after learning to code at 81, she made a game for fellow seniors.
Motivating story of Masako Wakamiya - after learning to code at 81, she made a game for fellow seniors.

Chris Sean

An inspiring story From homeless to front end developer

  • 5 yrs ago I was homeless.
  • 3 yrs ago I was lived in a closet.
  • yrs ago I moved into a master bdrm.
  • 1 yr ago I moved into my first apartment.
  • In a few weeks im moving into my first house and purchasing a new car tomorrow.
  • And all of this started with learning code... See more

Inspirational story by Chris Sean - the role of coding in transforming his life.
Inspirational story by Chris Sean - the role of coding in transforming his life.

Luc Constantin

A motivation story from the military to web development

  • At 13 without school
  • At 18 addicted to drugs
  • At 21 just finished military clerk obligations with no hope, no future, no desire to live
  • At 23 starting military career, at 28 drop off
  • From 29-42 logistics
  • At 42 started web dev
  • At 43 landed a jr full-time job
  • You. Can. Do. It! 💪... See more


From prison to software engineering

I went to prison as a teenager. After many years I was released, learned to program, and was hired as a software engineer. If you have a felony or have been to prison and want to learn to program reach out... See more

Danny Thompson

Friend chicken to mentor/dev

I genuinely thought I would fry chicken for the rest of my life! Once I heard I could be a dev, I couldn't stop! The reason why I got into tech was because of a rapper. This rapper was being interviewed for investing several million dollars into a tech company. The interviewer asks the obvious question, "Why did you invest into a tech company?". He replied that he was learning how to code. This blew my mind. I had always thought that programmers were the rocket scientists and PhD holders of the world! I didn't know someone like me could have the opportunity to learn this! I was 30 and working in gas stations. I found myself at a fork in the road, I can stay in this life forever or it is time for a change. So I began learning to code on freecodecamp! The absolute best decision of my life... See more

Randall Kanna

From junior developer to senior

A year and a half into my first engineering job, I was promoted to Senior Software Engineer after starting at the company as an Apprentice Software Engineer. Did I sleep? Not much. Did I date? Nope. Did I fall asleep at work on my computer? Shh.. See more

Quincy Larson

From happy hour to developer

I was just a guy in a suit in an office with a vague startup idea. Then I decided to learn to code. I overheard some guy at a happy hour bragging about how easily he was able to automate his office workflows by using a language called Ruby. I thought, “huh, Ruby.” I went home, googled it, and within 15 seconds, I was working through a random Ruby tutorial. A week later, I went to... See more

John Washam

From the army to Amazon

[I originally created this as a short to-do list of study topics for becoming a software engineer, but it grew to the large list you see today. After going through this study plan, I got hired as a Software Development Engineer at Amazon! You probably won't have to study as much as I did. Anyway, everything you need is here. I studied about 8-12 hours a day, for several months. This is my story: Why I studied full-time for 8 months for a Google interview. The items listed here will prepare you well for a technical interview at just about any software company, including the giants: Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft... See more

Madison Kanna

From fashion to mentor/software engineer

In 2015 I knew almost nothing about coding. Today, I’m a software engineer and a teacher at a code school for kids. When people find out I work as an engineer, they often ask, “How can I get a job as a software engineer coming from a nontraditional background?” Well, you can’t get more nontraditional than me. I was homeschooled growing up, and I’m a college dropout. When I dropped out, I signed with an agency and modeled for fashion brands. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but my sister was a software engineer and she loved it. So one day, I took Udacity’s “Intro to Computer Science” course. And I loved it. Coding became my biggest passion. I knew I would become a software engineer. I also knew it might be the hardest thing I ever did. But I resolved to see it through. I was going to make this happen... See more

Alvaro Videla

From selling food to developer

How I went from selling food in the street to working for top firms in tech: At the end of 2006, I arrived at a crossroads in my life. My hopes of becoming a secondary school linguistics teacher had vanished in an instant, as several factors had come together and made it impossible for me to continue with my studies. Back in my hometown of Durazno, Uruguay, my wife was working long hours for a meager $160 (USD) a month. Yes, that’s $1,920 a year. We had sacrificed our time together so I could become a teacher and get a better job because we were dreaming of a better future. The problem with dreams is they tend to vanish when you wake up, and life’s alarm clock had just gone off. Because my career trajectory had suddenly... See more

Gwendolyn Faraday

From restaurant manager to web dev

How I Landed My First Job as a Web Developer: I loved coding but I had one major problem holding me back: I never committed to learning. For years I would start tutorials and classes that would teach me the basics of a certain language or technology (like Dreamweaver, Java, etc.). But I never made the time to pursue anything to an advanced level. I would spend hours researching...See more

Sergei Garcia

From project management to developer

Finishing my second year as a developer has been a huge milestone for me. This is because I had no real experience doing web development — and not much programming experience in general beyond some basic C# and Java training I got from a few online courses. I also didn’t have a computer science degree since I graduated with a degree in IT project management...See more

Ken Rogers

From landscaping to developer

A few years ago, I was bouncing back and forth between landscaping jobs and restaurant jobs. I had just left college, and didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I had a lot of ideas, but no direction. During that time, I started teaching myself programming. At first it was a hobby. I thought it was cool to be able to build things using nothing but my brain and some code. But then I started thinking about where my life was going, and saw this as a potential living. At first, I put the idea out of my head. I couldn’t afford real education. I already dropped out of college once because of money, and if I went in for computer science, I’d have to start over. I’d leave with 6 years of school and well over $50,000 in debt if I took that route. So that wasn’t an option...See more


Key lesson from these developer stories

A common theme across these developer stories is that they took massive actions after getting fed up with their current state.

So what actions do you plan on taking?

No, not later.

Not next week. Today – Now.

There's definitely something you can do right now even if it's a step you'll take for a few minutes to push you in the right direction.

For example:

Remember, the ball's in your court.

Do something!


Thanks for reading

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Heads Up - I love research so I tend to back my advice and approach with concepts from Behavioral Psychology and Neuroscience.