The goal of this book is to help you start your programming journey a year or two ahead of where we were when we started. There’s a lot of how-to, a splash of career advice, and a bit of pep talk. It’s a good read for Computer Science majors, dev bootcamp students, beginning devs on a self-learning path, or anyone who wants to figure out if programming is for them. More importantly, this is stuff you won’t easily find elsewhere. You won’t get it in a college course or a bootcamp. It won’t be in the company manual for your first job. Most software books are extremely technical; this one is different. It will apply to you regardless of what sector or programming language you want to get into. It’s mostly about the squishy stuff, what happens around and outside the code. This is important because writing code is only a small part of a programmer’s job—researchers have found that the average programmer only writes about 25 lines of code per day. Code is really just the beginning. So what do programmers actually do? They go to meetings. They draw diagrams. They learn. They get stuck. They bang their heads on their desks. They help their teammates solve problems. They wade through an ocean of self-doubt. They field messages from tech recruiters. They update their resumes and negotiate for remote work options. They balance their three-month-old baby on one knee and a book about C++ on the other. They think methodically and ask questions nobody else has thought about. These things aren’t code, and in many ways they’re more important than code. They’re what this book is about. And it’s about you, your career, your journey, all the amazing options that will open up to you as you learn to code. Whoever you are, we’re excited that you’re here. We have the highest of hopes for you. And we hope you enjoy Your First Year in Code.