Hi there, I’m Natasha.

About a year ago, I made a life-changing decision of learning to code. I live in San Francisco, and absolutely LOVE technology and the amazing startup culture in the Bay area. I even co-founded my own startup after living here for only a year (I know, what took me so long!).

After my startup didn’t work out, I asked myself “If there was one thing I could have done to keep my startup from failing, what would it have been?” The answer was a very clear “I wish I knew how to code”.

My startup failed because we only had one engineer who was doing EVERYTHING. We needed more developers, and I couldn’t help out when my startup was in such a big need. I’m learning to code so that next time, I’ll in the trenches coding instead of just standing in the sidelines helpless with my hands tied.

I started by completing the free online Stanford CS106A course and then learned Ruby through RubyLearning.org. I then attended Dev Bootcamp to learn Ruby on Rails, and I’m really excited to announce that I’m now working as a SOFTWARE ENGINEER at MANILLA, continuing to learn Ruby on Rails, Test Driven Development (TDD), Backbone.js, and more.

I’m documenting my learning adventure on this blog. Happy Learning!


25 Responses to “About”

  1. pw00ds May 19, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Hey Natasha, I absolutely love your blog. I discovered it through your post about getting eclipse running on the latest version of os x. Currently I am doing the CS106A course using the brand new iTunes u app on my iPad and I love the process of learning to code.

    But I have one question. Beside CS106A stanford offers a few follow up courses like: CS106B programming abstractions, CS107 programming paradigms and CS193P iPad and iPhone app development. Since I love CS106 I am intending to take on these courses. Now my question is: do you have any experience with these courses (or do you know some who has) and are they as good as CS106A. Or should I get future experience elsewhere.

    • Natasha Murashev May 19, 2012 at 7:13 am #

      Hey, glad you like CS106A! Is your goal to be an iPhone / iPad developer? If you take CS106B, you should be good to go for the iPad/IPhone course (I personally tried it, and found it too difficult after just finishing CS106A).

      If you’re looking to become a web developer, thought, I’d recommend getting your future learning elsewhere, since the Stanford Courses are focused more on theory than practicality at times. Consider learning Ruby /Ruby on Rails or Python/Django. I can give you some good resources for that if that’s what you want to do.

  2. pw00ds May 19, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Thanks Natasha.

    For now it’s my goal to learn IOS development and maybe later also for os x. I do have just a few more questions:

    1: Is it worth taking CS107 if you want to become an IOS developer? In the CS193P course discription they say it’s “advised”.

    2: Do you know if IOS developing is similar to os x or would I need to take other courses or read other books?

    • Natasha Murashev May 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

      I’m not sure if CS107 is necessary for IOS development. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to get extra practice. I heard it wasn’t that necessary, but that’s not from experience. You can try out the iOS course after CS106B and see if you get it…

      I’m also not sure how similar OS X and IOS is, but I’m guessing there are some similarities. Sorry I don’t have all the answers – learning web development at the moment…

      You can also try out an iOS class on teamtreehouse.com and see if you can understand any of it!

  3. pw00ds May 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Thank you for your answers Natasha. I’ll think I try the CS107 class first. Since I’m only fifteen years old yet I think getting some extra experience could just be the right thing to do.

    Thanks for all of your help.

  4. kjd (@RundBox) June 12, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    Hey hey!

    I started learning Java like half a year ago, the basics. But then I realized that I wanted to program for iOS. Started slow with that, first read some books and tutorials about the programming language C, then jumped over to Objective-C (2.0 ,the one that apple uses), but I thought that I was missing something, some understanding of the language itself. So I looked around and found out that apple uses 2.0 of the language and that explained why I wasn’t getting everything.

    So I started to look for tutorials of the original version of objective-c and found some tutorials and books. Started reading those and followed, stuff was getting clearer. Then I jumped back to iOS again and still I don’t know why but I didn’t get everything. So I have been jumping back and forth some, but at the moment Im just reading tutorials of 2.0. Cause I read a lot of forums where they say how the best way to learn is. Some say C -> Obj-C -> Obj-C 2.0. Others say that you don’t need the two first and could just start with obj-c 2.0… ah well but anyways. Enough about me!

    I found your blog while searching for tutorials and stuff. And I envy you focus! I loose my focus sometimes and like “I will never learn, why bother?”, I know you need a lot of patience for being a programmer and I don’t lack patience.

    But my question I want to ask you is how do you do it? How could you stay so focused and determine ? 🙂

    If you’d like you can send me an email instead of answering her 🙂 If you don’t see it somewhere, even tho I wrote it down here in the details. (kjd__1@hotmail.com)

    bye for now ^_____^

    • Natasha Murashev June 12, 2012 at 6:31 am #

      Thanks for sharing your learning story. My advice is to make it impossible for yourself to quit. When I first started coding, it was really difficult and I wanted to quit. So I started this blog, told everyone I knew that I was learning to code, and started a study group.

      You just have to believe that if you continue to spend time on this, you will get it one day, and don’t quit no matter what. Also, try to have a project in mind that you’re planning to make and think about how you can apply what you’re learning to making that project.

      Best of luck!

  5. David W June 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    I found your blog while trying to solve the checkerboard problem in CS106a.
    (and I came to CS106a while trying to solve a problem in Harvard’s CS50 !!!).

    Thanks for all the codes.

    I have to say your code is pretty sophisticated for someone who is supposed to have watched just 3 lectures.

    (I’ve only watched 3 so far)

    Did you bring some prior experience to this particular problem?
    It doesn’t seem to be solvable based on just the few examples given in the videos.
    Or maybe it is and I wasn’t watching carefully enough?

    Thanks for any pointers.

    • Natasha Murashev June 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      Haha… thanks for the kind words. I remember it took me like 2 weeks to figure this one out, and I got a little help from a developer friend. The CS106A lectures are incredible 🙂

      • David W June 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

        that sounds about like what it would take!
        hardly a fair problem for a beginning student

    • Natasha Murashev June 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      It’s a weeder class, which means that the problems are way above the level of what you learn in class so students drop out 😦 After assignment 3 the class gets waaaay easier.

  6. David June 23, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    So Natasha’s advice is “skip the Karel problems, continue with the course, and you’ll be fine.”

    • Natasha Murashev June 23, 2012 at 8:13 am #

      David, that is absolutely NOT my advice. The Karel problems are the most important ones in the whole class. If you don’t do any other part of the class, figure out the Karel problems. They teach you how to think like a programmer without having to worry about all the little details of the language – I recommend them to everyone.

  7. David June 23, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Ah – I feared that would be so.
    At least I got the 8×8 checkerboard working.
    Now it’s just the special cases I have to implement (without copying your code)

    • Natasha Murashev June 23, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      David, it took me about 2 weeks to figure out that problem. I had to start over a few times. The key is to step away from the keyboard and write down what the program should be doing in english to fit the requirements. Then you can start over with your code.

  8. oxenboxen July 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    ive been reading your blog for the past 45 minutes! great stuff! I love your blog style, and was curious if you could help me get started on setting up your blog, maybe give a few pointers, thanks!

  9. Jenna August 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Hi Natasha,

    I found your blog from reading about your experience learning how to code on Women 2.0. It’s inspiring and I am actually trying to follow the same road as you – learning how to be the best software engineer i can be. I’m not a CS major but have been trying to learn on my own as well as taking classes whenever I can. Since I’m employed with a traveling job, I had to most recently withdraw from one of the programming classes I was taking, which frustrated me. But now that I see you recommend these free online Stanford classes, so I think I will give them a try. I also enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for sharing!

    • Natasha Murashev August 2, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Jenna! I’m glad to see you’re not giving up on your learning 🙂 Learning to code has been one of the most empowering experiences of my life. I’m starting to really really enjoy it, and it feels incredible! Keep me updated on your learning.

      • Jenna August 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

        Natasha, I’m thinking of applying to either Dev Bootcamp or Hackbright Academy, but I’m not sure which one – Ruby or Python. Do you have any suggestions or thoughts concerning your own experience with Dev Bootcamp? Please feel free to email me. Thanks!

      • Natasha Murashev August 7, 2012 at 7:11 am #

        Jenna – just emailed you 🙂 Hope we can talk!

  10. Liza Mueller August 31, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    I just saw your post on Women 2.0 and am totally inspired. I read that blog and a lot of other “women in technology” content and one thing that scares is that it will take me too long to learn to code. Sometimes it feels like everyone who codes started doing so when they were 14! I’m so excited to learn about that Stanford course – I’m downloading the course materials now. Did you study full time? If not, what is the best thing you did to keep yourself motivated through your self-directed learnings? Thank you!

    • Natasha Murashev August 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

      Hi Liza,

      You have your whole life ahead of you to learn to code, so don’t let the 14 year old coders out there scare you 🙂 You’re just starting out on at least a 10 year journey, take it slow and enjoy.

      I did a few months of studying full time, especially at Dev Bootcamp and during the holidays, but most of the time it was on the side. I just took it one step at a time.

      I’m very goal oriented, so having a project in mind really helped keep me motivated. I also had really supportive friends who helped guide me and encourage me through the process. Keeping a blog and going out to Meetups and telling others I’m learning to code held me very accountable as well. Here is a more detailed post on Women 2.0 that I wrote about my learning: http://www.women2.com/how-i-learned-to-code/.

      Here is a Wiki I wrote for the CS106A course, which requires about 10 hours per week: https://github.com/NatashaTheRobot/Stanford-CS-106A/wiki/Stanford-Introduction-To-Computer-Science-Programming-Methodology-CS106A-Class-Guide.

      I really hope you keep up the learning! Let me know if you need any more help!

  11. Moon Limb September 2, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Dear Natasha,

    I read your story on women 2.0. Congratulations on becoming software engineer!! I moved to SF in August, and I absolutely love the vibe here too. I am truly inspired by your story, and your determination and courage in learning coding through self-studies and developer boot camp. I am currently trying to follow a similar path. I began learning Python through Udacity around May, and will be learning more intensively through Hackbright Academy starting October. In time, I aspire to become a junior developer! If you have time, I would love to hear more about your experiences in person. Would you by chance have time for a coffee chat?

    Thank you in advance for your consideration!

    • Natasha Murashev September 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

      Hi Moon,

      Congratulations on getting into Hackbright Academy. I’ve heard really good things about their teaching style and atmosphere, and have met some of the students from the last cohort.

      I’d love to meet up! Send me an email to nmurashev at gmail, and we’ll set up time to chat 🙂


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