Who are you? Where are you from and what is your backstory?
My name is Arthur Ampofo Brunner. I was born in Ghana, a West African Country. I come from a family of 4 children and my father was a teacher in a Senior high school. During my childhood, I was a hardworking student and I also used to represent my school in inter school quizzes and was the senior prefect during junior high until I graduated.
My achievements have taught me to be humble and hardworking, because in the end you can always be seen and rewarded. I say that because for the senior prefect position I held, the school voluntarily offered it to me. Personally, I also look out for people who show signs of hard work and try to motivate them.
What made you get into programming?
I started University in 2015 to major in computer science, during which time Android programming was on the agenda in the tech world and I was really keen to immerse myself in the coding of Android apps. There was a Korean drama that I used to watch about a guy who made a living by building mobile games and this motivated me to want to really get into app development. I needed to know Java to code android applications and so I spent all my nights watching Java tutorial videos and reading PDFs.
My journey into Java programming was not a smooth one and I wasted a year learning from the wrong sources. For example, after the first 6 months of learning Java, I came to realise that the version I had learnt was Java SE6, without knowing that Java SE8 had already launched, so I had to learn Java SE8 from scratch. I went on to read the Java 8 references which had no exercises nor projects to complete, so I had to purchase another book which contained exercises, a lot of code examples and mini projects and I started all over again - which took me another 4 months. I wanted to complete the tutorials as fast as could so I spent all my time coding. I lost appetite for food whenever I was in front of the computer and I had to put sugar into anything I ate before I could swallow it. At night I would lay awake thinking about how I could code things better as I had really immersed myself in wanting to complete my education in this new and sometimes frustrating area.
What made you create hedtell?
I developed a hedtell to teach fellow developers how to use the popular APIs that are available.
Alot of the API documentations are not easy to understand and use, some documentations are also confusing so I wanted to build something that would give a practical explanation of how this or that API works and how you can make use of them to achieve your aim whilst answering all your questions along the way.
What does your process for learning to code look like?
Any time I start to learn a new programming language, this is the method I use:
I go online to find the materials that promise to teach me the language COMPLETELY. If one resource says “How to learn this language in 2 weeks” and another resource says “How to learn this language in 6 months”, I go for the material that says “.....in 6 months”. My aim is to know the language fully without taking into consideration the length of time it will take for me to fully understand the material, as fast learning can often lead to mistakes.
The materials I mostly use are PDFs and tutorial videos. After I obtain these materials, I pick out the ones that promise to teach the latest version of the language. Amongst these chosen ones, I select the materials that contain exercises, mini codes, mini projects and a lot of coding examples. During the next step, I spend a week reviewing all of the chosen materials to identify the ones that explain the language concept best and then I choose this as my main resource to learn the language required. I find it easier to code by reading a PDF compared to watching a tutorial video, because with videos sometimes things can be overlooked or small tidbits can be missed depending on the pacing of the instructor.
When I get ready to code in the new language, I use more than one editor and over the course of time, identify which of the editors I find easiest and most enjoyable to use and stick with that one. I also spend A LOT OF TIME coding. I usually look to spend around 10 consecutive hours a day working on it. That is not a good thing though. But I realise that it is not something I force myself to do, but it is my love for coding and the determination to get it done that makes me forget that I even have to take a break and eat something.
What does your process for building apps look like?
I buy an empty exercise book for every new app I want to create. I then write in it why I want to build the app and why I think It would be possible to build the app to completion. Then I go online to study the designs of popular apps to see how user interface designs vary. From there I take this inspiration and draw the simplest user interface for my app in the exercise book.
After, I put the exercise book aside for a whole day without opening it. Then I come back to the book the next day and check the design I had drawn and ask myself if I think it still looks the way it did when I first originated it. If yes, I write down the list of all the resources I will need in order to complete the app’s development. If I have source code somewhere I can edit to build this app with faster, I use that code, and I write down the algorithm that would go into the building of the app. Then step by step, I code each line of the algorithm and test it. For every 50 lines of code I write, I check for errors thoroughly.
For each app I build, I aim to have it completed in one week , of course not all apps will take just one week, but that plan enables me to work towards my aim with ease. If at the end of the week I am not done with the app, I ask myself if I think it is still useful to continue building the app. If my answer is yes, I give myself one more week to complete it. I do this over and over again until I complete the app.
Do you face any particular challenges when building over a period of time?
One very big challenge is that you can never be sure that you will be able to fully build the product as you have imagined it , until you try. Sometimes, along the way you discover that you need certain tools or information that are not always immediately available. Another challenge is that the computer you are working with can break down without warning, when this happens there are expected delays in ensuring repairs which has been troublesome in the past.
Are you currently learning anything new?
Currently I am in my final year at university so I do not have additional time to learn new skills within this particular area. In the future I do intend to spend more time on the field of artificial intelligence. My final year project work is based in this field also, so I would like to spend some time acquiring new skills there.
Advice for those learning to code?
For someone new to coding, I would encourage you to enjoy it. Do not think that you are in a race by trying to learn too fast otherwise you will overlook skills detrimental to making you a wholesome coder. Also try to be patient; unlike what I do spending too much hours coding, I would advise you to spend moderate time coding, have fun, visit friends, go for walks and learn to step away from the computer once in a while to give your brain time to recharge.
Also choose materials that teach you the whole language and not only part of it. Practice a lot of exercises and projects. Join developer communities online and around your community. Online communities include ‘indehackers.com’, ‘news.ycombinator.com’, ‘stackoverflow’ etc. and other Slack and Telegram tech groups that are SOLELY meant for developers. Also do not shy away from seeking assistance. It might take a long time to become an advanced developer but that time will come. There will forever be market needs that you can build products for.
For the developers already in this journey, I would encourage you to continue to support the new developers. If you learn anything new, post it online for others to see and benefit from!
What’s your tech stack?
My favorite language is java.
eclipse IDE for coding java
Wing IDE for coding python
What have been influential books, resources and links that have helped you?
Slack groups like “Makers-kitchen.slack.com”, “marketerschat.slack.com” and ”SaasReality.slack.com” are great places to associate with other developers around the world. Telegram groups like “Shipstreams”, “Solo Founders” and “Beginner Creators” are great places to get feedback from fellow developers about the product you are building. Indiehackers.com is also a great place for you to meet other developers and get answers to your questions. W3schools.com to me is the best place online to learn web development.
Books such as “Disciplined Entrepreneurship”, “The lean startup”, “Zero to one” and “Startup CEO” are great books I have found to be so useful in my journey.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Links detailing your social media accounts, product links and also any shameless plugging you would like to do.
My twitter handle is @Tom05523443
Feel free to email me anytime at: [email protected]