Iris Classon
Iris Classon - In Love with Code

My first year of programming July 11 2011- July 12 2012

Iris Classon

Yesterday was a very special day for. Exactly one year had passed since I wrote my very first line of code, one year since I saw code for the first time in my life, one year since I completely and utterly fell in love with programming. It was love at first compile. I just knew me and this was meant to be!- And I have never looked back since. Learning everything from zero worried me, I was really clueless and was scared that I would never get even close to becoming a decent developer,- starting so late and without any previous experience with computers at all. But being so foolishly in love, I ignored those feelings, and promised myself to give it everything I had for at least two years, and see how far I could get. The good thing about starting at zero is that it is easy to measure how far you have come.

Here is my first year: (short summary)

July 2011: I make my first hello-world, a WPF app. I have no idea what I am doing

My first few lines of code

August 2011: School starts, I make my own virtual zoo in a console application and I am so proud of the result. I get a key to the school and come in at 8 am and stay until 10 pm every day. I set up a website and forum for the class, and a newsletter, so we can share code/solutions.

My first notes from school

Working on my first console application

The site I set up for the class

September 2011: First group assignment, we make a small CRM windows forms application. I start attending all .Net related events, such as Swedish .Net developer user group (Swenug). I join the school board.

The CRM program

Late September 2011: I make a WPF application using MVVM called dietitians dining tool. I join up on Stackoverflow and start asking questions and reading answers. I do get some down votes in the beginning he he. I start on my first windows phone application. Every night I fall asleep with a new programming book next to me.

WPF application, Dieatitian dining tool

October 2011: Second group assignment, we make a social mashup tool in WPF for mail, Facebook and Twitter. I start attending the classes that second year senior students take, and I ask the teacher for extra assignments (which he gladly gives me :P). The second year students take good care of me and share what they know, Jonas A. tells me about Pluralsight and I start watching tutorials every day, about two hours a day at least.

Our WPF social mashup tool

November 2011: After hardcore studying and coding, I feel confident enough to take my first Microsoft Certifications. I succeed, and I am thrilled!

70-511: TS: Windows Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework
Because of complaints from some of the senior students I am no longer allowed to sit with them during their evening classes. I ask my teacher if I can do internship a day a week instead and he is very supportive.

December 2011: Third group assignment, we make an image editing application. The group work is great, and we are extremely proud of the result. I spend Christmas vacation working with Silverlight and studying (to my parent’s frustration). I pass my third Microsoft exam, 70-506: TS: Silverlight 4, Development. I start my internship at Squeed, but change to DotNet Mentor after a few weeks as the projects they are working on are more suitable.

Our WPF image editing application

January 2012: I’ve joined up in about four user groups by now, and in school we have started with web development. It all makes sense to me, and I am so enthusiastic about it I find it hard to stop. I read a lot of books, watch even more tutorials, and write twice as much code. There is no stopping me, so I go ahead and book myself in on my third exam and pass it. 70-515: TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

February 2012: I want more challenges, and since I am ahead of the class the school allows me to go out on early full-time internship with a second year student. We get our own office at the school and we have a great time, Daniel W. is very skilled and patient and I learn a lot from him. We plan and hold a lecture for the class, he holds one about MVC4 attributes, and I about how to debug using firebug and web developer plugin in firefox. DotNet Mentor offers me a position as a fulltime consultant, and I am the happiest girl in the world! Of course I say yes!

The team at DotNet Mentor

March 2012: Me and Daniel W. attend a windows phone hackaton event, and win the competition with our Shake a Kitty app that we made in a few hours. We win a 3D computers screen (Daniel get the screen) and a ticket to Scandinavian developer conference (I get to go). Att Scandev I get to meet some Pluralsight authors I have been listening to, and it is a wonderful experience meeting so skilled developers. Later that month I take my fourth certificate: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4. The Shake a Kitty app is published, and seems fairly popular.

The shake a kitty app

April 2012: Time for final assignment before the class goes out on internship. It is an individual assignment this time, and I make a MVC4 Mobile first ajax based application. The app is a cooperation portal where you can add friends, chat, create groups, share files and ask questions and get answers on the forum. The app turns out great, and I am very proud. At the end of April I start fulltime at DotNet Mentor.

My MVC4 app, main page, logged in as administrator

The app on an IPhone

Mai 2012: Work borrows me a Mac as I am keen to learn how to use one, and to try to develop iPhone apps. After a week with the Mac I get my first iPhone app published, and at the same time also an android application. I used Appcelerator for both apps.

The android app

The iPhone app

June 2012: Pluralsight contacts me and invites me to NDC, Norwegian developer conference to do a video interview with me. I am thrilled, and soooo happy! NDC turns out to be some of the best days of my life and I get to meet the awesome Pluralsight team and help them out at the booth, I get to go to all the private dinners and meet all my heros – great dedicated developers with brilliant minds. And they are all so kind and welcoming, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!

Dinner time, friday

Pluralsight dinner at NDC 2012. Jaipur Indian Restaurant in Oslo, Norway. — with Megan Russell, Miguel A. Castro, Shay Friedman, Iris Daniela Classon, Hadi Hariri, Aaron Skonnard, Scott Allen, Udi Dahan, Guy Smith-Ferrier, Sahil Malik, Steve Woolley and Aaron Holt.

Late June 2012: Once I get home I start developing Metro apps, loving windows 8 and Metro. I’ve attended about 5 presentations on the subject, - and a 12 h virtual training session.
I get invited to an App Excellence lab in Stockholm where I get to show my Metro app and receive one-on-one advice from passionate Microsoft devs. The lab was truly inspiring, and the Metro app is turning out great. I am dead set on getting a Windows Store token.

Sampling colors for my Metro app (it looks completly different now btw)

Loving win8 and VS2012

July 2012: I start answering questions on Stackoverflow (just a few really, I’m still scared haha) and MSDN and started blogging more about programming sharing example apps that I’ve made. I attended the three day Microsoft seminar SommarKollo and liked it. On my one-year anniversary as a developer I take my fifth, and my first Pro Certification, Pro exam Designing & Developing Windows Phone applications.

The journey of Iris Classon continues :) - and I don’t mind a bit of a walk. The way I see it, I got my heels on and I am going from a party to another.

And here I am today! It has been an amazing year, and I’ve given it all I have. I have never worked so hard in my life, but I’ve never had so much fun either. I feel blessed getting to meet so many fantastic people, and I keep meeting people like that every day. Now and then there are idiots that try to put me down, but I don’t care about them. They got issues that do not concern me. I know I have the support of the devs I admire, and I never feel alone,- and that’s what matters. What I do hope, is that I can inspire others and give back to the very helpful community.

Now starts the second year of my journey, and I have no plans of slowing down. Let’s see how much crazy stuff I can do during my next year as a developer! It is going to be such a great ride :D !


Leave a comment below, or by email.
Comic Book Guy
7/16/2012 8:19:58 AM
Hottest developer ever!!!! 
Iris Classon
7/17/2012 2:05:36 AM
Thank you, although I'm not sure about the title, I've seen many pretty devs out there :) But thank you for the compliment :) 
Comic Book Guy
7/18/2012 1:57:14 AM
Send them our way. There's way too much testosterone here. Too many cock jokes and poop jokes. I haven't seen a female developer for 7 years and only 1 in 10 years. Maybe they're all in Norway, Romania, France, Denmark, Australia and Sweden. 
Eder Weber
7/19/2012 8:32:31 AM
Gosh, your post makes me feel so inadequate! ;-) LOL

I've been a developer for 6 years and my accomplishments pale in comparison to how much amazing stuff you've done in your first year. This post inspires me to push harder and know just how much can be accomplished in a short amount of time with focus and love for your craft. Thank you for sharing your experience and wish you continued success in our community! 
Alexander Strebkov
7/20/2012 1:13:58 AM
I'm inspired by your story. Thank you for it.

I have been doing developing for 3 years:
1 - I was reading books.
2 - I used to be a junior developer.
3 - Now I am senior developer.

After reading this story I about to try hard. I hope I'll reach even more.

P.S.: I want to code with you :) 
7/20/2012 1:54:29 AM
Well done :) You've learnt more in your first year then some people do in five. I thought this was a very motivating blog post. 
7/20/2012 3:06:52 AM
Comic Book Guy - maybe there aren't any female developers where you are because when you're shown one, all you can do is reduce them to an object, rather than congratulate their achievements as a person. It'd certainly put me off wanting to work with you. 
7/20/2012 10:27:44 AM
so proud of your achievements my friend, you aim high and work hard to reach your goals. So proud of you and I'm excited about the future ahead :)

Keep on rocking my lovely nerd!


Pixel Nerd ;) 
7/20/2012 3:42:56 PM
There is something I like to call "The programmer's gene". Some people were meant to write code and it comes naturally to them. Judging by your achievements in the past year I think you have the programmer's gene :) Keep it up ! 
Mr Dean
7/22/2012 12:31:44 AM

Just finished reading this and feel thoroughly inadequate. I started about  six months before you from the same blank canvas. Totally nowhere near matching your achievements, many congratulations.

I blame my daughter for holding me back, how very selfish of her ;-)

Keep up the excellent, inspiring work.

A jealous Mr Dean. 
Scott Cate
7/23/2012 11:16:31 PM
Nice job. I have always said, do what you love and someone will pay you for it. The hard part is finding your passion, and it looks like you have found it. The rest is easy. Now it's about having fun. You'll never stop learning because the technology continues to outpace you.

Learn. build. Share.

Aaron Skonnard
7/26/2012 7:14:55 AM
Way to go, Iris! 
Dominic Mary
7/26/2012 7:38:12 AM
Simply inspiring. Way to go Iris. *wink* 
Oscar Thornell
7/26/2012 12:14:00 PM
Amazing accomplishment in just one year! You just go girl! :-) 
7/26/2012 12:39:20 PM

I am feeling very inspired by going through ur matter and happy for you at the same time. I am a .net dev and really want to start developing mobile apps but could you please share how you did you manage to work on so many platforms within so small timeframe.

Thanks and best wishes. :) 
7/27/2012 6:35:54 AM
Very Nice! 
7/27/2012 6:59:29 AM
Hottest developer ever!!!!
... and here we have the reason so many women shy away from development ... grow up ... leg humpers ae an unwelcome breed in tech ... more so every day. Keep up the good work Iris and inspire your geek sisters to do the same :)
7/28/2012 12:23:31 AM
Wow! It was a pleasure meeting you at NDC. I had no idea you were a first year programmer which is a testament to your dedication and hard work. So impressed! 
Richard Hein
7/28/2012 9:25:50 AM
Impressive and inspiring story!  Great passion, intelligence and creativity ... congrats on year 1! 
7/28/2012 12:06:35 PM
The best way to learn software development is to write working software. You've written a lot of non-trivial apps already and it's only been one year. The most important thing for you is to just keep up the pace and keep trying new things. Congratulations on your anniversary, I just had my 15th year anniversary from when I started coding and I can tell you it only gets better every year! 
Chad Carter
7/29/2012 7:48:39 PM
Congratulations on your first year of writing software.  Fantastic article.  I wish I had kept a log over these past 22 years.  The interesting thing is you have more modern tech under your belt than most folks I know that have been writing code for a decade.  It is so great to see someone passionate about programming.  Being able to create something that people use every day is extremely fun.

This has been one of my wallpaper images for a while.  You may like it.

Taken from:

Again, congrats on your first year and I wish you the best in the rest of your journey! 
7/30/2012 12:55:38 AM
Quite impressive and inspiring, nice :) 
7/30/2012 1:25:47 AM
So why did you pick up software development if you hadn't seen a line of code before? 
7/30/2012 2:00:03 AM
Awesome! really inspiring and iconoclastic (because devs like you  shatter the long held and common misconception that girls tend to stay away from programming and nerd stuff). Keep it on! 
7/30/2012 2:45:05 AM
I think i just fell in love :))
Great story i'm sure next year will be even better :)
Alex S
7/30/2012 3:14:24 AM
Wow impressive work, when you like what your doing you can move mountains. 
7/30/2012 3:34:56 AM
Congratulations from Italy! :) 
Paulo Gomes
7/30/2012 4:16:05 AM
Clearly this is fake. There no such things as hot female developers... that's a myth!
I have tenths of guys in the office, and the few girls around, are...well... guys! 
Peter Monks
7/30/2012 5:23:49 AM
This is an inspiring post and is proof that women like you and kellabyte - and no doubt many others - can have just as much passion for programming as us guys, if not more so. Keep that passion going! 
Christian Sciberras
7/30/2012 6:07:35 AM
Welcome aboard ma'am.

As some already said, I'd like to add my opinion that the IT industry needs more women. 
Saeed Amrollahi
7/30/2012 6:49:31 AM
What about C++? Among .NET programming languages (VB, C#, F# and C++), did you write C++ codes? 
7/30/2012 6:52:16 AM
You must be photoshopped! If not will Adobe take back my copy as I have no need of it, just more images of you? 
7/30/2012 6:53:43 AM
All devs should be as good and committed as you, congratulations!

BTW, will you marry me?

...the Atlantic Ocean is not an issue anymore... 
Nate Thornton
7/30/2012 7:55:34 AM
Great job, keep working hard and I'm sure we'll see your name in a book or presentation at a dev conference somewhere. 
7/30/2012 10:35:50 AM
Uhhh...what just hit me? 
ahad porkar
7/30/2012 10:38:25 AM
wow ... come on .... please stop programming....go out side :D live ur life happy !!!! :D 
TM Wender
7/30/2012 11:38:42 AM
Back in the dawn of IT (1971, the RDBMS had barely been described and never really executed!) I started in programming. My first job involved programming a system that consolidated branch transactions onto 8 in. disks. The disks were then delivered by motorcycle to the home office every night!

In your career you will again and again tackle new systems. You will find that its the ability to produce quickly in a new system that is most important. The tech is always changing.

Imagine being handed the documentation for .NET on Friday and being asked to produce useful code on Monday. I've faced that situation with each new generation of systems tech, as will you! 
Sean Payne
7/30/2012 1:52:10 PM
Congratulations on all your success! You are truly an inspiration!

I've been writing code since I was 13 (professionally for 5 years now), but never was I able to gain as much as you in such a short period of time (area in which I grew up and lack of funds to seek out resources). In a way, I am a little jealous that you have been able to gain so much in such a little bit of time, but you, Kellabyte and @DelightfulDev serve as inspiration for me to accelerate my learning.

Again, congratulations! 
7/30/2012 4:16:46 PM
It was love at first compile ...

7/30/2012 4:18:59 PM
7/30/2012 7:16:12 PM
Truly inspiring.  Thanks for reminding me to go take those exams :) 
7/30/2012 10:09:28 PM
Wow. Marry me please. 
7/31/2012 1:37:41 AM
Kudos thats a lot toget done in a year. Better than me who was messing about half of the time at college :) Quick question, what color sampling app is that your using? 
7/31/2012 2:14:46 AM
I am a programming book, you can fall asleep next to me! 
7/31/2012 7:41:16 AM
the world certainly needs more hot coders like you. :)
hope you continue enjoying coding throughout the years. 
7/31/2012 9:00:55 AM
Wonderful skill acquisition. 
Ah Yah
7/31/2012 1:32:19 PM
Why was my comment deleted?

It said: 'Can't anyone see that this is a Microsoft ad from start to finish?'

It's all just a little bit too good to be true, isn't it? 
Iris Classon
7/31/2012 2:04:46 PM
Reply to: Ah Yah
Ah Yah, I deleted that comment because it pissed me off to be honest. This is not an ad, I'm not paid or sponsored by Microsoft and I have done everything I wrote about in the post. If you don't believe it then it's you problem - but I don't have to take shit like from you. Ask anybody that knows me, I am a hard worker and I've worked pretty darn hard to get to this point. One of the reasons I've made it this far is because I've ignored people like you and seeked out support from people like the ones that have commented above. 
Call my boss at and ask if you think this is fake, or why don't you ask me yourself, Im on twitter like the rest of the world. Im quite open and honest about me, my journey and skills,-   If you have a question ask. But don't accuse me for being fake, or any other shit. Thank you. 
8/1/2012 1:32:09 AM
Awesome very inspiring to say the least. 

You have just motivated me to do start working better, learning something new everyday and get those illuded certifications (you learn a lot from them). Kudos to you!

You just made my day. :) 
8/1/2012 1:59:56 AM
seriously what color sampler is that you were using in one of your pics with the metro app? Link Please 
8/1/2012 4:34:33 AM
Like your comment 46


PS : Can you please delete my comment 48, tks, cheers ! 
Raynald Serenas
8/1/2012 7:32:52 AM
thanks to your blog... it help me to burst my desired to became a programmer like you, because of your story, i need to study hard....hehehe thanks again.... 
8/2/2012 9:22:32 AM
Dear Miss Classon, 
   I read your journey with interest and I'd like to congratulate you on you passion and excitement regarding the world of software development. For the rest of the world - software development is often considered as just another job and software developers are thought of as sort of intelligent typists. 
    But for those of us who immerse ourselves in it - it is a lifestyle, a calling. I see your excitement about your first programs and I am reminded of my own experiences typing long sequences of Basic at a Commodore 64 just to see the screen draw some geometric shapes in various colors. It is not so much the program but rather the recognition of the potential it promised that hooked me.
    I'd like to welcome you to the world of programming and encourage you to explore beyond the sheltered waters of MSDN - there is whole lot more to software development than Microsoft certifications (though they are a good start...) -

8/2/2012 7:04:37 PM
This sounds a bit like me when I was learning to be a developer in the mid 90's.  The problem is that the skills learned today will be obsolete in a few years, and you will get burned out having to relearn how to do conceptually the same thing.

Oh, and the author is bar far the sexiest (female) developer I have ever seen. 
Flavio Cortes
8/9/2012 9:44:01 AM
In fact if I'm not impressed with the good work with your figure or spectacular a combination hard to find beautiful and intelligent 
Carl Hamlet
8/14/2012 1:25:00 AM
Simply amazing what you have achieved in a single year, very well done. 
8/31/2012 9:44:33 AM
Your notes from school are so beautiful.  Using multiple colors is very effective. 
9/1/2012 8:32:12 AM
Came here to say you're hot. Now leaving. 
9/4/2012 9:15:11 AM
Hey Iris,

Congratulations and welcome to the club! I've been writing code and documentation for decades, and the quest to learn is never ending. I find it heartening to read how you bootstrapped yourself up into this profession. It shows that you need not start in the cradle, but when you have an itch that cannot be scratched any other way. Did you always have this intellectual curiosity? Were you always the kid in class who drove your classmates nuts because you wanted to learn more? I have a feeling you are that person.

Let me know if you ever get to the Seattle area. My wife, daughter, and I hosted a Norwegian student (yeah Victoria!) about 5 years ago and she was awesome.

doug in Seattle 
Steve from Canada
9/5/2012 7:56:04 PM
Hi Iris,
someone once told me that the difference between a student and a master (of any art)  is love of the art. I think in the end programming is an art and you are on your way to mastery. You've accomplished so much in a short time , amazing ! 
9/23/2012 1:18:00 AM
Lady, you're awesome. Accept my respect :) 
Gareth Bradley
11/11/2012 1:46:12 PM
Fecking awesome Iris and congratulations. You are an inspiration to new and old (me!) programmers around the world.

Now i would love to see more Github Repos from you......? :) 
11/15/2012 8:57:14 AM
The last picture of this post is my favourite deskop "back"ground! ;) 
3/7/2013 5:10:35 AM
Iris nice post.
I congratz you keep it up. I also agree with Technikhil.
There is a big world out there and you should take a look at how big it is.
I admire your passion and for what u achieved in 1 year.
And a woman also in our world this is a rare site.

I have one thing to say to u:
Welcome into our world 
10/18/2013 12:32:21 PM
10/24/2013 5:09:15 AM
You are my true inspiration Iris... 
I am super glad I came across your course - "Learn to Program -  Being a better programmer"  and I came to know about you... 
I really admire you for your hardwork! 
2/16/2014 8:40:19 PM
Amazing story!! I'm on a journey to become a web developer myself!  Spent time doing a biology degree found out it wasn't a match and then did some time in the miltary, and now i'm in school for a computer science degree while teaching myself to become a developer!! 

It has been overwhelming but worth every minute!! thanks for the additional inspiration iris! 
1/19/2014 2:11:18 AM
omg are you real?

I will follow and achieve my dreams. thanks for reminding me.

you goddess, you. 
Iris Classon
2/17/2014 8:11:56 AM
Reply to: won
Thank you so much for sharing that, we need more of those stories! - also thank you for the kind words. 

Ping me anytime if you need to went, or just talk ( @irisclasson ) . Enjoy a fantastic journey! 
Vincent Vancalbergh
5/20/2014 5:19:02 AM
An inspiration for aspiring programmers. Your passion and dedication for coding is an example. 
7/4/2014 7:10:34 AM

did you start off by learning c# ? I'm thinking to start with that and then learn from there. 


6/23/2014 1:12:41 AM
Your achievements in such a short time really bring a lot of shame to this computer guy with an experience of over 9 years. Thanks for the much needed embarrassment! 
7/16/2014 1:05:30 AM
Reply to: Abhi
How do I remove this comment? It could be interpreted in a wrong way. I just wanted to compliment you. Can you please remove it? Thanks. 
ankit mnattri
8/20/2014 12:13:01 AM
can we download this kind of application with source code? 
11/8/2014 12:32:32 PM
Loved your course on Pluralsight - Universal Apps with c# and xaml!
Gave it 5 stars - I hope it registered my review correctly. 
Iris Classon
11/10/2014 4:41:50 PM
Reply to: andreas
I hope so too :D Thank you! 
11/20/2014 12:26:30 AM
It's amazing to see how you managed from "not knowing what code even is" to get invited by Pluralsight (!) and meet amazing people like Phil! Stunning :) 
11/20/2014 12:26:29 AM
It's amazing to see how you managed from "not knowing what code even is" to get invited by Pluralsight (!) and meet amazing people like Phil! Stunning :) 
Tu Nguyen
6/10/2015 9:58:09 AM
Amazing journey! OMG, I thought I fell in love with you... 
11/12/2015 8:39:48 AM
I know its a while since this was posted but I'm about to start on a similar journey and this has certainly motivated me. Admittedly, I am not a complete newbie - I am an engineer of a different discipline and I also regularly hack scripts together for my work. 

I hope to start blogging more on the topic and keeping a record of my learning week by week. 
Good luck with your further learning! 

Last modified on 2012-07-13

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