Spinning My Wheels

For as much time as I spent working on my Python chops, I didn’t feel like I was getting a deeper understanding of OOP and its principles. I’ve since switched to Ruby, and it’s much better–I think? We’ll see. When I did preliminary research prior to the language change, the creator of Ruby indicated that he wanted OOP to be built-in, unlike Python, where it feels like an afterthought. I’m not going to pretend like I know what I’m talking about, but I do see more emphasis on objects and how they can be used all day, e’eryday.

I’m still working on various things related to JavaScript. JavaScript and I still aren’t friends, because it feels like it’s the “Beyond” section of Bed, Bath, and Beyond–it’s not strictly typed, but there are types, and things change from out beneath me, and you can do everything, but you can’t really outside these given rules, and goodness, it’s still taking me a lot of time to understand things that I’ve been working on for what feels like a long time. In addition to basic JavaScript, I’ve been working a bunch on Angular.js and jQuery. Free Code Camp is also going to cover Node.js and Express.js, so those are on the horizon.

Am I getting better at anything at all? It honestly doesn’t feel like it, and I’m glad that FCC makes you do projects, otherwise I would really have nothing at all to show for the work I’ve put in over the past year and a half or so. I began this development journey back in spring 2014, and wow, it’s been a lot longer than I thought and I’m still not where I want to be. Will I ever get there? I don’t know. I got a Skillcrush handout, and the advice was to start before you’re ready.

So I will. I hope to land two jobs, however small, by the end of the year. More would be better, but I just need to begin somewhere, and like the Irish say, well-begun is half done.

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A Quick Update

I’m enjoying Free Code Camp. Due to my prior work in (attempting) to learn web dev, I completed 111 Waypoints (in keeping with the camp theme, exercises are called Waypoints) before slowing down. The Waypoints are now challenging me, and though I think my code could use some work, I am being challenged and am learning many new things. Yesterday, I completed five Waypoints, which covered objects and their properties and arrays.

I have yet to touch The Odin Project, and it remains to be seen if I ever will. I might extract the Ruby portions and complete those, but I’d really rather spend my time on Python.

Progress!

I was getting to the point where I wasn’t sure where to go next. I surveyed the vast landscape called “learning to program,” and the amount of knowledge that I didn’t have was absolutely daunting.

Enter Free Code Camp and The Odin Project. These are full FREE programs for learning.

Free Code Camp is modeled after the various dev bootcamps that are springing up everywhere. You spend about 800 hours learning and 800 hours working on projects that benefit nonprofit organizations. At the end, you’ll have learned, created a portfolio to show future employers, and done good in the world.

That is pretty nifty.

The Odin Project is an open-source curriculum that claims to be a “proven path to successfully learn web development so you don’t have to wonder if you’re doing the right stuff or wasting your time” [emphasis mine].

The fact that I haven’t found either until now makes me question my ability to use Google.

BUT! It doesn’t matter now, because I have found them, and that is exciting to me, especially given how I was feeling as I wrote my last blog post.

Yes, I realize I wrote about a specific incident, but I would be lying if I said a good part of that uncertainty was because I put my own curriculum together (the blind leading the blind, anyone?). I wasn’t sure if I was learning the right thing at the right time.

I’ve been working through Free Code Camp for the past two days due to its emphasis on JavaScript. I’ve heard good things about The Odin Project, and the emphasis of that program is on Ruby. I don’t know if I should even start it, since I think it’s better to do one thing well, rather than doing two things haphazardly. I may give it a shot in the next couple of days.

I’m really excited.

When you have no idea where to start

I just completed the Object-Oriented JavaScript course at Udacity, and I decided to start the final project this afternoon. At first, I had no idea how to start, so I just dove in, because that usually works. I write a few lines, Google my questions, write some more, lather, rinse, and repeat, and after some time, I have something that works.

This time around, I just had no clue and no amount of Googling was helping me. It turns out I need to take the HTML5 Canvas course to be able to complete the project.

Oh. That explains why I can’t even ask the questions I need to do what I need to do.

Tired.

I’m so, so, so tired, and yet, I’m trying to show up every day.

To make a long story short, I’m deepening my skills in JavaScript using How to Learn JavaScript Properly, I’m working through the final few sections of Think Python, and I do projects in Codecademy to keep my syntax knowledge fresh. I’ve written one correct program for Project Euler, and I wrote another one that brought my computer to its knees, memory-wise. Udacity has taken a backseat, but I need to keep plugging along. Though the classes aren’t the best, I find that the exposure I get to various topics is invaluable.

Things got a bit hard; the time I have to study is short, the urgent-but-not-import distractions pop up ever more frequently, the things I’m learning are stretching my mind to the point where it is painful, and I just want to quit and be content with where I am now, but I’m still going to show up every day anyway.

I hope this works out.

What I Did, Volume 6

What I Did is a series that documents software development-related work I’ve done the previous week. As the old adage goes, that which is measured gets done, and there’s nothing like broadcasting to the world that you’ve done nothing to motivate the self, right?

This week felt weird. I don’t know how to describe it, but it felt like I did a lot of work with not a lot to show for it.

  • I spent a lot of time reading and taking notes on Think Python, not because I can’t write Python at all, but because of the theory behind the Python. I thought I would be working through this faster than I actually am, and at the end of the week, I had only made it through chapter 3.
  • I finished Udacity’s Responsive Web Design Fundamentals, which was a whirlwind tour of all things responsive (obviously). It was nice to see all the things that exist for making sites pretty and responsive, but I don’t feel like I got much out of the class that I could use (ten miles wide, less than an inch deep), but…
  • I began Udacity’s Responsive Images course, which is making me feel better about my inability to *do* anything after the overview course mentioned above. I’ve begun working with Grunt to automate image alterations, and I’ve installed RIOT and ImageMagick (which I will be learning how to use soon enough).

What’s next?

What I Did, Volume 4

What I Did is a series that documents software development-related work I’ve done the previous week. As the old adage goes, that which is measured gets done, and there’s nothing like broadcasting to the world that you’ve done nothing to motivate the self, right?

I am beyond thankful that this is a three-day weekend.

  • You know that SQL-to-RTF script I was doing and how I said I was done last week? I lied. It spilled over into the weekend, and it is currently in QA. I hope there will be no more changes and moves forward in the QA and delivery process.
  • On Udacity, I started Programming Foundations with Python. It’s a lower-level course, but it isn’t for complete beginners. I know my syntax, but I don’t feel comfortable with my grasp (or lack thereof) of object-oriented programming. This class focuses on that.

I meant to look up design ideas for this blog and the webpage that will serve as my portfolio, but I didn’t get around to that. That’s going on this week’s to-do list, along with my OOP course.