One does not simply learn to code
One does not simply learn to code. Because coding isn’t easy. Coding is hard. Everyone knows that. Anyone who’s scoured a stack trace — or…
Getting into web development isn’t an easy thing to do
When you first decide this is something that you’re interested in, it’s almost impossible to know where or how to get started. Even after getting started it can be equally difficult to know which step to take next.
I am writing this to get the idea out of my head, but also to start a meaningful conversation with people in similar shoes. I’ll go over a little bit about myself and how I got into web development, as well as some things I’m doing to help me learn and stay focused.
It also doesn’t help that every other online coding course markets itself as being easy. Coding is easy, except for X and Y. Where X and Y are what make is difficult.
Learn how to troubleshoot
A little while after getting an iPhone I heard about a process called jailbreaking; it allows people to do cool stuff with their phones that Apple doesn’t approve of, and that was cool. Being the type of person who loves to tinker with things and customize them to my liking, I dove right in.
Years of following the jailbreak community and its host of super talented developers taught me how to think like a developer. It taught me how to be persistent when confronting failure, and to think outside the box when problem-solving.
These are essential skills when learning web development, often meaning the difference between success and failure.
Finding the right resources
Everyone is different, and no two people learn the same. Finding the right resources to learn is equally important as knowing how to work your way out of problems. If you aren’t much of a visual learner, then watching a YouTube video on how to make a website might not sink in as much as reading a book, or vice verse.
Here is an in-depth post from Code Girl that covers all of the different learning styles in relation to coding. She also provides some other coding resources, check it out if you’re looking for more.
If you are like me, you have tried dozens of courses and resources that promise you will learn to code quickly and easily. I’ve already…medium.com
I have found a conventional approach to teaching people to code is through projects, this lines up nicely with how I learn, by building things. A great example of this is freeCodeCamp, which is an entirely free nonprofit dedicated to teaching people how to learn front and back-end web development and more. The best part is that it is free!
Who doesn’t like free?
Frontend Developer Roadmap
In an exhaustive post, Kamran Ahmed goes over just about everything a beginner should know, and the ideal direction one should take as well.
The purpose of this roadmap is to give you an idea about the landscape and to guide you if you are confused about what to learn next and not to encourage you to learn what is hip and trendy. You should grow some understanding of why one tool would be better suited for some cases than the other and remember hip and trendy never means best suited for the job
Before we begin with this post, just to give you an idea about me and about this roadmap; I have been doing the Fullstack Development for…medium.com
A few other great resources I’ve found online
- Scrimba.com is an interactive video learning tool. It’s pretty amazing, go check it out, trust me.
- Github, in general, is fantastic, you can and probably should spend hours just looking through open source projects that are relevant to what you’d like to build.
- The web dev and web_design subreddits are also good, but it is Reddit so your mileage may vary.
Develop a realistic plan
Choosing the right projects to work on is essential for many reasons. If you immediately take on something out of the scope of your abilities, you’d be setting yourself up for failure, right out of the gate. You should also be interested in the thing you’re making.
Will you use the thing you are building? If not, then chances are not many others would as well. People learn better when they’re interested in the subject matter.
Another thing to think about is your environment, not just your development environment, although that is important as well. You must identify where you work the best, be it at home in your pajamas or at a busy coffee shop surrounded by noise and people. Do you work well in a clean space or a messy one?
For me, it depends on the project and my level of motivation, but there have been times when I needed to clean the whole house to start working on a project.
Managing your time, energy, and expectations
Learning to code is precisely like learning another language. Things like syntax, structure, and logic are not always obvious and can take a while to grasp.
Most people that are learning to code are doing it in the tiny amounts of free time they do have; either after work or during the wee hours of the morning. Spending any of this precious time cuts into your work-life balance, and can negatively affect your health. It can be beneficial to takes breaks and not stress yourself out, lest you get burned out and quit.
Your time has more than monetary value
The way I work on code related projects is mostly in bursts of energy and excitement and then in dribs and drabs here and there for a while. If I miss a few days or even a week of coding I don’t beat myself up about it. I am at least reading articles about web development and thinking about how I can apply it to my projects.
Sometimes I am just too tired to to bring myself to code, so I don’t.
“I learned X in Y and got a job in Z!”
It’s easy to get excited about these stories; they are a dime a dozen. While they are impressive and doable, they can give the wrong impression. It’s far from a typical example. Much more common is, “I tried to learn X and was confused by Y, I must be too Z to do this,” and then they quit, never to return.
The thing is, people don’t write articles about that.
Coding is hard, yet nothing worth learning is ever easy. Remembering why you are doing this can help ground you when getting lost.
Upon this rock, I will build my church ~ Some ancient dude
Your reason can be the rock from which you build your church, so to speak. Without a good enough reason, it can be easy to fold on your convictions and quit before you ever make any traction.
Okay, am I doing this right?
Source: Josh Pasholk, “Web Development – am I doing this right?”, blog.usejournal.com, May 22, 2018