Learning to Code – 4/12/14

I finished the HTML piece of my Web Design track last Friday.  So long @nickrp, you will be missed.  Treehouse is my defacto training source currently, as I’ve been away from Codecademy for a few weeks now.  I think the short (5-10 minute) videos on Treehouse, along with the quizzes and objective challenges are great for those short bursts of time where I can focus, complete something and then move on.

I continue building my library of coding books, technology books, design books and business narratives.  I finished 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know last week.  I’ll try do to at least a short review of every book I read.  97 Things seemed more geared toward an experienced programmer, but as part of my immersion program I’ll read everything and anything I can get my hands on.

I’m going to try to build out my lesson plan section of this site to include all the websites, tutorials, books, podcasts and whatever else I’m finding useful on my coding journey.  I know personally that there is so much material out there that just knowing where to jump in is a big decision itself.  I want to make that decision easier for others.

Finally, I heard a great interview on Dann Berg’s Novice No Longer Podcast with Steve Young (no, not that Steve Young sports fans) from Mobile App Chat.  Steve talked about wanting to start a podcast for a long time, but it wasn’t until he just booked a guest that he figured out what he had to do to actually record a podcast.  I loved that he just jumped in and it was either sink or swim.

He also talked about going from someone with a passion for a subject to an expert just by hanging out and interviewing other experts in the field.  I have no designs to start a podcast, but that mindset can be helpful in so many ways when we are trying to go from beginner to pro.

That’s it for now.  I’ll try to post more, even if they are shorter updates.  

My coding journey continues and I wish you all the best on yours.

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Learning to Code – 3/25/14

So I’m a few weeks into my coding journey and here is my latest update:

GOING GREAT

  • Codecademy and Treehouse are great resources and their material, and especially their different methods of teaching, are proving useful and have kept me interested.
  • I’ve been listening to great podcasts that have helped with my immersion program.  The deep technical conversations lose me, but overall they are worth the effort.  The biggest take away has been the realization that although coders are capable of amazing things, they are still people like me.  Hearing Mark Otto of Bootstrap fame tell Jeffrey Zeldman that he feels intimidated by Javascript (or something to that affect) actually made my day.  Maybe my week.
  • I’m reading great books on coding, which I will add to my Lesson Plan page, and the few times when I read something and have not only heard of it before, but understand it, is such a great feeling.

COULD BE BETTER

  • There have been more days than I’m comfortable with when I haven’t done any studying.  The Treehouse blog had a post recently where they talked about keys to remembering the code you are learning.  I kept thinking you have to learn it first before you worry about forgetting it.  What I keep in mind is with a full-time job, a six-month old at home and other responsibilities, there will be days when I can’t stick to my learning plan.  I just need to remember we find time for those things we value, and I value learning how to code.
  • I used a great video from Dash that walked me through setting up a website on Bit Balloon just by dragging your site files over.  I used it to build my Mom’s retirement party site, but I haven’t cleaned it up enough to share it with others.  I keep waiting for this mythical block of a few hours to show up so I can sit down and totally focus on it.  I just need to work on it in bits and pieces and ship it already.
  • HTML and CSS are making sense.  Javascript I understand after clicking the help button on Codecademy, but I need to stop using that crutch.
  • I want to blog everyday about my journey, and I would if I accepted the fact that every post doesn’t have to be a world-altering manifesto.  I love reading about other’s journeys in learning to code and that is what I need to remember.  It is the journey that counts and it is my journey that could have value to those that come after me.