Learning to Code Journey

The first of July 2014 is an appropriate time as any for an update on my coding journey.

I’ve finished two tracks on Treehouse, Web Design and Front-end Web Development.  I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time the only way to properly describe it is using the following metaphor (or is it an analogy/simile/oh, who cares…) – I’ve come a 100 miles in the last month and a thousand in the last six months, but I know now I have a million miles to go.

I’ve started the WordPress Development track which means I finally started looking at some server-side language in PHP.

The absolutely amazing thing is seeing how HTML, CSS and Javascript fit together.  Then you throw in some Sass, along with jQuery and you start going.  But wait, there is more.  How about working from the command line and getting your Git on.  And then boom here comes PHP to build it out.

I’ve decided that my big picture learning plan will combing front-end (HTML/CSS/Javascript/jQuery) and WordPress in the middle (which I’m doing right now and will help me with some other blogs I manage) and close out with back-end stuff in PHP, Ruby (Rails), Python and touch on some MySQL and API work.

I know I should focus, but I’m a generalist in life and I figure why not shoot for that full-stack unicorn status. Maybe one bed will be too lumpy, but I have to sleep in it first to find out.

The main driver is just the wealth of resources available on Treehouse, Codecademy and the internet.  Google is indeed my friend.  I will consume everything they have to offer first and see what speaks to that little programmer in my head who whispers for loops in my head like “You can and will do this”.

The reader paying close attention will notice I left out mobile (Swift, anyone?).  I think I’ll get there, but I have so much to learn that I’m taking the tortoise approach and hoping slow and steady will win the race.

I also need to start building stuff, using Codepen and Github to show it off.  I won’t be that life-long learner that consumes knowledge, but doesn’t do anything worthwhile with it.  And the whole purpose of this exercise is to make a career pivot and that means building up my portfolio.

Finally, getting a feel for the rhythm of coding and seeing how the languages work together has been amazing.  Wait, I can use classes and id’s in jQuery???  Mind = blown.

At the same time I want to leave a learning road map behind me so anyone who wakes up one day at 40 (or 20, 30, any age really) might not make the mistakes I made and go down the wrong alleys I did as I create this part of my life.

And now, a story.  I played in a poker tournament once when I first started learning how to play cards and I won the thing.  The funny part is years later after I learned the “right” way to play poker I realized I would have never played the way I did in that first tournament.

I had forgotten what it was like to be a beginner and this site and these posts will be my breadcrumbs to not only those that come after me, but to my future, wise programmer self on what it took to learn a valuable skill with life happening all around me.

Speaking of life happening, the baby is crying, gotta go…