Learning to code…

About two years ago I decided to make a fairly significant change to my career trajectory and start preparing to leave the military. I went through a few different options, starting with Electrical Engineering, then moved on to Software Engineering, both through traditional university programs online. After about a year or so of taking traditional courses towards a second degree, I realized that it really just did not fit my lifestyle, that of a military work schedule with a working wife and two kids at home. I needed a considerable amount more flexibility in my learning and so I began to look around for the answer to what I was looking for.

That answer was freeCodeCamp initially. I really liked the idea of having a structured way of learning to code without the hard deadlines. On top of that you could work on a real project once you learned the basics, for a nonprofit. I loved the fact that you build something that would help someone who needed it while getting real experience. And I cannot emphasize this enough, no hard deadlines, a must for learning a new skill at this point in my life.

I have really enjoyed it for the most part. You can work on problems they give you to solve in a fairly structured manner, and you can utilize a live chat room or forums to help if you get stuck, which I absolutely did on a few things. I made it through all of their HTML and CSS lessons and two of their projects, one of which was a portfolio page which helped to open my eyes somewhat to how much thinking is needed before putting down any code, and then more thinking and more coding, and so on…

I then moved on to freeCodeCamp’s JavaScript lessons. I was cruising right along through most of them and then I ran into a brick wall when I got into the meat and potatoes of arrays (may be a good place to mention that arrays gave me a lot of trouble when I began learning Java as well). From there I went to YouTube in search of additional guidance with some mild success. It was right about now that it kind of clicked with me, what was missing from freeCodeCamp’s repertoire, video tutorials, a walk through and a “why” you were supposed to do what you were doing.

During my time attempting to fumble my way through learning JavaScript arrays I had the good fortune to talk with my cousin’s husband a number of times who is already an experience developer. He gave me a lot of support and ended up suggesting a few courses on Udemy. At the time, they were having a sale on several courses and I decided that it was time to put some money into my coding education. I guess that the $10 sale price on the $200 course helped me take the plunge, that along with the 30 day money back guarantee.

I ended up choosing “The Web Developer Bootcamp” by Colt Steele who has instructed very successful coding bootcamps that ranged from $14-21,000. I honestly haven’t checked that but I don’t really have a reason not to believe it. So far it has been pretty great, the big difference has been that he gives you the “why” instead of just giving you the “here’s what you do”.

I think that that is where I will end my first post. Next time I will go a little further into the difference between freeCodeCamp and “The Web Developer Bootcamp”.

~Until next time, Squatch Out~




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