Recap: Follow Me from HTML Illiterate to Professional Programmer
In case you haven’t read Week 0 (about my preparation), I am currently a student at a programming bootcamp in the San Francisco Bay Area. I finished college a few months ago, but decided my business degree wasn’t going to let me do what I really wanted: to build rather than manage. This realization and my love for startups (and California) led me to begin working toward a career in software development.
Angular.js: I’ve been very interested in everything I’ve learned about the MEAN stack thus far, but with my focused interest in front-end development and how cool Angular is, it is definitely my favorite thus far. There are just so many things that can be done with it and it makes my code dynamic without forcing me to really even think about it.
Autodidactism: People in general learn in very different ways at very different speeds which can be frustrating at times – in fact, it was one of my lows last week. This week, though, we switched gears a bit and had more freedom to break away from the group and learn on my own. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am very much an independent learner, so this was freeing for me. I was able to slow down where I was confused and could speed through what I already knew, which resulted in a faster learning process. I wish I had more time for this while learning Node, but am very glad to have had the opportunity with Angular; I have been learning it a lot faster and am able to use it pretty well in my projects as well. Tip: I also plan on putting all this stuff on my Accredible profile. Employers definitely want to see what you have done, but if you’re new, it would also be nice to show them how you did it!
Individualized Projects: Speaking of projects, working on my own idea and figuring out how to solve issues with the code without an instructor’s help can be frustrating, but for me it has been an amazing learning experience. I am still working on the business card project I mentioned in last week’s update and have been incorporating Angular into it as I’ve been learning it. As a result, the app is cooler and I’m much better at using the technology! I figure having at least one major side project at all times will be my key to continuously learning the newest ‘hacks’ as a developer.
Cruise Control: Learning and using a brand new skill has always been thrilling to me in some ways. The process has its highs and lows, and I always end up on top when I have some new knowledge to show for it. Unfortunately, sometimes I just fall into cruise control when I am really just practicing and the thrill disappears for a while. This is an important part of mastering any skill, of course, but it is also a boring part. Those side projects I’m working on still pack a pretty thrilling punch, though, so I’ve just been using that to balance things out a bit.
Editing Bootstrap: Bootstrap provides customizable templates that make HTML and CSS much easier to use and as I have always said, it is one of my favorite development tools. However, for someone new to programming, Bootstrap is awfully difficult to edit. If it is in a minified file, it is pretty much impossible to find the right classes to append to the CSS file and even if it isn’t, BootStrap CSS is so big that finding the class one has been searching for is undeniably difficult. As much as I love Bootstrap, it definitely has its own pain-in-the-neck moments.
No Time to Write: Before I could write code, think about marketing strategy, or even use a computer properly, I was writing. Writing everything – from nonfiction to fiction to blogs – has been not only a hobby, but also my way of learning something new. Any time I want to learn a new concept, I write it down as a tutorial and end up teaching myself in the process. Not having any time to do this has therefore been a bit disappointing and something I would like to get back to as soon as possible. Needless to see, you guys will probably see a sudden flow of new blog posts after I’m done with these 9 weeks!
Living in the Bay Area: is probably only a wise idea for a multi-millionaire. Okay, that’s an exaggeration – but seriously, the hardest part of moving here to become a developer is trying to find a place to live after this bootcamp is over. Apartments fly off listings literally hours after they are posted, everything of even decent quality is mind-bogglingly expensive, and I don’t have a car since I just moved here. Solution? I have no idea yet.
Weird Hours: When I was in school, my average sleep schedule was 2-3 am to 7 am. Then I jumped back to a more normal 12am to 8am when I was working as a Digital Marketing Consultant (and wasn’t studying day in and day out). Then I decided to learn to code…and my average bedtime this week was 3:30 am. Luckily, I know this will probably regulate when I have a job and a more regular work schedule, but the irregular sleep made me crave naps all week. I actually made a mini-app that translates the word ‘nap’ into a whole bunch of different languages!
- Programming is not easy, but you will probably find some language or framework that you really love. Keep at it until you get there!
- Know how you learn best and don’t be afraid to create that ideal environment for yourself. You aren’t in grade school anymore where you have to do what the rest of your class does.
- Document your advances! Of course, post your projects to GitHub, but also put them on your personal website, LinkedIn profile, and on Accredible (where you can also post any supplementary MOOCs that you took and project a more well rounded view of your autodidactic education!).