I’ve been crazy busy since the last time I wrote anything. Busy looking for work, deciding when I’m moving and when would be the best time to move to be closer to family and busy realizing that I’m working on making this web developing/designing (still unsure which) thing happen. In this state of busy-ness I’ve learned that the reason why it’s been so hard for me to learn on my own is because there is SO much information available and there are so many websites and things you want to read and follow all at once and honestly I just want to learn it all, read it all, experience it all but I am only one person with only so many hours in the day.
I joined Treehouse and did their HTML Course. I joined it. It was very linear an was easy to follow along. My only issue with it was that I didn’t feel I was being as active a participant as I was on Codecademy. Also, the instructor’s voice sounded like Kermit the frog, and made me sleepy. He’s not the only instructor, and I viewed other tutorials/videos and saw that I can learn a lot form this site.
I joined The Women’s Coding Collective and took their “HTML:Welcome to Tagville class.” I enjoyed it and actually did my first “webpage“. Don’t judge me, it’s not great, but it’s MINE. My only gripe with the class is that in my opinion, one subject didn’t flow into the next and although in their teaching method they provided other sites to check out, it just didn’t seem to… flow. That’s the best way I can phrase.
I did the free class trial at Codeschool. It’s very informative but for a newbie like myself, the technical terms are so new to me that when I watch their tutorials I have to stop and google what the terms mean in order to understand what is going on and what they are asking me in the challenge. I think once I master down the lingo, I can see myself learning a lot here.
I did Skillcrush‘s 10 day bootcamp and have been watching all the videos they have up on vimeo and youtube and I must say, if I had the cash to spend on their individual classes or their blueprint course I would sign up ina heartbeat!! Adda, the founder is so engaging, she provides so much information, she’s friendly and is simply amazing! The moment I get ANY extra cash, I’m taking her classes. They’re the ones I feel are the best fit for me and my learning style.
I also discovered Hackdesign.org and their lesson plan and I’ve been reading up on that. I also LOVE it! It’s been incredibly informative and I’m learning so much from them. I’m only up to lesson 2 and it seems it’s a lot of reading (which I love to do).
But 2 weeks ago I checked my email and saw that one of the online classes I had signed up for through edx.org was available and had commenced. It’s Harvard’s CS50X: Introduction to Computer Science. In the first 2 part hour long (each) lecture I finally understood the basics. I instantly fell in love with David Majan’s (the professor) teaching. HE makes it so that you can understand and visually SEE these concepts in a very easy regular life kind of way. I can’t explain it, but here is the first half of the lecture so that you can see what I’m talking about.
I’m working on the first problem set where I have to create something on Scratch, a flash-based program created by MIT where you can learn how to program in an easier way. I have a few ideas up my sleeves. In the next few days I’ll post it here.
Aside from illness and distractions, It was hard for me to understand and comprehend what I was learning throughout the first lesson.
I also learned about “confirm” and “prompt”. To describe a “Confirm”, the best example I can think of is when you are in the middle of typing a message or status update on Facebook and you don’t send it and you try to navigate from the page and you get a message asking if you’re sure you want to navigate away. You either press “OK” or “cancel”.
Prompt is when a little box pops up and… wait… as I’m writing this, I feel like a prompt is very similar to a Confirm. A prompt is an interactive box, asking for input. Similar to when you go on certain sites and a box pops up and asks “what’s your age” and you have to enter your age. You have to input information and dependent on what you enter, the next step happens.
I then learned there are different types of data:
- Numbers– you guessed it, 123456, etc. you use them for math.
- Strings– words, spaces, letters a-z and even numbers.
- Booleans– Can only determine true or false statements.
The thing with strings , you need to put them in quotation marks. you don’t with numbers. Booleans you use with If/Else statements.
I then learned about console.log which is the syntax to printout, or make it seen on the screen, what you want the viewer to see.
Next came If/Else statements. Despite the fact that most of the plans revolve around the If/Else statements I was just.not.getting.it. Maybe it was because I was sick, or because I was distracted and did this unit so slowly and doing an exercise or two and not coding for a day or more until the next time I came to it. It sucked. I kept having to go back and review what I had previously done. I had to reread instructions and at one point I redid OLD lessons just to get back into the rhythm of things. I felt so lost I just figured I wouldn’t have the abilities to do more than just front-end design. Was I destined to just know HTML/CSS?
I’m not going to lie, I kind of just went through the motions of the lessons and all the while in the back of my head I just kept asking myself “What IS this? How does this fit into the scheme of things? am I EVER going to understand this? WTF?!?!” I just kept hoping that somewhere along the way something would just click and the clouds would part and I could see and understand exactly what was happening.
That breakthrough sort of happened in Lesson 2. Lesson 2 uses most of what you learned in the previous lesson and you design a “Choose Your own Adventure” game. In the game Batman needs to go shopping and you use variable, if/else statements to navigate the game. It’s really cute and that’s where you can sort of understand the Why’s and How’s: why you have to define variables, Why and How console.log REALLY work together with the If/Else statements. I loved it.
I finished the HTML/CSS Web fundamentals on the website Codecademy. The final exam is to do a resume with <div>’s and color blocks.
This is what I was supposed to end up with:
I followed the instructions to a “T”. This is what I ended up with:
Um… not the same thing. I looked back on to the first page of the example and this is what the codecademy code looks like:
This is my code, following their instructions:
I reread every lesson and saw that they suggest you look at their code in the first page. I really wish I had read that.
What I was supposed to end up with…