Hacking My (Dot) Life

By George, I think she’s got it.

Holy crap!  I did this example without even using the “hint”. 

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Long story, short: decided to redo the javascript level in codecademy.  To be fair, I should note I had only completed 23%, and the last 5% of that had been me being frustrated for hours, going into the Q & and finding the answers.   So happy I decided to redo this.  It’s finally clicking!  Oh, and sorry about the crappy cell phone pic.  I didn’t want to jump into the actual WordPress site and make this all perfect.  Back to coding.

The new plan…

This is the new plan… I’m not sure where my career is going.  Right now I have a possible job offer coming soon and maybe two interviews coming up *fingers crossed*.

I’ve inquired about a few coding boot-camps, but will do the FullStack Academy’s  Road to Code Guide Book (available as a PDF when you request more information from their site), prior to committing to anything.  I was originally planning to work on Flatiron School’s  Web Development Prework Guide.   I chose Fullstack’s prework course first pretty much because it was laid out in a neater/more legible format. Afterwards, I complete that, I will go over Flatiron’s prework and see what else is there that I can use to supplement my learning.

 

I have to see if I get placed in the NYPL learning to code program.  I would love to be chosen, but after today’s events I just want to jump in to coding with reckless abandon.  I don’t know how well-paced of a pace I want.  This feels very much like a part of my destiny.  Everything that’s happened to me in the past year has led me to this crossroad I am at today.  I know it  sounds crazy, but… this is the dream.  I’m living it.  I have bills and debts, I’ll be jobless pretty soon and it sucks because I’m literally living paycheck to paycheck, but I’m not worried and I’m not stressed out.

I’m excited and hopeful and motivated and also sleepy.  It’s almost 3:30 am.  I have to be up in less than 3 hours.

I’ll be dreaming in Photoshop, designing the rest of the summer…

When life hands you lemonade…

You learn to program.  Just got a text from my boss saying that we’re downsizing and with that… an employee has to go.  I got the unlucky straw.  I’m not upset or sad as we had discussed this in the past few weeks. 

The past few weeks I’ve felt like something was changing for me,  like a cycle wad over.  Last night I started feeling like my life was at a crossroads and this morning I get this news. 

It’s scary.  I’m scared but I also feel at peace, and excited and very hopeful for my future.   I’m going to jump into javascript and apply to some of these coding bootcamps I was looking into applying for a few months down the line.  Who would have thought I’d be applying sooner than later? 

Too much info…

I feel burned out just doing research and reading.   I just came to the conclusion that I’m solely going to focus on html and css for the next 4 weeks or so. I’m not going to stress javascript or wondering if I should do python or ruby.  I’m just going to read this book and try as hard as I can to not read any blogs/sites and not go overboard. 

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Not stalled this time, just busy, busy, busy

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.

So far I’ve done Codecademy‘s HTML/CSS course, which I loved.  I have completed 23% of the Javascript course.  I don’t know if it’s me or the program but I just don’t get it.  I don’t understand WHY things are a certain way.  It’s like learning to speak another language. Oh, wait, it is.

 

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).

 

Yesterday I signed up with the New York Public Library’s new pilot program, “Project_<code>” which teaches adults how to code.  It’s an 8 week, 2 hours per class, 2 classes a week program.  I’ll be tested next Tuesday to see if I am eligible to be art of the program and if I am, I go on a list and see if there’s space for me at the time and location I choose.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed I get in.  I’m so excited to learn with others.  They will teach HTML, CSS and intro to Javascript.  By the end of the course you will have completed a personal site for your portfolio and a group site for a local business.  I can’t wait!  *Fingers Crossed*

 

^_^

Stalled.

I feel like I’ve been MIA from it all, but I really haven’t.  I got stuck when learning Javascript and just kind of…stalled. For a week or two I was just checking out youtube videos and checking out blogs that would explain Javascript and see if something would “click” for me (not much of it did).

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.

Beginning JavaScript

I haven’t coded as much as I’d wanted to in the past few days.  Work, getting sick, family members getting sick made it hard to really sit down and just focus.  It took me a few days to complete the first 2 lesson in the Introduction to Javascript section from Codecademy.  This first lesson contained 28 parts. the second section only 7.

Aside from illness and distractions, It was hard for me to understand and comprehend what I was learning throughout the first lesson.

The first lesson makes you just jump in.  It starts showing you little tricks and what Javascript is all about.  You can do simple math in/within/with the console (which is, I’m assuming, Javascript itself.  But writing random words, the example they used being “eggplant”, won’t work and will give you an error message, as it’s not part of the Javascript language.

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?

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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.

ChooseAdventre

I don’t think I had this much trouble with the HTML/CSS lessons because I already understood what they were, and I had done HTML in the past.   With Javascript, I threw myself in and I didn’t even know what  exactly Javascript is.  I wasn’t exactly sure what Javascript did or in what ways it was “interactive”.  I still don’t fully know all of Javascript’s potential or even looking at a site if what I am looking at contains Javascript but, I guess that’s what this learning thing is all about.

I liked the beginner lesson.  The only thing I would suggest would be for a definition other than “Javascript is interactive”.  That doesn’t mean ANYTHING to someone who has no idea what it IS.  Also, I wish the lesson was a bit more linear. It felt like we learned string and numbers and then Booleans and then went back to math.  I think I may just be a bit finicky and might just be that i have a different learning style. It finally clicked, so I guess it’s not a big deal.  The website was a bit buggy with a few exercises and I had to open a new window and paste my code in order for things to go through.  Very frustrating and prior to finding out I had to do this I lost 2 hours thinking my code was incorrect.  I’m so thankful for the Q&A forums, if not I might still be trying to find an error.  Another thing I wish I knew and might just have to research and maybe learn this elsewhere is: Is there a CORRECT way/standard to lay out your code so that it’s neat and legible?

HTML/CSS Fundamentals Completed

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:

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I followed the instructions to a “T”.  This is what I ended up with:

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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:

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This is my code, following their instructions:

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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.

I want to go back and redo it the proper way, as there is an internship I would like to apply to, to get my foot in the door of web development; but then I noticed that I was done with the fundamentals and could learn javascript!  I got really excited and not knowing whether I should finish the resume or play a little on javascript, decided instead to commemorate the moment and actually post something on here.