My JavaScript Journey: The Struggle is Very Real

Good afternoon ladies and gents, this entry will be a bit different today. I’ve been off for the past week courtesy of the holidays and as usual, in my freetime I try to maximize my studies into the things I’m interested in. Some days I feel a bit confused as to what direction my life is headed but I’m always trying to attempt something to work towards finding my purpose and passion. One of the things I’ve been very interested in over the past several years is coding. I’ve messed with it for some time and it’s been a struggle to say the least. My wife encouraged me to write about it since I’m documenting my journey, so here we are.

Backstory

So how did I end up on a journey to learn code? Fair question. In my professional and amateur life I’m a designer. I’ve been a visual designer for the better part of my life and for the company I work at I am currently a user-interface and user-experience designer (UI/UX). I enjoy what I do for the most part. I have always felt like as a designer it is important to understand code and how building apps / websites works so that you can contribute to not only the creative process, but the execution process. While I was in college I took an introductory coding course which introduced me to HTML and CSS. Actually, I’m lying…I was first introduced to HTML and CSS back in the MySpace days. In fact people commissioned me to help customize their profiles for a marginal fee. CSS was right up my alley because it was essentially design, I never really thought about the fact that it was code as well. At the time I had no idea that what I was doing was associated with an actual profession, but I enjoyed it….A LOT! Anywho, I completed the introductory course at my university and followed that up with a few more courses that went a bit deeper. I was hooked.

After college I got my first job as a web designer, and they also allowed me to mess with the code base…primarily for HTML and CSS. I worked with 2 different developers. One always executed on my designs appropriately…the other always provided push back asserting that some of the things I wanted to do were simply too time consuming. I didn’t have working knowledge of actual programming so I just went along with it and didn’t cause too much of a fuss. The other programmer though, he’d review my work and tell me that some of these ideas were actually quite easy to execute and with some basic understanding of JavaScript and the DOM I could probably pull these things off myself. I took the plunge and began to expand my horizons in the world of JavaScript. I learned enough to be able to do the things I imagined and didn’t mess with it much else beyond that.

A Few Years Later up to Present Day

A few years ago I really got interested in the idea of building webapps and more intricate websites. After some digging I came to realize that JavaScript is indeed the language of the internet and so I needed to get a better grasp on some of the more complicated parts to make the types of things I envisioned.

I dusted off my books and dove back in to build a deeper understanding of the more abstract aspects of the language. While the books were helpful, at times I felt that they were written above my head. There was a lot of jargon that just didn’t make much sense to me and so I began my descent into the rabbit hole that is resource discovery.

I’ve used it all. I currently own 6 different JavaScript courses on Udemy, I have a membership to Team Treehouse, I have a Skillshare account, and I own at least 10 JavaScript / Programming books. Outside of that I’ve used Codecademy, FreeCodeCamp, and watched numerous amounts of YouTube videos. What I’ve found is that not a single one of these items has been a one-stop solution for my learning. I’ve learned different things from each over the course of the past several years. My biggest hangup is the fact that I’ve found myself in a state of constant learning. I’ve built projects that the courses have held my hand and helped me to put together, but I never built anything entirely on my own. That’s probably been one of my biggest regrets.

Make Up to Break Up

My quest has been off and on. I’ve developed a love / hate relationship with JavaScript. Some days I feel like I’m flying, and other days I get stumped and begin to wonder if my brain is built for programming. I’ve quit and then picked it up again….several times. I wrote this entry today because after feeling pretty good about my progress I decided to attempt the Algorithms section on FreeCodeCamp. I STRUGGLED the first 4 exercises. I was left on my own to try and complete the tasks, no instructions or hand holding, and I failed 3 of the 4. I had to submit and look at the solutions to see how they solved the problems.

I banged my head on the desk for several minutes before shutting the tab and submitting for the morning.

Hello Frustration, My Old Friend

I’m currently frustrated. This entry ends with no resolution, merely another entry into the journal. I’m not going to give up or quit on my goal of becoming a developer. It’s in my spirit to be one and to be able to build the ideas I have in my mind. I will continue to use the resources at my disposal. I just got a cool new book, Building JavaScript Games, and I’m really excited to crack it open. With every struggle I find that I eventually push forward and end up being more knowledgeable than before I encountered the road block. Persist we shall, because we must.

Conclusion

Do you know of any good resources that helped you to learn programming if you’re into that kind of thing? Have you experienced struggles in trying to teach yourself programming…if so let me know in the comments what has been most troublesome for you in your journey as well.

Be blessed and have a wonderful day!

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