My Coding Journey So Far…

Here’s the first of my coding side of the blog. I’m going to use this to catch everyone up on where I currently am in my journey with some background info as well.

Background

I went to school for Graphics and Multimedia where they taught us a little about a lot. For my personality, that was great! For my professional career, not so much.

The Graphics side of this major was for printing. We did screen printing, flexography, and lithography (which no one liked because we knew this was extinct). Once we did those, we had to take an advanced printing class, ugh. Luckily the cool part was that the teacher picked 3D printing that year for the advanced class.

The Multimedia part is where we learned Adobe Creative Suite. We had whole semesters dedicated to Photoshop/ Advanced Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Indesign, Illustrator, Premiere/After Effects.

Side note: For those wondering, my school also had a Graphic Design major. THAT’S the one where people draw. I can’t draw. At all.

The real world

Once I graduated, I felt like I could do anything I wanted, because I had a “great” portfolio website that I made from scratch using HTML, CSS and I knew “enough” of everything… then I got into the real world. I probably could have gotten a job at some print shop, but I wanted to focus on the technical side. Everything I looked at, I was always only partly qualified. And I know what you’re thinking, no one is ever fully qualified. Apply anyway! Yeah well I wasn’t even 50% qualified for the kind of jobs I wanted.

I started finding jobs I was 75% qualified for and applied. Eventually I found one that I was maybe 90% qualified for and I got that job! Yay!

I was satisfied for awhile at my current job, it was a good entry job. But I knew to go forward, I had to learn some new stuff. As the saying goes, I knew a little about a lot but I needed to learn a lot about a little. I sat myself down and asked, “What is it I want to do?” I thought about what part of my major I enjoyed, what I could do with that, and what I wanted in my future. In the end, I realized that using the basic web lessons I learned from school could be my first foot in the idea door. As you can guess I chose coding.

What I’ve been doing

I decided I wanted to become a Full Stack Developer. Just saying that out loud was intimidating, but I knew I had to commit.

I already knew a Bootcamp will never work for me, but I have considered taking some community college classes. In the end, I said there’s sooo many free legitimate courses online nowadays and employers care more about a portfolio/experience than they do a degree. So if I start losing motivation and feel I can’t do this on my own, I will try community college.

Just as many others, I got sucked into the abyss of online coding course options. I started at this one, moved to that one, tried another one, did a little in those ones and that one, then discovered some new ones for later. In the end, I realized I needed to simply commit to 1 or 2 good ones and just go for it.

What did I commit to?

So what did I pick? I found The Odin Project and FreeCodeCamp and I’ve been on a roll ever since. Both are free open source sites with great supportive communities. For those unfamiliar with these sites. The Odin Project has an open ended coursework flow. They don’t want to hold your hand too much and they give a lot of supplemental material on top of their lessons. One thing I really like about them is that they don’t try to sell their product. Their goal is to provide the best free information on the internet to ensure you learn in the best way possible. They focus on HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Javascript and it’s related languages, Databases, APIs, Git, Ruby, and Ruby on Rails. At the end they provide some career guidance to help you get hired.

FreeCodeCamp has a more structured coursework flow. You can simply follow the lessons right down the line. As you finish each section, they give you projects to do for your portfolio (which you create in your first sets of projects after HTML and CSS) and a certificate. They also have a great community. Amazing actually. FreeCodeCamp covers a lot of material (over 1800 hours worth) and the projects are what help cement all the lessons into your mind. Their curriculum contains HTML, CSS, Javascript and it’s related languages, Bootstrap, Data Visualization, APIs and Microservices, Information Security, and Quality Assurance. Once that’s all complete, they have thousands of hours of coding interview challenges to prepare you for your potential new job.

Back to my point

Now, the point here, where am I? I have been working on these two solidly for about 3 months now. I’m currently halfway through Javascript on FreeCodeCamp and I skipped to Ruby on The Odin Project. I am still going strong and doing my best to stay motivated through the community, a friend who is going through a similar journey, and podcasts. My end goal dream is also quite motivating.

Where I’m going

My goal by this time next year is to have at the minimum a front end developer job and at the most an entry level full stack developer job. When that time comes I am trying to have learned Ruby/ Ruby on Rails, Javascript (Angular, React, VUE, ES6, maybe others), PHP, and SQL. I’ll try to throw in some Python and any other back end stuff I can learn would be great! But we’ll see how this all goes. Just writing that out was intimidating, but I got this!

So now that you’re all caught up on where I am, stay tuned to follow how I’m doing on my journey and any tips or tricks I learn along the way to help you in your journey.

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