School’s Out For Summer…

Well, the school year has ended, and I am closing the chapter of music education. It’s hard to believe it has been almost a year since my coding journey began. In the past 11 months, I have started to get a decent grasp on the fundamentals of front-end development, and I have dabbled in back-end development. My course at The Iron Yard begins in 2 weeks, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I have learned quite a bit in the recent months. I have spent a significant amount of time studying JavaScript. The JS project I am most proud of at the moment is a typing/letter-recognition game I made for my three-year-old daughter. There is not much to it on the HTML/CSS side of things, but it is very dependent on JavaScript to work correctly. Essentially, I have an array of objects that makes up the alphabet and associated pictures with each letter (A for apple, B for boat, etc.). The images associated with each letter are setup to be arrays and called at random with their corresponding letters. At the bottom of the page is a progress bar. If all 10 blocks of the progress bar turn red (i.e. 10 right answers), a gif of an animated dancing animal pops up. This too is chosen at random, as not to remove the element of surprise that my daughter loves. Working with for loops, nested arrays, objects, and DOM manipulation, I believe this project has greatly strengthened by JS fundamentals.

I also am learning that becoming a programmer is more about learning to think like a programmer rather than learning syntax (although syntax and best practice are very important). If you can problem solve logically, you will have a greater aptitude for programming. Although my scope is limited, I have seen the similarities between languages already. I have dabbled in Ruby on Rails and PHP after learning JavaScript, and these languages made a lot of sense early on because of my JS foundation.

In addition to the ten pens I have posted on my Codepen account, I have deployed three websites. I decided to use straight HTML/CSS/JS with PHP to achieve this instead of using something like WordPress as a CMS. It has been a great learning experience for me, and definitely a lot of fun. One might consider this old school or outdated, but given that I am new to the world of coding, I think it is good for me to practice in this way. Many of the experienced developers I know did not have all the tools and frameworks available to them when they started, so I just view this as starting the same way they did. That said, I know I need to begin leveraging what is available to me if I want to work more efficiently and with more ease. One thing I am interested in checking out is JAMstack. An acquaintance of mine is very passionate about using JAMstack, and I love hearing what he has to say about it.

My goal is that over the next few months, I will have a very solid foundation when it comes to programming fundamentals, but also be comfortable implementing frameworks, packages, and other tools. I am confident that my time at The Iron Yard will be very beneficial in this way. I am trying to learn as much as I can now, so I can get the most out of my instructors as possible. I know I have only scratched the surface of programming. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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