FizzBuzzed: Why Javascript?

Today is the first day of week 2 in my 12 week cohort at The Iron Yard. Last week was spent learning HTML and CSS which I’d had enough exposure to that I could recognize some of the syntax, but writing functional code was a struggle. I knew the pace of the course would be fast but I wasn’t expecting a panic attack on day 2. OK, it wasn’t quite that bad, but almost… and only DAY 2?! After some encouragement from my much wiser, patient, and kind wife, I put my head down and got to work. By the end of the week I had reproduced a functioning website from a static mockup image (style is not mine so no design critiques please — purely functional), personalized it with some of my info, and even added some responsive design elements. Given how I felt just a few days before, I felt a huge amount of relief and even some growing confidence handing in this assignment.

Today (11/14/16) we started Javascript. I had spent most of my pre-work time leading up to the bootcamp focused on JS and since I was riding high from my weekend success I thought the first day would be a breeze. Our instructor, Jason Perry is a patient teacher and an extremely capable programmer. He would also make a great salesman if JavaScript was on the menu. His intro to JS talk this morning was great. I was all in, …and then he started coding. Jason’s computer screen is projected on the wall in front of the class. The examples are fast, the logic is thick, and the math… ugh, math. I didn’t realize how rusty I was. Panic. I was back at square one, or zero, or -2 maybe. I collected myself and got to work but it took me much longer than I want to admit to figure out our assignment for today which was to write a short “FizzBuzz” program that would print numbers 1 to 100 but substitute “Fizz” for multiples of 3, “Buzz” for multiples of 5, and “Fizzbuzz” for multiples of 15. Here is my solution.

All this was on the heels of a conversation with a friend the prior week who is fresh from the corporate world. He was saying that .NET is the best way to go if you want to make money and he made a good case for it. In the end, I’m a family man and all this effort cannot be for naught so I was a bit sidetracked based on the stats he was coming up with (granted I’m pretty sure he was glancing WAY up to the right when recalling those stats). It made me question why I was doing Front-end. After all, I’m self taught when it comes to design. I’m just dangerous enough with Adobe to make some things happen. Should I just go upload my soul to big data and grind it out for a good paycheck? Fortunately, I sought the sage wisdom of another one of TIY’s finest, Gavin Stark. He first asked me “What are you passionate about? What comes natural to you?” and then he walked me through a few other things that lead me to these conclusions.

  • I am a creative, it’s my craft. Whether it’s music, film, or a beautiful website. I like to make cool stuff that people enjoy and find useful. JS is behind most of that stuff.
  • If your going to gamble your life savings, bet on your strengths (see point 1).
  • If you are already speaking the creative’s language and want to translate that to a coding language, Javascript and Front-end Engineering is where it’s at.
  • Javascript is a great FIRST language (you can read more on why it is in this great article by Quincy Larson). Most programmers will tell you that your first language is really just that, the FIRST of many, and the second comes WAY easier. Focus on learning the first language really well, and the rest will come.
  • At The Iron Yard their aim is not only to teach you a programming language so you can get a job but also to teach you how to learn the skills that you will need to be a lifelong learner in this industry.

So I’ve decided to stick with Front-end Engineering. Javascript and React are going to be my new BFFs. I may have to get a math tutor in order to hang out with them but we are going to be friends. My plan now is to manage the stress, put my confidence monitor on the back-burner, glean what I can from lectures, and work my tail off.

— — — Yes I use ( ) excessively and unapologetically. — — —