The Good, the Bad, and the Action

Reflections for the Halfway Mark of #100DaysOfCode

When I first started #100DayOfCode, I looked at the road ahead as daunting with bouts of tears and some serious questioning my abilities as a front-end designer (or web unicorn, but I’m liking the other title a little more). I would go through my Twitter feed and see other participants working on impressive projects while I was barely gasping JavaScript (still am, it fluctuates daily).

Finally, I decided to participate mid-March and was enthusiastic about it. I was going to code/design/research every day and my real life job (I work in retail) wasn’t going to interfere.

How wrong I was.

I started skipping days because retail and low spoons didn’t allow for learning. I allowed myself leeway and changed my already modified rules. Once I pledged that I would spend non-retail days working on #100DaysOfCode, I found myself anticipating each day I could work on something.

At the beginning, I had goals in my mind but didn’t vocalize what they were. To be honest, I can’t recall what those goals were. In the meantime, I’ve noticed trends in my learning path.

The Good

  1. Despite my constant troubles with JavaScript, I know I can read it, but writing is a different story. I had this same problem with Spanish and French. However, since I started the challenge, I picked up Dutch and found writing in that language to be almost second nature when my mind is in Dutch mode. I don’t know if the critical thinking skills I’ve enhanced with coding have assisted my reading and writing comprehension of Dutch, but I’m excited to see if my Spanish and French skills can be improved.
  2. I’ve taken numerous courses across Treehouse and Udemy. I’ve achieved 84 badges from Treehouse and worked through their Beginner JavaScript and React tracks. On Udemy, I’ve completed only a handful of courses. I already have signed up for a few After Effects course. If you can tell, I love signing up and taking courses. As a kid, I loved school and love to learn anything at any opportunity. I’m not surprised once I started coding, I was going to dive into articles and tutorials. Because of my research, I’m getting a better idea on what I want to focus on.

The Not-So-Good

  1. With the courses I took, there was a product created by the end. These projects populate my portfolio showcase. Unfortunately, that means there aren’t any projects that aren’t course related.
  2. At the beginning, I wanted to do an equal amount of coding and design work. I believe I only have a handful of days committed to design work. Along those lines, I didn’t read nearly the number of tech books I wanted to.

Actions Plans

I need to build projects outside of coursework.

Rick West wrote a great post about getting yourself out of a coding tutorial rut. He argues that you’re not really learning anything if you’re just copying what the instructor is doing. Also, you don’t go through the process of thinking through what problems there are and what the solutions could be.

I need to make my designs a reality instead of keeping it in a notebook.

I like to call myself a designer, but I admittedly can’t allow myself to post anything. I have to remember that everyone starts somewhere and my designs can “suck” as long as I learn from what I’ve done in the past.

Here’s to the next 50 days!

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