One Bite at a Time

This year I decided to take my programming skills to the next level. I set out to learn ALL THE THINGS, and quickly became overwhelmed. One resource that I found to be particularly helpful for getting a broad view of the landscape is the web developer roadmap. By tracing through the roadmap, you can create an outline of the materials to cover. While this can be really helpful, there are simply infinite things to learn and only finite time to learn them.

My first attempt to make progress was to build some projects for myself. I made a feed reader which really expanded my understanding of Flask and a video converter which I used as a test bed for learning Sphinx and pytest. These projects have been full of challenges and have taught me countless lessons. I felt, however, that my focus had become too narrow. I was focusing just on finding and learning the tools to solve the problems that were right in front of me. I had lost track of the broader landscape.

So how can you do both? How can you maintain the needed perspective to link together a broader understanding while still getting deep into the details? There is this huge body of tools and techniques and patterns to learn, and I found myself struggling with finding the appropriate scope and pace. I was struggling with how, in other words, to eat this elephant? Unless you have a whole neighborhood to help, you’ll likely only have success if you tackle it one bite at a time.

This summer I joined the Viking Code School’s JavaScript intensive program. I had been planning to learn JavaScript myself, but was so focused on my Python projects, that I hadn’t been making any headway. The first half of this program has not simply been a study-fest. We have worked our way through the basics of many aspects of the modern JavaScript stack, building our tools along the way. Each day we take our new knowledge and pair program a new project. We have covered huge ground, one bite at a time. I’m so excited for the next half!