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The Lockdown Coder: Mission Complete

Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

In the last couple of months, I have been happy with the technology stack I’ve been using and doubled down on understanding Next.js, Node.js, WordPress, WooCommerce and Stripe.

I built out a new e-commerce platform for a clothing company and gained another client interested in my restaurant platform. I could have pretty much copy and pasted the code but I refactored, refactored, refactored and came out with a more refined app. I adopted a mobile first approach when designing the app and made better use of media queries to make it nice and responsive. Data fetching was more efficient, business logic was further separated from the UI and error handling was better implemented. I was concerned about the UX and wanted to ensure it was as good as it could be.

I’m now approaching the 12 month mark from when I first started learning to code and I am proud of myself for persevering through all the pain points to get to where I am now. I can confidently make mobile and web apps using a whole stack of technology that I didn’t have a clue about before.

Photo by Kuchihige Saboten on Unsplash

Quick word on animation and React Spring

One other bit of tech I have been using but have not mentioned yet is React Spring. Animation and micro-interactions in mobile and web apps are almost expected these days and it’s something you will likely want to bring in to your own projects. CSS animation and transitions will be enough for most challenges but if you want to push it further then you can use an animation library. I went with React Spring because it is a physics-based animation library. Have you tried scrolling to the top of an app only to reach the limit and have the screen ‘bounce’ back into position? That’s an example of physics based animation and it can look and feel really nice. Whether we understand physics or not we inherently know what looks right to our eye and when animated objects use physics it looks natural to us. React Spring is super powerful but there is a bit of a steep learning curve. I only use it for basic animation so it is overkill in most instances but it has a nicer feel in my opinion.

Wrapping up

Not that it should matter but I am 38 years old and had a career in London as a Learning & Development professional in City law firms before breaking bad and doing a six month ski season in Val d’Isére, France, followed by two years teaching English in Fuzhou, China. I returned to the UK to try something different and then the pandemic hit. What started out as an interest in how apps are made has turned into an opportunity to carve out a new career. I have no idea how it will turn out but I want to give it a go and have no regrets at the end of the day.

Lockdown has been a super tough time for so many people — me included — and I’m glad I was able to channel myself into coding and stay focused when it was difficult to do so. It certainly has not been easy and imposter syndrome is a real ego bruiser. Nevertheless, with perspective, I am optimistic to the future and hope my story can inform others who are thinking along similar lines to me.

Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

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Leo Chan

Leo Chan

Lockdown coder: transformation from non-coder to coder in under 12 months…complete-ish.

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