Learning JS for realz

How I finally got started with JavaScript through gaming

I’ve been meaning to learn JavaScript for the last five years. I really had no excuse while working for Mozilla, especially during my ‘Black Ops’ periods at the end of each year. Oh well, this is what 27 years in formal education does to you…

Today, while working with one of my clients, someone I was talking to mentioned New Years Resolutions. They’re something I rarely make anymore — I’d rather think about where I’m going to focus my time and attention during the coming year. Nevertheless, it reminded me that I had thought about being more intentional about what I do during the evening I spend by myself when working in London every week.

So, tonight being one of those evenings in London, I decided to start learning JavaScript. I’m pretty much an absolute beginner. So, of course, I got in touch with Paul Lewis (@aerotwist), a friend who works at Google at the cutting edge of web development.

He, and others, kindly gave me both their advice and offered me some of their time. I’m very much of the opinion that you should teach yourself as much as possible before seeking the assistance of others, so I sought out recomendations.

A combination of Twitter and a quick DuckDuckGo search found me the following (with my thoughts about them in brackets):

Thankfully, I saved Julian Wood’s (@Ideas_Factory) suggestion until last:

I’d actually come across codecombat.com before, as they’re partners of of code.org’s Hour of Code.

This was everything I wanted: scaffolded, fun, and made me want to learn more!

The idea is to level-up your warrior (male or female) and get out of the dungeon. I probably spent about an hour doing this. It was only the subscription once I’d got out that stopped me going further! I’ll probably do some more next week.

The reason it’s so good is that it not only shows you your code running in real-time, but highlights what went wrong. It gives you examples; you never feel stuck.

If you’ve been planning to learn some code for a while and the thought of it has been overwhelming, I’d give codecombat.com a try to get you started — it’s got me hooked!


Originally published at discours.es on January 13, 2016.