Week Two – Learning How To Learn

Can you believe that it’s Saturday already?

Today is officially day 11 of my year-long coding challenge. In the greater scheme of things, eleven days isn’t very impressive; for me, however, it’s a promising start to whatever may come next.

I’ve had a difficult and busy week. My pets got sick, work has been hectic and I haven’t been feeling my best, yet I’ve still managed to sit down and find time to code every single day. I may not have managed to meet my original goal of three coding hours per day, but even a few minutes is better than nothing at all…right?

What’s more, this has been an important week for me in terms of mapping out my path for learning and skills development.

Part-Time Course

On Monday, I had an interview with a school that runs a part-time ‘foundation’ level coding course in my city. The course runs three times a week for just over a month, and will help me with not only learning html, css and javascript, but also in developing the ability to think like a programmer and use code to solve problems.
The course seems quite intensive and I’ll need to do my best to fit it around my full-time job, but I’m excited to get started.

Now, you may be wondering why I would sign up for a (somewhat expensive) course to learn javascript when I’m already studying it by myself at home. For most people, it would seem like a waste of money and rather unnecessary, right?

For me, however, I think that taking this course will really be beneficial.

Sure, I’m studying by myself right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m studying in the most productive way, nor does it mean I’m fully grasping and understanding every concept that I learn.

By working through guided coursework, surrounded by other learners and instructed by someone who can give me instantaneous feedback and help me to identify where I need a bit more practice, I feel that studying at a school will help me to make sure that I’m not missing out on any of the important, basic skills that I’ll need later on when my coding attempts become more complicated and intricate.

Will it be difficult to juggle study and work at the same time? Absolutely, but if I can manage this, then I really believe that I can manage anything else that comes my way.

Switching It Up

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m currently using Codecademy to learn JavaScript, and I’m currently around 70% complete with the course. However, I’ve discovered that I’m struggling to remember everything that I’ve been learning until now, and that putting the code I’ve studied into practice isn’t as simple as I would have hoped.

Obviously, this would suggest that my using one resource alone isn’t quite enough for me.

For this reason, I started to look up books related to JavaScript online and came across the ‘A Smarter Way to Learn’ series by Mark Myers.

This series of books is really highly reviewed online, and I can easily see why. The JavaScript book covers around 90 different topics, yet each bite-sized ‘chapter’ is only a few pages long and written in a very clear, no-frills manner that helps you to grasp the concept you’re studying as quickly as possible.

After reading the short chapter, you can then follow a link to an accompanying website that provides 20 practice questions (including a few that are timed) to help you put what you’ve just studied into practice and get used to using it in real coding situations.

I love how easy it is to incorporate the book and exercises into my busy daily routine (each chapter plus questions will only take around 15 minutes) and I’ve found that I’m remembering what I’ve learned from the book far better than anything I’m learning on Codecademy.

I really do enjoy Codecademy, and I’ll continue to use it, but I definitely think that the ‘A Smarter Way to Learn Javascript’ book will be instrumental in helping me to become comfortable with my very first coding language.

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

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