I don’t Understand JavaScript

So I finally hit a little “wall” in my Udacity course. Starting from my code background of “null”1, I don’t really understand JavaScript at the pace they are giving it to me in this course. So I thought “There must be a How to learn X the Hard Way  for JavaScript that I can check!” I was wrong.2

But I found something else that was very helpful! I found an article on tuts+ called The Best Way to Learn JavaScript.  And it recommended going through the JavaScript course at Codecademy. Oh! Why didn’t I think of that? I really enjoy Codecademy anyway. So now I’ve paused Udacity studies this week to get a refresher at Codecademy.

Further on the “list of things I should have realized but didn’t”, if you are working through a course at Codecademy and get stuck, you can’t continue, and they don’t give you a solution. In order to find a solution when I was stuck, I discovered people are broadcasting themselves going through the classes on YouTube! It’s a great way to watch someone else struggle with the same thing you are (and get a hint). Note, they may be doing it on Twitch.tv too, but I didn’t check.

Finally, I started reading Eloquent Javascript which is free to read online. I haven’t gotten too far, but I expect I will buy a copy just to support the author.

1 Well, “nil” but “null” is a JavaScript term, so it’s a weak pun, yay.
2And even if there was one, it may have been beyond me, to be fair.

Online Learning Tools (Part 1)

I’ve been learning some new skills, because I need to stay relevant in this job market. I have been a technical editor/writer for years, but suddenly that isn’t “enough” to keep a job. So, looking into other things that interest me and mesh with those skills, I picked web development.

Right now is a fantastic time to be teaching yourself new skills; there are loads of resources online, and here are a few:

This site has been around since 1999 and is constantly being updated with tutorials about, well, just about everything! I use this resource all the time, it’s like a Wikipedia of computer information. W3Schools is full of interactive tutorials that give you immediate feedback about whether you are putting in a line of code right or wrong.

This site is much newer that W3Schools, though it also has interactive tutorials. Codecademy takes learning to the “Gamified” level, by giving you badges for completing tutorials, logging in on consecutive days, and other things that help give you the push you may need to really complete a course. They even have a space to post and show off your projects. (Something like a tiny version of Github.)

Now this is more of a “Pay to learn” site. I really like this one too. I have invested quite a bit of money — but don’t let the “$199” price tag scare you; these courses are on sale very frequently. And once you sign up they will often give you coupons for items you have wishlisted. This site gives you close to one-on-one dialogue with your instructor, through comments. I can’t say it’s exactly like being in a classroom, but it really has made me work my way through classes and feel like I have accomplished something by looking on the projects. This site offers more than programming courses, everything from “Logo Designing for your Business in an Hour” to “Everyday Mind Mastery” (whatever that is) . Check it out, some classes are free!

A final note: READ THE REVIEWS.
Each of these sites offers classes taught by pretty much anyone who wants to teach you. You can sign up to teach at the same time you sign up to learn. Check to see which class has more star reviews. Read the “This course is using Bootstrap 2 instead of 3 and should be updated” type comments before you invest money. You’ll be glad you did.