Juggling code, struggling Node

Ive left this blog post a little longer than usual at 2 weeks, just because I didn’t feel like I had much worthwhile to write. Over the first week I delved into node but to be honest I found the structure of the course a bit confusing. I found that I struggled a bit with the wording of the tasks and that I needed to become fluent in tech talk before I could actually progress. When I came to a solution I realised that it was much simpler than I would make out, and it would take me so long to decipher each word, but I’d only realise how simple it was once I finished. I’ve spent longer than I’d have liked trying to get the hang of callbacks but nevertheless I’ve ploughed on as much as I can in my limited free time. I love the idea of asynchronous code – the lack of which plagued me in some of my front-end javascript tasks. Although I like a set structure to code which makes it easier to debug when you know the code follows a process, having code that can be called upon later I find quite refreshing….at least I think that’s what happening!…actually, reading that back it doesn’t sound right…I dunno, I’ll figure it out soon

To help me with freecodecamp’s node course I’ve decided to purchase the Web Developer’s Bootcamp class on Udemy.com. I felt that I really needed some guidance on some of the terminology on this part so I hope that by taking the node portion of this course that it will simplify my FCC tasks much more. I feel that if I could just decipher what’s being asked of me then I would stand a much better chance of completing the challenges, and I’m hoping this course can help. But more on this course in a little while…

As noted my time has shortened quite considerably recently which unfortunately has taken a big hit on my coding efforts. I still try to code everyday and when I can’t I make sure to listen to a CodeNewbie podcast or watch a tutorial. But my work demands and the study towards my professional qualifications that go with it have really come into force this past fortnight. I’ve found the capacity to work on something that I love to do really falling short. I’ve realised that this is what I want to do a lot more of, and I find any free moment I have that I’m wanting to code and learn something new and relevant, but at the moment that’s just not happening. Exams are towards the end of the year but the demands are so high so it means a lot of time is spent away from the text editor.

In light of this, I want to really develop a polished portfolio page to show off what I have learnt in this short time. Who knows, maybe this will open avenues that mean I spend more time coding. So to do that, I’m going over some of the CSS parts of the web developer course so that I can really make a good impression with my portfolio page. I’ll migrate all my codepen work over to github so that I’m really utilising that resource which will in turn help with my online presence. Soon I’ll have to change my online moniker to something more professional, but I’m not ready to let go of that just yet!

People closest to me are worried I’m spreading myself to thin. Work, study, trying to be active – I have no idea how parents manage to do anything productive! I have the utmost respect for people learning new things and making bold life-choices while they have other, much bigger responsibilities on their plate than mine. I’ve been told to take a holiday, but in my mind I’d want to spend the week on a mini-made-up bootcamp of my own, but that would completely defeat the object (it sounds ridiculously sad too…I need a word with myself!). The fight between logical and emotional needs is a tough one, and I probably end up like a spoilt child when I think about logical needs winning!

Back to code and I’ve had a couple of small changes that were very much-needed and I think are pushing me in the right direction. Only small but they’re massive to me! The first is actually setting up a text editor. Moving away from the comfort of CodePen is something I’ve needed to do for a while. Previously I tried to use atom which, for some reason…probably stupidity on my part, I struggled with the markdown option. I couldn’t get something that looked and felt like my codepen efforts. To be honest I couldnt get any javascript to work at one point, then another effort meant none of my CSS worked. Playing detective and looking at their link tags didn’t seem to help but I persevered. Until….it took an hour and a half to open up a simple set of html/css/javascript files. I gave in. I got some storage space, migrated all my big files and reset my mac to factory settings. I felt like a tired parent who just slammed their book shut, got up, exclaimed “Right, no more TV for you”, and stormed out the room as my Macbook just cried all the way to PC World (the laptop didnt come with me…but you get it!).

So I did it. Started a fresh. Got rid of a load of junk I didn’t use and now I have a fully operating Macbook. I honestly can’t explain how happy I am I did that. Totally worth it. My computer actually does things when I tell it to now. It doesn’t spend hours just thinking about what I asked it to do, like a stoner being asked to solve a differential equation. It finally works. So I intend to keep it that way!

So after atom, I tried a bit of Visual Studio Code and I really liked that. I think it’s exactly what I need from a coding setup. And I think I’ll move back to it – the web dev course tells you to download sublime, and thinking that I didn’t want to miss out on what they were doing, or try to figure out how to do xyz on my own system, I downloaded sublime’s effort. To be honest, I don’t have anything against it, it’s simple and to the point. But I did like Visual Studio, so I’ll probably end up going back to that at some point.

To be honest, this is where I’ve got to. Running around in circles, not feeling like I accomplished anything, feeling a bit down that I’m not able to get to the thing I want to do the most. Hopefully it’s short-term, but knowing how my work-cycles flows, I severely doubt this. I’m at the bottom of the roller-coaster, working my way up the steep gradient to the worst part (I really don’t like roller-coasters!).

I promise the next post will be brighter!

Freecodecamp – Front-end to Back-end certs

This has been quite the week! Last week I was on the cusp of finishing my front-end certification with freecodecamp and I was so chuffed to get that finalised with the completion of my Simon game and 3 remaining algorithm challenges. I put my obligatory front-end certificate pic up on twitter and went to bed.

I woke up to look at my phone and i had tonnes of notifications from complete strangers congratulating me on my achievement, many asking for insight into my experience in the view to helping them with theirs. It was really such a humbling shock to have so many people reach out to offer their congratulations and I’ve been so pleased all week.  I really didn’t appreciate the support from the coding community and how there are so many people in a similar position to me wanting to ask me questions, I was really overwhelmed!

This whole experience really gave me the motivation to push on with the other portions of the freecodecamp curriculum. Data visualisation had a couple of “coming soon” sections to its material so I decided to crack on with the back-end certification instead…

two states

…..yeah….

We started with an introduction to Git and GitHub, which I was quite looking forward to as I appreciate the importance they play in the industry. This was fine – although I didn’t fully understand some parts it, provided good reference to go back to for other projects.  Since then I’ve been on the node.js introduction starting with node package manager. To be honest there were parts here that I was just copying and pasting instructions, completely feeling like the dog in the picture above. Over time this feeling started to subside as I subconsciously figured out some of the meanings. But I completed the npm course not fully appreciating what it meant or what it was for…

Today I started with the main node.js intro and this is more in my skill set.  It brings in some of the javascript elements from the front-end but trying to bring them into the node environment.

But the whole switch has been a bit of a shock. It feels like the stabilisers are off as I come away from the freecodecamp and codepen environments and move to cloud 9’s terminal. But you’ve got to be a big boy one day! I did try atom the other week and that did not turn out so well, so an intermediate step with cloud 9 is absolutely required! This was me with atom…

stabilisers

Otherwise there hasn’t been a lot to it this week, just trying to get my head around this terminal malarkey and starting from scratch again.

I listened to an early CodeNewbie podcast this week and I’ve decided to incorporate another kind of page to my blog posts. Rebecca Miller Webster in episode 64 of the CodeNewbies podcast talks about writing a blog post about an issue you incurred during your journey. My initial aim for this was to do something similar but it never materialised and became more of a journal. Whilst I think this is fine I felt that I missed a trick with not writing about some of the concepts I struggled with in the front-end cert and so I’ll be looking to do that more with the back-end work, particularly through the projects I’m doing.

I would write a post about setting a time delay on a javascript for loop but considering a typo ended up to make my code work I don’t think I’m in the best place to write that post!

Anyways, just short one this week. I’m sure I’ll have more to write when I actually figure out what I’m doing with node!  Soon.jpeg…..