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Freelance tech writer and community-builder Self-teaching web development/design, using online resources. Blogs about JavaScript, mindset, and my journey.
・3 min read

Where do you start?

This can apply to anything - not just coding. But for the purposes of keeping our thoughts on track, we will refer throughout to coding, and learning to code. It doesn’t matter where you start in coding. It doesn’t matter where you start with anything! People may like to give you set paths to follow, and you may like to do that - but really you could start with HTML, or JavaScript, or Ruby, or any of the millions of frameworks, and as long as you stick with it and stay consistent, then you will make as much progress as someone who started from the other way.

But, but, but… people say…

Many people will say that you should ABSOLUTELY NOT start learning a framework before you are confident with CSS, HTML and JavaScript as a minimum… don’t tell those people, but I used Bootstrap (a CSS framework) before I even knew how to build a page out fully with HTML…
People will always have their own opinion of their own path, and often they will think that their way is the best way. Take feedback on board, but make sure that you are able to separate opinion and fact.

How do I know if something is an opinion or a fact?

As humans, we think our opinion is important, and people are very good at giving their opinion as if it was a fact. For example, I am writing this on a Mac. I can give you my opinion here in a way that makes it obvious that it is an opinion:

‘I think that Macs are really great computers to write on.’

Or, I can give you my opinion in a stronger way:

‘Macs are the best computers to write on’

Both of these are my opinion, but do you see how I have written the last one as if it was a fact?
It is important to remember that people always don’t do this on purpose, but people are generally passionate about their opinion, and like we said earlier, everyone generally thinks that their opinion is important.

It’s important to remember that people’s anxiety or mental state could affect the way that they conduct themselves or the words that they choose - essentially you cannot tell whether something is a fact or opinion - you should always try and check out things for yourself.

You mustn’t throw aside opportunities just because someone told you that you should follow a specific learning path… you can take other people’s opinion on board, but make sure that you do your own research and try not to get too caught up in the details.

But it is so overwhelming..

Yes, it is! Try not to think of everything at once. Make a list of everything you want to do, and decide on a timeframe. Remember that you don’t need to learn everything in a week. Be realistic about your goals.
Also remember that everyone started out like this. Even the most senior developer or most competent coder you know once had never opened a text editor. They had once never written even one line of code.
Just stop and think about that for a minute.
No one was born being able to code. Everyone has to learn, and you are no exception.

And confusing...

I really do think sometimes that tech terms were thought of with the idea of them being as confusing and unhelpful as possible. Names often aren’t descriptive, and are named quite artistically, like Docker (a nautical theme), or Tailwind (helps you write CSS and design if you had a wind behind you)
There are also multiple terms for the same thing. As a newbie, this can make it incredibly difficult to access things, and may even stop you from learning new things, as you just don’t know what people are talking about!
I have come to the loose conclusion that this has happened due to the innate, and understandable, human desire to feel clever.
Fear not! I have started a simple project with the aim of helping you overcome this small hurdle.
An open source (definition of this is in there!) dictionary, based in Github, for people of all experience levels to access, learn and contribute to, regardless of what they believe their ability to be. It is not a list of technical terms, although there are a few in there, it is more a list of confusing industry terms, such as refactor, or IDE, or API. If you’d like to read or contribute (or both, ideally!), you can find it here.

Discussion (2)

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Chloe Louise 🌈🧘‍♀️🏳️‍🌈☕🐍

👏❤ I really enjoyed this.