I’ll start with some background knowledge. I’ve been learning to code for around 2 months now. I have no prior coding experience, other than some failed attempts at learning HMTL & CSS on CodeCademy.
When I committed to learning to code, with the goal of becoming a front-end web developer, I didn’t know where to start. After reading the Headfirst book on HTML & CSS, playing around on CodeCademy, and mostly YouTube, I had learned and applied basic HTML & CSS.
I was excited, dove into the podcasts, forum, and began hearing success stories of people like me learning to code via their platform and then landing big developer jobs. I was sold.
I continued, watching videos with different explanations, reading the documentation, and more. I was learning so much, basic stuff like what var and function() was. I thought it was so cool.
But as I continued to plug and chug through the first few lesson blocks, I was getting frustrated.
The first issue I came across, was the lack of video assistance. During the JS basics curriculum, if you got stuck you could easily pop into the hint section and watch a very well-done code tutorial. This was one of my favorite parts and one of the biggest contributors to my learning.
After you completed the basics section, this feature goes away. They still offered the code solution with a brief text explanation, but it wasn’t the same.
I started to get annoyed, I felt like I wasn’t understanding what I was doing without that video help and reassurance.
I wanted to learn how to make cool websites or web apps! Not learn how to sort through an array. I knew I needed to know how to do that for parts of this idealistic website I had in my head, but I was tired of not seeing any progress.
I was tired of not being able to complete a challenge and think “Oh so I could do that to make this type of site”, or “Oh so that’s how you animate things”.
I am a visual person. I want to create a smooth UI or UX. While I know you need to take baby steps, once I learned the basics of how the language worked, I wanted to learn how to make my regular HTML & CSS websites look a little bit better.
Throughout the entire curriculum, that supposedly takes 300 hours, there was not one lesson that let you visualize what you were doing.
All you would get was the checkmark that it was right. You had to console.log() the solution yourself to even see if it worked.
I got frustrated. I was too much a visual learner for 50+ hours of typing text and not seeing anything besides some check marks to show for it.
This is a language that can do just about anything, is present on almost every webpage, but yet instead of seeing how any of that magic works, the curriculum focuses on the non-visual side.
While their curriculum could be based on research on how to learn best or something of the like, beyond the basics section, it just didn’t work for me.
freeCodeCamp is not bad
Maybe this was just their JS side, I know the HTML / CSS curriculum lets you see the websites as you create it, so I wonder why you couldn’t see something similar for JS.
Overall, freeCodeCamp is the best free resource for learning to code in a structured way. I personally, got ahead of myself and began getting frustrated with the lack of visuals.
Regardless, I would recommend the site or curriculum to anyone — just don’t limit yourself to FCC as your only learning resource.