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Trying to Find My Place in this Coding Journey

mmaitoza profile image Michael Maitoza Updated on ・2 min read

Hi, my name is Mike. I'm a front-end dev. Or so I think. I'm not really into titles or names, but I guess what I do would fall into these terms. Recently, I've been struggling trying to find some path towards reaching my goal, of what I would consider, to be a competent front-end developer.

What do I mean by competent? I just would like to be at a place where I wasn't asking for help with the very basics of development. You see, I am an older guy and started development only a few years ago. I had dabbled in coding in community college back in 2007, but I got sick and left it on the back burner until a few years ago.

I started out in 2017 with a new laptop and a lot of energy. I wanted to build things. I was into the front-end of web dev because I liked the idea of being able to create something that the user could see. Plus the technical side of back-end scares the pants off of me. Anyway, 3 years have gone by and I feel like I have little to show for it. Sure I've built some projects. But, I'm never quite happy with the results and I'm almost always building these projects at a very slow pace.

Therein lies the rub. I do not have the technical abilities to learn superfast. Is that a copout? I do not know. So far I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of HTML5 (although I am learning new stuff everyday), a competency in basic CSS (although I must say flexbox and grid are my mortal enemies), and a basic idea of JavaScript (that's where I need to spend more time training).

I also work with Bootstrap4 and jQuery. I kind of like that because it takes some of the guess work out of things for me. My question is, "Is that cheating?" I really like using Bootstrap because its pretty easy to use (for the most part) and you can get a lot done rather quickly. So, back to my question. Does something that helps me get work done faster actually tie my hands in getting closer to my goals of becoming a competent front-end developer?

I'm kind of wondering this because as I have taken the time to learn Bootstrap4 and jQuery, have I done myself a disservice in not diving too deep into JavaScript? It just seems to me that JavaScript is kind of hard. I've been reading books, and have a few Udemy courses, but I cannot seem to get to a point where I understand things past a rudimentary level.

I guess the one thing I can take out of all this is I need to practice, but also I need guidance and a good solid pathway to leaning the basics well. If any one has any resources or ideas to share please let me know in the comments. Thanks.


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martynrobotham profile image
Martyn Robotham


Firstly I want to say that using Bootstrap4 / JQuery is not cheating in any way at all. Using and learning tools that help you achieve what you want to build faster is no dis service to you at all.

I do feel that learning your first programming language is the hardest as you need to build the core foundations and understanding rather than just syntax and the differences between what you already know and why it does certain things better / worse.

In your learning, maybe a good place to start is to look at what you have already built and think about how you would extend on this, then go ahead and write it. And don't feel scared to research and ask questions if you are stuck.

mmaitoza profile image
Michael Maitoza Author

Sorry it took so long to reply. Thanks for your kind words and great advice. As soon as I am finished with this project I am going to do some overhauling of some of my projects from the past. I will be sure to ask questions when I get stuck. Thanks.

martynrobotham profile image
Martyn Robotham

Hi Again,

I've followed you on if you want to ask me any questions if you feel uneasy about asking them in other forums. I can't guarantee I'll reply instantly, but I'll do my best to help (if you feel you need it)