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What Am I Learning & Doing Now?

narhlawson profile image Lawrence Narh-Lawson ・4 min read

What am I Learning and doing now? Mostly learning React.js. I have quite a good grasp of VanillaJS, although there’s always room for improvement. However, looking at the job market it’s clear that I need to equip myself with knowledge of a front-end framework such as React, Vue or Angular. I have chosen React purely out of necessity. React is by far the most popular required framework in job postings within London and its surrounding areas. However, I’ve been told that there are many similarities with other frameworks so learning one very well would definitely equip you with the knowledge to learn another reasonably quickly. Which is actually also often said for programming languages. I would love to learn Python once I have a firm grasp of JavaScript, but I digress.

Codecademy Pro

I applied to receive a free 3-month membership of Codecademy Pro for those who have been either furloughed or laid-off and was accepted. I am currently working through the ‘Create a Front-End App with React’ path. I had actually veered away from the platform in favor of learning through video courses and building apps, but the pro plan is better than the standard in that it offers much more variety with videos, quizzes, small and some larger projects. It’s definitely a more engaging learning experience. Codecademy is quite special to me as it’s the first place I started learning HTML & CSS online properly (I dabbled with W3 schools initially). There are so many online resources now but a few years ago I believe that they were one of the top options for newbies attempting to learn the basics.

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Treehouse has probably been my favourite online platform to learn web development for the past few years. They are video-based learning platform, and the quality of their content is some of the best you will find. I currently have a subscription to their basic plan which costs about $25 per month. I am currently working my way through their Front End Web Development Track, which goes through all the fundamental skills needed to be hired as a Front End Web Developer in today's job market. It is an extremely thorough course and covers HTML, CSS, JavaScript, version control, front end optimisation, Fetch API, hosting and much more.

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FreeCodeCamp

After Treehouse, FreeCodeCamp is my favourite online platform to learn from. I actually don't think that the content is better than Codecademy BUT it offers a lot more in terms of structure, community, projects and rather importantly less hand-holding. FreeCodeCamp is where I learned how to build my first JavaScript projects, which is great for any aspiring devs who want to build something but just don't have any ideas about where to start. The online community is second to none and there have been thousands of people who have used this platform as self-taught developers and gone on to be hired by some of the biggest and most well-known companies in the world.

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I am currently working towards my JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures certificate which is also another 300 hours worth of work and includes 5 projects. I am currently working through the ES6 section, which has been difficult at times, but still very interesting.

Projects

My focus is working on projects primarily using React.js to help me learn and also to use for my portfolio. I am looking to use the Spotify for Developers Web API to create some type of app based on a users' interaction with the platform, however, this is very much at the drawing board stage of development.

I am about to start working on a React app that uses the Yelp API to search for restaurants. I am also looking into creating a random quote generator web application, this will be part of the FreeCodeCamp Front End Libraries certification, which also includes a number of other projects such as a JavaScript calculator, Pomodoro clock and a drum machine.

Everything is pretty much a work in progress right now, but I am thoroughly enjoying the process, although it can feel frustrating at times and overwhelming, I'm learning to take pride in the small daily 'wins' which will lead to my much bigger aim at hand. Watch this space as I will definitely be blogging about my projects.

Volunteering

I decided to get involved with a fantastic non-profit organisation called Code Your Future, after speaking with a developer friend of mine who is also a volunteer teacher there. They are a fantastic organisation that supports refugees and disadvantaged individuals with the hope of becoming developers and I will be helping as a teaching assistant.

To find out more just visit: https://codeyourfuture.io/about/

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