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Yahya Abbakar
Yahya Abbakar

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How I'm learning to become a web developer in 2022

Reading so many success stories, blogs, and articles on web development prompted me to think about a career in this industry. Everything I read at the time seemed too good to be true and if it wasn't for my current status, maybe I wouldn't have considered it an option as a career. Although I had written my first lines of code some years ago, it wasn't until towards the end of 2021 that I followed through in the practice. In this post, I will share some of my thoughts on my web development journey so far.

How and why I decided to start studying programming

My first encounter with a programming language must have been around 2015, maybe 2016. I was taking a year off university and I was trying to figure out something to do with my time. A friend of mine told me that I should have a look at taking a course in python programming. I hesitated at first as I had no idea what it'd be good for but a couple of weeks later I decided to check it out. I bought a course on Udemy and I dove straight in. I had done no prior research as to what the language was about and what it was used for, I just thought maybe this is a good way to pass time. A week into the course and my mind was still not into it and programming concepts didn't make sense to me so I eventually just put the course away and didn't come back to it until around 2019. Again I dove head-on without having a plan and the same outcome happened. I made no effort to learn it as it made no sense to me.

I honestly don't have a recollection of the thought process that led me to start making an effort and to once again start learning python but I do remember it being around September 2021. I opened up my Udemy course and started watching the python tutorial all over again, and this time again... it still didn't make any sense. But it was different this time as I was determined to understand it.

What did I do

I researched a lot looking for free resources to help me better understand concepts and somehow I stumbled upon freeCodeCamp. What made this a much simpler way to learn for me was that as soon as I wrote code in their editor, I saw the output. This approach made for a better sense of achievement and for that reason I put studying pyhton language on hold.

After completing their responsive web design portion of the course, I did a couple of their projects. Even though it was all going well I felt as though I was missing out on something. This led me through a youtube rabbit hole where I eventually found Dorian's youtube video comparing freeCodeCamp and The Odin Project. The Odin Project's curriculum of being a site that offers a developer work-like structure is what made me start using it as my main study material resource. Ultimately, both freeCodeCamp and TOP(The Odin Project) are great free resources to study web development, but I much preferred the challenging material on TOP. At the moment I'm on my javascript journey on TOP and it has definitely been challenging and on many occasions frustrating.

Along my journey, I've come to understand that the path to being a self-taught developer is rather difficult and this one quote I've heard from somewhere explains it quite well:

Teaching yourself is like being taught by an amateur.

I'm sure those may not be the exact words as I can't remember where I heard it from but it resonates so well with being a self-taught developer. Aside from that, I understood the challenge that I will have to do more compared to those who probably have a computer science degree or go through boot camps. Michael's youtube series of his journey to being a self-taught developer in itself is inspiring and also motivational. Through his Youtube channel, he documented his journey and this would definitely have given him an advantage in landing a job. What I took from this was that aside from good-looking portfolios and projects, as a self-taught developer you need to have something extra, and using mediums such as blogs or youtube you can share your identity and your real self with which can help in the hiring process. So I've decided to be posting my journey too through blog posts. I definitely don't think it needs to be as long as this one, but it's my first attempt.

What I have learned so far

Programming is a $%&# and is hard but ultimately rewarding too. Getting stuck on a problem can feel overwhelming but you need only to take some time away to let your brain process whatever solutions it can come up with and even if that doesn't work, there are tons of resources out there that can lead you to your answer. I think one of the best things about learning to program is engaging in communities in discord, Slack, Reddit, etc. In these communities, you're more likely to find someone willing to put their time and effort into helping you solve a complicated problem. I know I'm guilty of not using these communities as much as I should even when I sometimes get stuck on a problem for a couple of days. And I know that people in these communities are super helpful and will always try and help. There are a lot of things that I've learned that I could list but that's for later posts.

Extra resources I have used that may help

-Head First JavaScript Programming by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson. When I didn't understand some concepts on TOP, this book simplified it and I still am going through it and determined to get the most out of it.

-The Net Ninja also simplifies the topics and concepts that they're easily understood the first time.

-Frontend Mentor is a great site to build projects that already have a design and can test your frontend skills. They also have a great slack community that can provide you feedback on your project.

-I always was listening to the CodeNewbie podcast for interesting stories on tech and development and a lot of resources are always recommended at the end of each episode. You also get to stay up to date with the current status of tech through their stories.

-I also think you should follow Bala Priya C on hashnode for her great posts and articles that are easy reads. I know that reading her post on blogging inspired me to finally write on my own.

And of course, there are plenty more resources I would love to share, which I certainly will in an upcoming post. I also post, share, and retweet interesting tech and productivity articles and stories that I think could be beneficial. I hope you've enjoyed reading this post and it can be useful to someone!

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An Animated Guide to Node.js Event Loop

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