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Free or paid plan?
I've been learning for a couple of months now, and I've used both free and paid for rescourses. I only know what I have experienced myself, but I'll share my thoughts.
There's lots of free apps and documentation, and I'll bet there's someone out there with the brainpower, stamina and self control to make it without spending a dime. I'm not one of those however. I need the pressure of knowing that this is something I'm paying for and to remind me that it's an investment. If I had more free time one my hands, I guess I could have make it work, but alas.
But that isn't to say I think you should dive into the first paid plan you discover.
All in all, it comes down to how much time and money you have to spend.
- Lot's of free time and no 'dead line'? Go for the free stuff!
- Lot's of simoleons and want to transfer career or just learn fast? Pay up!
- Like me, somwhere in the middle? I think it's a smart move to use the free resources to get your feet wet. To experience if the language you've chosen or programming in general is for you. The more you know going into paid plans, (be it an on site boot camp or lessons on Udemy), the more you'll get out of it, coming into it with a basic understanding.
So, which type are you?
This is what my home page looked like up until today.
I have redesigned it after learning flexbox and I removed the very noisy header picture in the process as well. This is a great way to move my new found skills into the real world, and I plan to do the same after learning CSS grid and other methods. I'm still not pleased with how the page looks, and especially want to remake the blog in a better format.
Three days ago I finally comitted to Twitter's popular #100DaysOfCode. It's a great motivator, and the key point is that you should code for an hour or more every day for 100 days, and share what you have been working on with that day. Twitter is a great way to share your progress, get inspiration an discover new resources. Did you manage to write Hello World in HTML? Read documentation on CSS-selectors. Whatever small or big step you take every day: Come join me and my 7 (yes, seven) twitter-followers over at #100DaysOfCode , and let's do this together!
I finally asked for help and was immediately given some advice on how to go on. Only it didn't work, and I didn't get why. I rewatched a lot of lessons and read up on stuff and googled away. My family situasion at the time was very busy beeing alone with the kids and working, so I took a few days of the project. but still thinking a lot about it.
But after all that, powering through and come out on the other side, finally getting it after asking for more help and talking to other students? It's an amazing feeling, and I'm so glad I stuck with it!
I still think that rough spots are a part of learning, and I still like them, you now, when you are past them.
Going forward I want to take it a bit slower, have more time for reflection and use more time on my blog and recourses page. I also wont underestimate how great the powers of a community are when learning something new!
I'm alive! Long time since my last blog post, but I have been really busy, and I want to share with you what I have been doing.
As promised I dove into Javascipt, but I have not yet come up much for air. I'm so excited, and I just want to learn ALL the things!!
After a weeks trial on Treehouses TechDegree I took the leap and signed up! Every second the baby sleeps or plays with her siblings, I code. Every second I can, I listen to podcasts, reading articles and doing code quizzes and challenges. I know this probably won't last forever, so I just have to keep it up as long as I have this insane drive and energy!
What keeps me going? I really enjoy learning, rough spots and all, and I have set a goal to do something every single day! It might not be big leaps, but just reading up on syntax of a language or listening to a motivating podcast about other programmers and their journey.
I'm prepared for my journey to take years, and I will just have to keep learning and building stuff.
I'm currently on the fourth of five steps in this course, and as soon as I'm done with the fourth I'm going to go back to my HTML and CSS for a while before finishing the fifth step. I want to do this so I don't get my syntaxes all tangled up in my head. I am by all means a novice in all these languages still, so I don't want to hurry to much.
I also want to share a hot tip for deciding what to learn! I searched a lot of local job listings in tech to find out what skills are most sought after. Then I know what I should learn to have the best possible opportunitu to get a job. It also gives me a clearer goal and I can dream about specific jobs I want when I'm qualified!
How much should I study?
I have no idea.
But I do know how much I'm able to, and how much I take advantage of that time.
Sure, I could wake up two hours earlier than the kids (hah..like that's possible), and I could pull an all nighter. But I don't.
I have no specific plan of either what I need to learn or by when. But I feel like I really, really, should put my back into it as long as I'm on partly leave from my main job and only work part time. This means that I maby have an hour or two extra every day while my youngest takes her nap, but I can never(ever) bet on that.
The reason I want to make good use of my time now, is that I want to code enough that I can get a feeling about if this is something I could see myself do as a full time job. And if I get some bonus time on the days I'm home taking care of my youngest, that's great.
I have however found several ways to learn that doesn't include me glued in front of my computer (I currently only own a stationary). As I have talked about in another blogpost, I listen alot to various coding/tech-podcasts. And as long as I'm not working, I do. In my car, on my breaks, doing work not involving intaraction with other people or a task that needs a significant part of my brainpower. If I get a minute or two alone (hah..) I go on my phone and do some exercises on SoloLearn or Codecademy. Then, come evening when the kids are all in bed, or my better half is covering that ordeal, I go on my computer and study for as long as I can. These sessions are the most important to me, as I need to actually write code to make the information realy stick.
I guesstimates than on an average day I can get in about three to five hours of podcasts, maby an hour on my phone (since I often do something there before falling asleep as well), and between 3-4 hours on my computer.
A "fun" fact about this rambling blog post that makes my challanges all the more clear: I started to write this post several nights ago and somewhere in the middle I had to take care of my middle child throwing up all over her bed. But now I'm back to blogging, learning and taking advantage of every minute I can.
I find it necessary to have a seperate project to work on along my learning. So as I follow along with the instructions on whatever learning platform I use at the moment, I will parallelly build my own project. At this moment, that project is this page, because I'm learning HTML and CSS. This means that my page will have all kinds of weird choices thrown in, like cheesy text-shadowing and pictures even if I don't want it to be a part of my page in the "end". This is because I feel that I should try all the different techniques on another project, where I'm not copying the instructor word for word.
So far I have learned a lot from this, because it's not always working as I want it to, and I have to understand why not, and fix it. I also find that I want some different features that I haven't learned yet, and have to google and find stuff myself. It's been very rewarding!
Bah...today I was called back from, what I belive to be, Norways first boot camp for coders. I had taken an IQ and personality test online a couple of weeks ago, and was picked to be involved in the next round. I had to send them my CV, application and a motivation letter.
Today they called and asked if I still was interessted in the "camp". Thing is, it wasn't just the three months of learning, but I had to stay in Oslo for a year working (getting paid) for their clients after the camp was over.
This is a great opportunity, and free of charge! Thing is, I have three kids, a boyfriend and a job. I could have maby managed to scrape together a plan to do the three months since I'm on unpaid maternity leave until august. But a year...bah..
Make a cheat sheet!
I recently came up whit the idea to make myself a cheat sheet. Yes, there is a lot of ready made cheat sheets out there, and yes, I can google stuff as I have recomended you to do. But I wanted to make a reference document whit the stuff I'm practicing right now.
And do you know what? I'm learning a ton! I've always learned better when taking notes, but just taking notes doesn't make it stick. I mean, I do follow the instructors on the online courses I take, so I do nothing else but writing down the stuff they say I should. BUT, that doesn't mean I understand what I'm doing.
As english is not my first language I wrote a cheat sheet in norwegian. When writing an explentaion for a element, tag or a container, I really have to understand what it does. This might be an even better method for those of you who are bilingual, but I feel like this could be a great trick for everyone.
I got my sister into learing code with me(wohoo!), and she felt like it helped her a lot as well!
Give it a try and tell me if it helpes.
There is no shame in googling stuff. It's typically what you would do when looking for answers to stuff you don't know, isn't it?
It's great to find out if a language can do the stuff you want it to do, or to refresh knowledge. It's all about discovering new stuff and relearn until it sticks. And I guess that in most languages, you can't possibly contain all the information in your head at all times, even if you have beeen coding for years.
I often pause my video lessons and try to figure out stuff for my self first. I google it, trying to implement it in my project, and then go back to the lesson. I feel like I learn more this way, as I am sort of familiar with it already when the lesson comes around, and can soak up all the additional information and not just the gist of it.
I feel like this is commonly mentioned by professionals as well, so google away and learn awesome stuff!
If you haven't already, find them podcasts! Don't wait, just do it. I have listened for a few weeks now and I firmly believe that being exposed to podcasts has helped me a great deal as a newbie.
Do I always understand all the lingo, the technical terms and whatnot? Um, no! But I've learned heaps from them, and if I revisit them(as I sometimes do) I suddenly understand a lot more than the first time, since I've been learning and practicing in the meantime. Read more about why you should start listening and what podcasts I listen to here.
Finding my path, for now
So, as mentioned I love to try new things, and tend to get a bit carried away. Where does that leave me when I want to transition into tech? I can't just choose what appeals to me the most(I don't even know what that is, it's all so intriguing to me), but I want to choose something that may have the possibility to get me somewhere. So for a person with no tech-skills on her diploma, what is the best skill to learn to have a chance to get a tech-job?
As you can read more about in my podcast post, I learn a lot from them. They talk about skills, opportunities and types of jobs. Thing is, I don't live in the US and can't take their advice blindly without knowing the need for these skills is existent in my country. Also, some of the episodes dates years back, and stuff seem to move fast in the tech world.
HTML - Hyper Text Markup Language.
For detailing the layouts of webpages. All webpages has HTML as their scaffolding that contains the content of a page. HTML isn't a programming language pr definition. It is a markup language and has no programming logic. So, guess that one is still important then..phew.
- CSS - Cascading Style Sheets
- A way to make padding on the HTML scaffolding in the form of styling the look of it, or the presentation. Put simply: The HTML makes the page, and CSS makes it pretty. After googling my butt of, I can't really find that there are any real options. So I guess this one is still very relevant to know as well(if you want to be able to make a webpage look OK )
It all started about 6-7 years ago. My SO has a PHD in mathematics and have used his fair share of Python. I understood nada of all that at the time, brushing it of as stuff for super smart people. But him making programs to find useful words in scrabble, and making a program to single out names with our specifics when waiting for our first baby to be born, was nothing less than magic to me! I downloaded an app and began learning Python and ran through some free classes and quizzes, all on my phone.
Skip a few years forward and I was once again drawn to coding after he got a new job and talked about things he did with code. I signed up on Treehouse, went through enough Python to make a tiny game, and went through a tutorial to make a webpage with HTML and CSS.
Then I kind of hit the wall. I wanted to learn more, but what practical use could this ever have for me? Isn't it better to spend my time on a productive hobby? So, long story a bit shorter, I saw no viable path forward, and let it go.
I really love to learn a new skill, always have, but it has to have some sort of (even imaginary) goal. This time around I feel like I can imagine the possibilities on a whole other level. I don't have to have a career lined up, (even though I think I would love to transition into tech) but I can see that skills obtained are not useless even if I just want to keep on dabbling on my own. Now I'm kicking myself for not sticking with it when my life was a bit calmer, because at 33 I feel like I kinda glued to my career path, but I don't want to be.
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