Sunday, October 11, 2015

Two months coding journey summary

  Hello, everyone!

  Another week is coming to an end, and today is my two months "anniversary" of learning code.  Happy code-a-versary to me! :) Not that it means that much, but I feel like I have made considerable progress in 60 days. Sixty days ago, I learned how to code my first puts 'Hello, world!' program.  And today I wrote a script that reads a .txt file that contains a list of URLs, sends a request to each one, and emails the results of all the URL checks. (I will be talking about that script later in my blog).

  Here is a blueprint of how I studied with the resources I used. It might prove useful for those starting to learn code.

  In the last two months I have:

 - installed brew, ruby, rails, git on my computer (Link)
 - learned the basics of command line (Learn Command Line the Hard Way)
 - learned the basics of Git (Codeschool)
 - learned the basics of HTML and CSS (Learn How to Program)
 - some more HTML and CSS basics (General Assembly Course)
 - completed first 10 chapters of C.Pine's "Learn to Program" (e-Book or you can buy it on Amazon)
 - completed first 45 Chapters of Z.Shaw's "Learn Ruby the Hard Way" (e-Book)
 - started Hartls Rails Tutorial (Rails Tutorial)

 Whew, it has been a busy two months! And a lot more studying ahead! :)

 Here are some tips that I can offer to anyone who is learning code:

  - Avoid jumping around between websites and resources. Especially if you are a beginner, most resources are mostly the same. Just choose one, whatever it might be, and stick with it. It will give you direction and purpose. Googling "best online coding course for beginners", jumping from one resource to another, and looking for that perfect tutorial is a waste of time. You could have just done another chapter! :)

-  Learn to read documentation. Yes, it is a giant pain, it is very confusing, and I am absolutely terrible at it. But documentation is the absolutely first place I look. Googling and looking through stackoverflow is my last resource. The more I work with documentation, the faster I find answers, the easier it is for me to understand what I am looking at, and how to apply what I see.

 - It is not easy to say, but I am a pretty lazy person by nature. It helps to find a system that keeps you focused and engaged. For me, I discovered a Pomodoro Technique. You can follow the link to learn about it, if you have never heard of it, but in a nutshell you study in 25 minute bursts, and then break for 5 minutes. It really works for me, and it completely changed the way I study. I don't get distracted, I am very focused and very productive. You don't have to use the Pomodoro Technique, but finding a system that works for you will increase your productivity.

- Set small daily and weekly goals. It gives purpose, and makes you excited to sit down and work on stuff. For example, my weekly goal might be "Complete Chapter X". But the goal for the day might be "Finish specific script or part of the script that I am working on" or "Learn about a specific topic".

- Get involved. is an amazing resource for those who are learning code. Getting involved, participating on the forum and in their twitter chat will accelerate your learning and will give you needed encouragement when you might be struggling. Find local Meetups in your area, and go to them. You WILL learn faster, and you might find a coding buddy, a mentor, and maybe even a future employer. Oh, and if you don't have it yet, get a twitter account ;)

- Don't code or study when tired. You will not retain information well, it is difficult to focus, and it is a waste of time. Just go to bed, get some sleep, and start fresh in the morning.

- Code. Every. Day! It really helps to get settled into a habit, and it also means that every day you are making progress!

 My plans for the next week are:

 I am attending a Ruby meetup in Baltimore on Tuesday, so I am really looking forward to that. I plan on finishing Chapters 46 and 47 of Learn Ruby the Hard Way, and finish Chapter 2 of Hartl's Rail's Tutorial.

That is all for now,

I hope you found this post useful, and as always, thank you very much for reading!

Keep Calm And Code On,

- Andrei

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