Pacing Myself

When I started this blog, I set myself a 2 year deadline to get my full-stack cert from Free Code Camp. I’ve just come back from a 5 (!) month break and am basically having to start from scratch. This has led me to look at the estimated time scales and see how long it should take me at my new, slower pace.

I’m planing on doing 7 hours a week for the front-end cert which will take me at least a year. More if I use all the estimated times that FCC give you. Then it’ll be another year for the data visualisation and back end certs if I double my time to 14 hours a week. That’s still not that much and if my health improves, I’d be looking at 20 hours a week if my energy and brain function allows.

So, I’m now unlikely to hit my target of 2 years, as per my blog title. But the game is still on and I feel okay with that. I’d rather spend 3 years and achieve my goals than spend no time and never reach them.

Advertisements

What the heck happened?

5 bleedin’ months!? I had no idea I’d been away for so long…

I’d not abandoned my blog or goals but my long standing depression got in the way and has been causing me exhaustion when I do too much mentally and the amount of fcc work I was doing broke the camel’s back, so to speak.

Anyhow, I’m back and with a new approach. I’m going to have to limit myself, as much as possible, to 52 minutes a day- as per the research here on ideal study periods. I’d like to do a lesson a day but if that’s not feasible, I’m going to have to learn to let it go.

I’m also taking a step back from fcc for a month while I work through Julie Meloni’s ‘HTML. CSS and JavaScript’ (2015). It’s a really good textbook with quizzes and plenty of practical activities. What I like, and why I’m studying here first, is that it doesn’t shy away from the technical background stuff. I’m on chapter 1 and it addresses web domains, ftp and responsive web design. These are things that weren’t covered by fcc before you plunge in.

So, today, I set up my first ever web domain- lornaroberts.net. Tomorrow I ought to have a teensy, tiny bit of content- probably the notorious “hello world” My plan is to use this as my portfolio site/playpen. I just need to figure out directories first…

Blog one-month anniversary

Dearest readers,

Beyond my skeptical expectations, it’s been over a month now and I’m still both doing FCC and blogging. I have to admit to having a week off after finishing JS but I got annoyed at myself for abandoning the opportunities that becoming a developer could bring I’ve dragged myself back to it. I’m both excited and very unsure of the next section which is basic algorithm challenges. This is where you need to start thinking like a programmer.  Which I’m looking forward to. But will also require me to be able to recall or, more importantly, understand the previous lessons… I’ll keep you updated on how each challenge goes, if or when I get them completed. Perhaps with the odd frustrated winge along the way. No. 1 is called “Reverse a String”.

Finally, understanding!

Hello, folks.

Been in a JavaScript personal hell what little self-confidence disappeared and I’ve flopped around like a fish out of water. However, I have, finally, managed to fully understand that Profile Lookup FCC challenge. So, here goes for a walk through:

We start out with x initialised at 0, moving as far as the end of the contacts list and moving on one at a time. Now, if the value of firstNames is a match, and the property value also has a match, you return both the first name and the property.

But if only the property has a match, you return “No such contact”. Then finally, if there’s only a firstName match, you return, “No such property”.

All of this is very similar to the original instructions which I completely over thought. I also didn’t allow myself to thoroughly go through my notes which would have helped a lot. So, while I’m still the odd bit or bob off trying again without notes, I get what my mistakes are and why they’re wrong. So that’s a wee bit of progress.

Next up is a session on Object Oriented and Functional Programming. Then a big, big 50 hour chunk of basic algorithms in  long list of problems to solve. I’m looking forward to the new challenges but I’m concerned I won’t manage them. I feel like I’m hitting a natural boulder of ability that I’m not going to get beyond. I really need to get building another website so I don’t forget those basic skills while I try to obtain a different set of basic skills.

Do you ever doubt you’ll reach your big goal? Do you have any mental tricks to get past those doubts?

Back on the horse

Well, I decided to get back on Free Code Camp a bit early as I’ve been getting disillusioned with with my text book- Sam’s HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It had started out well and I felt I was getting extra concepts that with FCC but then I started typing out the exercises and realised that there were quite a few concepts that hadn’t yet been explained, or not fully enough in order for me to properly understand what was going on.

So I’ve restarted JavaScript on FCC from the beginning. I ought to get back where I was tomorrow. I can’t totally blame my book though. I’m struggling to retain anything at the moment but maybe that’s just because JS is hard if you haven’t done any coding before at all…or maybe that’s just an excuse and I need to work smarter.

I’ve just rejoined the gym and been going through posts on Pinterest for some motivation.  My favourite is “your speed doesn’t matter. Forward is forward.” Make it so.

A penny drops

Today’s efforts have elucidated a few issues for me. Firstly, arrays. For whatever reason, I hadn’t grasped that they’re packets of information. I was viewing them as sequences of numbers. Rather than seeing the numbers within an array and the instructions relating to that number specifically,  instead its position within the array. So that’s a minor breakthrough for me.

Secondly, the evil FCC exercise that had been eluding me has become 2/3rds understandable. I now understand that:

variable x is initialised at 0 value, runs until the end of array called contacts and involves moving on 1 position after each loop.

Then, if during the loop, a first name matches a first name AND if property matches with a property, then you return the values of x(first name) and the property.

If it takes a subsequent loop and it finds a match just for a first name it returns, “No such property” and if it loops again and doesn’t find anything then “No such contact” is returned.

What I still don’t understand is the useage of ‘.firstName’ and ‘.hasOwnProperty’. I mean, I get what they stand for but I don’t know the use of the dots, nor where the hasOwnProperty bit arrived from. At least I’m not too worried and have a bit of faith that I’ll come across this in my textbook before it’s time to get back to FCC on Sunday.

Meantime, I’m going to watch the Harvard CS50 computing course videos on youtube. I’ve heard it’s really good at explaining how to think like a programmer. Ciao for now!

DUM, DUM, DOM!

Back on the books tonight and the rest of the DOM chapter. It was about using the Document Object Model to make buttons to move your browser back and forwards history-wise, make text disappear and reappear and also add text typed into a box to show further up the page. ‘Dynamically’ as they say. I’ve found the explanations really hard to visualise. While typing out the examples does certainly help, there’s tons of code that I can only hope I’m only meant to have a vague knowledge of rather than actually know off by heart (I hope). Tomorrow should bring variables, strings and arrays so hopefully more familiar territory.

Digital Nomading

Yes, I’m aware I’m getting about 5 years ahead of myself here but I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of becoming a digital nomad once I’ve been a developer for a couple of years. For the few of you who won’t know, it’s basically working around the world pursuing jobs like in computing, IT, sales, marketing etc which can be done remotely- which is traditionally home working.  Digital nomads pick a country/city then move there for a month or three before moving on to somewhere else like a mac book carrying vagabond. Chiang Mai in Thailand seems to be ground zero with expats seeking a lower cost of living but still with things like wifi. Have a read of this and this and tell me you’re not even a little itty-bit tempted!

I love travelling- although I haven’t been able to for the past few years for health reasons. I spent 5 months in China doing tefl and there isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking about how great it was. I’ve also been to the USA and a good chunk of Europe. Aside from a return trip to China and Berlin, I’d like to see Taiwan, Japan and India. So becoming a digital nomad would seem to be the perfect solution, right?14742438450_7ec9ba4ed4_z

Unfortunately, the more I think about it, the more I don’t think it’s for me. I like my little flat. I have a dog and a mother that I care about deeply and, as time ticks by, I get a bit more edgy at the thought of nipping off round the world for a few years ‘just in case’ something were to happen due to mum’s age. I also don’t make friends very easily and don’t see the ones I do have very often. I’d be throwing that away for more transient acquaintances. I also like working with people. I enjoy office banter and silliness. I wouldn’t get that squirreled away in some hotel room or on my own in a sea of strangers in some co-working space abroad.  I also live in the UK and there’s so much still to see. I’ve not been to the Orkneys or Shetland, Nottingham Castle, Cornwall or Cardiff.

I think my perfect solution would be the opportunity to go abroad for a month or two every year. That way I could get the travel out of the system while having my home comforts waiting for me. Only, I don’t know if I could knuckle down and concentrate when there’s so much to explore. So, unless I couldn’t get a decent office located job and it had to be remote working, I think I’d rather go for something more conventional.

What are your opinions about remote working and becoming a digital nomad? Inspired? Put off? Do you know someone who does it already? I’d love to know.

Diverted

I was meant to be doing more on JavaScript this evening- which I did for a bit- until I developed the irrational notion that I had to jazz up my clock project beyond the bit I copied  learned from the book. So, behold the wonderous borders. Be amazed at the use of a box shadow and blinded by central alignment of my text here. It took me 2 bloody hours of going round in circles losing my alignments and chasing the rectangles around. It won’t win any design awards but it’s as done as I can think to make it right now. I did also learn about wrappers/containers and how to overlap text on a shape so it was a good exercise in itself. However. No more excuses and back to DOMs tomorrow.

Hitting a brick wall

In going through the FCC challenges, there have been times I’ve given in to looking at a hint after a few hours of no progress but I’ve been able to figure out the working and I’ve been able to move on. I might be being somewhat over-dramatic but I think I’ve found my nemesis and it’s got me in a choke hold and is pummeling my face…Nesting for loops.

I was doing okay with iterating odd/even numbers as well as counting backwards. But pop an array in there and I’ve got a problem. The key thing I don’t understand which may, or may not, be the key to my problem is the [i] in the following:

var arr=(10,9,8,7,6)

for (var i=0; i <arr.length;i++) {

console.log(arr[i]);

}

I get that the variable is the top array. Then the loop initialises with the value 0. Then the condition is that it will continue cycling as for the length of the array as its maximum while adding 1 more  every loop. Now, it’s meant to output each part of said array but I don’t really understand the relation between the array and that final [i]. I definitely need to go back a couple of lessons and thrash it out. Nesting for loops?! I’m coming for you!!!!!! p.s if you can explain it to me, you have a friend for life!