I Just Don't Understand This

Hi guys!

I’m trying to retrain after going a LONG time without learning anything new. I was a musician in the old world but since THE EVENT I’ve decided to learn to code. I’ve booked myself on to a boot camp and they showed me FCC to get the basics before I start at the end of September.

I did quite a bit of HTML when I was in school, built my own website etc. but I never went any further. CSS is very doable for me, I get what I’m doing after a fashion and I can see how it works.

Then there’s JavaScript.

I JUST DON’T GET IT. I’ve done w3schools.com’s basic JS, I’ve nearly finished the basic JS module on here by reverse engineering the answers to quite a lot of the challenges, but I just feel like I’m missing something. The syntax of JavaScript is breathtakingly difficult and I’ve just got to the “Testing Objects for Properties” part of the JS module and I don’t even know what it’s asking me to do. What I need is a mentor but I’m scared that if I don’t pass this I won’t get one, which is a kind of catch 22.

I don’t even know what I want by posting this, I just want to vent I think. Or get some lessons with someone? Or something? I’d like to think I’m a clever guy but I haven’t been made to feel this stupid in a very long time.

Frowny face single tear.


Sorry to hear you’re having problems, xmen. I am (was?) also a working musician and am taking up code as the “next gig.”

My take on FCC’s JavaScript course is that it is far too hard for a pure beginner. It gives almost no repetition and is equivalent to a bunch of weekly piano lessons without any time in between to practice.

My advice would be to seek out very easy JS materials and do lots of them. Once you’ve got some reps under your belt, the FCC curriculum will be doable and a good challenge. I’ll give you a list of stuff I have used that I thought was good.

  1. JavaScript for Cats. A gentle and cute introduction.
  2. A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript. I got the book and did all 1800 of the exercises. Yes, 1800. The chapters are about 2 pages to read and then he has a nice, very gradual system of exercises.
  3. w3 Resource. 150 easy(ish) challenges that also include an answer, explanation, and a comment section where other people give it a try. I have been doing a few of these every morning. Most of them are easy, but it’s good to make sure you have this kind of thing down cold.
  4. CodeCademy. I think CC is a competitor of sorts to FCC, but I think it’s a complementary thing to FCC. CC is easier and if you spring for the pro version, you get a lot of practice and a different perspective on the material. Their curriculum hits things that FCC doesn’t, and FCC hits things CC doesn’t. I did most of the CC JS before I was able to do the FCC JS.

CC also offers a 3-month scholarship for people who (like me and you) have been affected by COVID.

  1. Beginning JavaScript by McPeak/Wilton. This book helped me so much in learning how to actually use JavaScript on the page. It’s well-written and full of useful material.

It was only after doing all this stuff that I was able to come to FCC and feel FCC was of a suitable level for me.


I feel you, friend.
i’m at the “Record Collection” class/challenge on JS course and i can’t understand shit, it can be really frustrating, i feel really dumb lol

The record collection one is kind of silly. I think the problem was throwing dot notation and bracket notation at us too fast and in a complex situation. Too much, too fast.

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I felt like it had a big difference in difficulty from previous lessons.
BTW, that “JavaScript for cats” you linked here is awesome, i 'm doing it right now, thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

The Record Collection is the first challenge that actually asks you to put together several things that you’ve learned (rather than being spoonfed one concept at a time). So it’s quite important, but it’s also the challenge where most learners first hit a brick wall, so don’t feel dumb for finding it hard. You have been shown all the things you need, and the function you need to write can match the instructions exactly as written (the challenge at its core is basically “can you translate the description of this algorithm from English to JavaScript”).


Thanks, it’s encouraging to read this :slight_smile:

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Your situation sounds a lot like mine! Fellow musician retraining, did HTML websites at school, did fine with HTML and CSS but found JavaScript pretty brutal. My path through this has been doing courses on Udemy and doing FCC exercises on the side to help consolidate what I was learning. The main course I’ve been doing is this one, then I did some of this to help me more with JavaScript. From what you described it sounds like this kind of structured video tuition could be useful for you, and I don’t think I could’ve got to grips with JS without them or some equivalent. Good luck!

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Like others have said, sometimes FCC doesn’t explain things too well, especially if you’re learning programming (like, actual algorithmic data handling and not just frondend display/styling) for the first time. In addition to what they’ve said, TOP has a JS tutorial. But really learning programming you have to learn a new kind of thinking and organization. It’s like studying theory for somebody who only ever played, or switching between jazz and classical. it’s not easy. Keep trying things until you learn them. And some of these challenges can take days to solve. If you want a different perspective with less syntax, Learn Python the Hard Way and Automate the Boring Stuff with Python are two great tutorials, but somewhat dated. (The amount of JS syntax you need for FCC is not much, from a broader programming perspective, but it can sure feel like it if you are wading through it for the first time.)


You guys are awesome! Cactus I’ve bought those books and am looking through coding for cats now.

I guess I’ll spend a while getting on those other courses and then come back to FCC in a bit.

Thanks again guys, I think it’s going to be ok!

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Stay calm I am a CS student at UCSC going onto my 4th year and everyone feels this way on a daily basis. From the professionals to beginners its a process and technology never stops. I can tell you that this field will test your patients, mental state, and you need to let things go and take a break. I would suggest you revisit the foundation and try to understand that a property is something that belongs to “an” object, much like humans have their own properties, their eyes, their hair, their ID, some are inherited by our parents (think of your parent as the constructor), but not all properties are given as you receive some from your mom. Hence, when you learn JS try drawing out (words) these things it helps, well at-least in my perspective and visualize the concepts. Go back to the section you most feel comfortable and slowly make your way back until you feel ready. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

Look into Object.hasOwnProperty (if I recall correct and experiment on a repl or some JS playground with objects)

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