TL;DR: I enjoy freeCodeCamp because of how well-structured it is; I do not enjoy learning to code through scattered/poorly organized crash-course tutorials/resources (let’s call them SPOCTRs). Should I sacrifice the morale-boosting sanity of learning the way that works best for me by putting freeCodeCamp on hold so I can tough it out with the SPOCTRs in order to build my first real-life website with a looming (albeit tentative) September deadline?
WARNING: This may be a bit lengthy
I am facing what I think is a pretty important decision - pause freeCodeCamp and help a friend build a minimal, prototype, live website for his startup, or continue down the freeCodeCamp path while maintaining a more structured learning experience.
I am currently trying to balance the two sides, and have been for about a month now. However, there is a structure to freeCodeCamp (and Codecademy, which I use as a supplement sometimes) that is simply missing when I try to learn other stuff needed for the website. For example, over the past two weeks, I have been learning PHP and SQL so that I can begin work on the backend of the website (I have built some frontend webpages already). However, it feels really scattered, because the tutorials I have used do not provide an actual starting point if you want to make, for instance, your first dynamic webpage (think of the first ever Dr. Borlaug webpage we made and the guide to Codepen and all that). It is always just learn variables, arrays, functions, objects, DONE! . As such, it feels like I could spend the next month learning the different parts of the languages for the backend without actually starting on the backend. More so, the website will need signup/login functionality, so I envision my complaints worsening when it’s time to learn OAuth/Auth0 with my superficial knowledge of the languages/environments in which they will be implemented. If you’re wondering, there are other people who were supposed to be building these others parts of the website, but who have not held up their own ends of what we thought was an agreement.
The flipside to all this comes from the fact that this website, should I pull it off, will be my first real-life application created for and used by real-life people. I have read enough to know that this is crucial to building one’s portfolio and actually making strides in the CS field. I love the order and deliberately progressive nature of freeCodeCamp, but when I try to give into the allure of getting that first real-life app in my portfolio, the random nature of trying(/having) to learn SO much in such a disorganized fashion is a real morale killer.
In addition to these, there is the truly unfortunate fact that some of the people I live with and once held in the highest regard struggle to hide how much they look down on my decision to ditch going to medical school in order to pursue a career in what I have come to love doing ( coding ). This is something that weighs on my mind most days, and my best release is when I am following a structured process of learning to code, such as that which comes with freeCodeCamp. When I try to move into the less organized stuff, it just isn’t as fun and the stuff I would like to forget finds its way into my mind more often.
So, which option do you think I should prioritize? I would love to hear what you think because I know so many people here have had experiences that taught them lessons on what is more valuable, when, and why. Thank you so much for reading this far, and thanks so much more for whatever gem you drop in response! .