However, over 3 months and 128 challenges later I am not sure if I am making adequate progress and whether i’ll ever be able to transition to front-end/full-stack development as a career.
Three months is nothing. It took me 6 months to finish (and even that was pretty fast) and it took a while before things really started to click. That is normal.
My background: 32 years old, married and have a 10-month old daughter.
I started at 48. I am married but don’t have a child. It took two years, but now I’m a professional developer. YMMV.
Engineering in Biotech where I dabbled in C, C#, Java and DBMS more than a decade ago. Worked as a copy editor, content writer and currently an Instruction designer.
I studied a little Electrical Engineering but was a music major and worked as a professional jazz guitarist for decades. I also dabbled in a few languages here and there.
- Using FCC as my primary study resource.
- Supplemented by LinkedIn learning. w3schools and random google search
Yeah, I used FCC as a framing device for my learning. I used it as a the main path with occasional side quests if I needed to understand something better. I used MDN as a reference and did a lot of learning by coding along with youtube videos and checking stack overflow.
- I am completing challenges but not able to make out how they will come together towards the end.
It’s really hard to tell where you are in the challenges. Sorry, I don’t know where 128 challenges lands you. But I will say that the “OK, I did it but am still not sure where it fits in the big picture” feeling is very normal. Just keep learning.
And don’t be surprised if you don’t remember everything the first time. I’m learning Spanish and try to practice it with my fluent wife. Last night I was trying to text here that we were having thunder and lightning. The words for that are “truenos y relámpagos”. Did I remember it perfectly? No. I have probably looked that up 5 times over the last year. The first few times I had no idea. Then it starts to stick a little better. This time, I kind of knew it but had to look it up to confirm the spelling. If I keep using it, eventually it will be automatic. That’s how learning a language is. Learning a language isn’t like learning the rules for Monopoly, where there are a small, finite number of discrete, easily definable rules. With web dev, it huge number of facts, theoretical concepts, inter-relationships, and principles. And it keeps changing. No one can learn it all. Just keep getting better, learn the ideas, and learn how to find the information when you need it.
But, when I look at the code of other websites created by friends I find that I am unable to develop a conceptual framework of what I need to do if the I got the request to create that same website.
Completely normal for someone at your stage.
Do fellow campers make notes, if yes. any recommended ways of going about making notes?
I’m sure a lot do. Again, I was never going for memorization, but was focused on understanding the concepts. One thing I did do was keep a notepad nearby and I would make a not of anything that I wanted to learn more deeply. What did they mean by “memoization”? What what that “new” keyword I just got told to use? What is the “DNS”? There were things I didn’t want to get distracted by, but wanted to learn later. I also kept a list of terms I thought I should know. But if writing down code helps you, then do it.
I tried practicing by writing snippets of code using pen-paper but found it more productive to just code on the editor and see the output.
Makes sense. I will say that being able to write down code on a white board will be helpful in interviews. But it can be weird, especially when you’re learning.
- Though FCC challenges are self-paced, is there a suggested pace to keep the incremental learning healthy? I intend to spend 30-45 mins and complete what I can everyday (intend to be more consistent going forward).
There is no “recommended” pace. Just do what you can, when you can. Trying to set a minimum, like 30 mins a day - yes, that is a good idea.
3)Apart from Chingu are there any other collaborative coding forums where I can build real projects even as a beginner? Does FCC also offer such opportunities for beginners? How can I contribute to open source projects with FCC?
FCC is open source. You can contribute there.
4)How can I set a timeline to be job ready as a front-end developer?
There is no timeline. Some people get a job in a few months. It took me two years. Some people it may take five years. Don’t focus on things you can’t control. Focus on learning and getting better. When you get hired will depend on many things, including the state of the job market, where you live, what you’ve learned, what you’ve built, how convincing your portfolio is, how convincing your resume is, what connections you have, how well you interview, and luck.
It is hard to get that first job. There are a lot of jobs but you have to find one that overlaps your skills enough for them to take a chance. It is difficult. But that’s why it pays well - not everyone has the stamina to do this.
A while back I put my thoughts down about getting a job, here.