Re-focusing on a language, need advice

I’ll try to keep this short and to the point. This may seem like a rant or rave but really I’m seeking advice.

Short story: So, I was hired as a developer at a company I work for and had a previous non-coding job at. My boss knew my lack of development experience (at the time I had 8 months self-taught experience in html/css/javascript) but she needed someone asap. I was then thrown into a pit of fire! I was basically attempting to learn C# (all everything that goes with it like .NET, LINQ, etc), Angular 1 and 2, React, Typescript, Entity Framework, JavaScript 2015, and I’m sure I’m missing a few others. After a little over 3 months she feels I’m not catching on as quickly since she has to go over things that we previously had talked about days ago. As you can see this is pure frustration for both of us. Her recommendations on where I should focus on change weekly, sometimes daily. On one day she even said I should go back to learning basic programming logic (more or less referring to FCC algorithm challenges).

So, I’m making a decision that I need to focus on something in my free time rather than jumping around as she suggests.

The current app I work on is in C#, Entity Framework, Typescript, JavaScript 2015, and React. However, after this app comes to a completion state she has to find out which project to put me on next. Other Apps we use everything from the above but instead of React its with Angular 1 and soon Angular 2.

So my plan is to start building a few apps at home and deep dive into a language. Anyone have any suggestions on where to start? What would make the most sense given the above?

Thanks in advance!

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Pit of fire is right! I hope you get paid a lot for going through this. It doesn’t sound so much like your boss was just looking for someone ASAP, but someone she could exploit without having to pay a developer’s salary. The skill set she’s expecting you to pull out of a hat is extensive, and frankly I don’t think it’s possible for you to get to do this alone considering your prior experience. I say this not as an insult to you, as you have a really great attitude, a willingness to learn, and would doubtlessly excel as a programmer if you were given the right conditions for learning, but to your boss, who should be fired for gross incompetence.

If you chase two rabbits, you will catch neither one
-Russian proverb

So, what do you do now? A deep dive is the right idea, and I would start with JavaScript. It would be well worth the investment to pay for a structured learning system like Treehouse. Do the freeCodeCamp projects. Learn as much JavaScript as you can and try to put what you learn into practice at work. Don’t just cram, but really try to learn this stuff, and do as much as you can on company time. Then, after you’ve done a few of the freeCodeCamp projects, start applying for developer jobs. You’ll be able to put all of your time at that hell-hole on your resume as developer experience, you’ll be able to demonstrate actual competence in a programming language, you’ll be much more likely to get paid what you’re worth, and you’ll still be learning new things.

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Thanks for the reply! I really do appreciate your feedback. The pay is pretty good. More than I could find at a typical junior position. However, I think she was expecting me to just catch on like a wild fire and it’s not happening. The frustration continues at work daily. I got nothing accomplished (or at least working). Left work today feeling like a failure.

I took your advice and jumped into learning more ES6 stuff. Thanks!

It sounds like you’re completely overwhelmed, which is understandable given the circumstances. One thing that will help you out is to break the project into small chunks. When you look at the big picture and try to do everything all at once it looks intimidating. By breaking the project into small tasks that can be completed in a few hours or a day or so, you start to feel like you’re accomplishing something because you are getting things done instead of jumping around doing a little here and there. I’d suggest something like Visual Studio Team Services Online. You can sign up as an independent developer and it will be free. It can be used for source control, which you wouldn’t need for your work projects but could be handy for your personal projects, but it can also be used as a task/project management system. Here’s the link for that:

Focus on your strengths: the front-end stuff. Take a deeper dive into those areas because that’s what is familiar to you. Where I work, we have a couple of resources that are really good at teaching anything you want to learn and it’s mostly hands on. They do have monthly subscription costs, but if you can afford it, they are great and go from complete novice/never touched code before up to advanced topics. We use Pluralsight and Lynda. I believe they both now have code paths that you can follow that takes you from basics to advanced fundamentals in specific areas.

I’ve been a C#/ASP.NET developer for over 3 years now, so if you have any questions, you’re welcome to message me and I’ll do what I can to help.