Suggestions on Learning - HELP!

Good Morning!

I’ve read A LOT about one of the best things about the coding community is the peer support for new learners and I could use some of that support today. I apologize in advance for the length of the post, but if you take the time to read and respond, you will most likely make a pretty big difference in someones learning process and I thank you in advance.

I recently came to freeCodeCamp with the intent to work through all the material in an effort to learn to code having no experience in the pursuit of a career change.

I currently work in retail (15 years+) and the stress and lifestyle are no longer for me. I am extremely excited at the concept of writing programs that DO things, but in order to change careers and in pursuit of a well rounded knowledge base, I am totally open to learning anything and starting anywhere.

I have worked through the entire first “Responsive Web Design” portion of the curriculum and I treated it like I would a class. I took notes on each section and put in my best effort to learn diligently as I have been successful in the past doing through school.

I have started the projects and the first couple hours of building the tribute page has been a grind. First, I don’t feel like I was prepared by the material to do so. Please do not misunderstand, I appreciate freeCodeCamp for what it is, but it sort of felt like I just took a class that teaches you the specifics of individual spices and vegetables, and then told to make a gourmet dinner. I found myself forking the example site for the project and that put me on the right path, but I was using HTML5 sections, unsure of where or how to use the div’s (on every section). I re-read my notes and the section on div’s and I’m not sure how A should have gotten me to know to do B.

I am 100% sure this is one of two things:

  1. I was not trying to build a page with what I was learning while I was learning. Nothing explicitly says to do this, and honestly looking back through my notes, I don’t know that following the order of the course would have helped with that. I DO, however, acknowledge that I should have been doing this throughout anyway as it probably would support MY individual effective learning process. Which brings me to number 2.

  2. This may not be the most effective way for ME to learn. I’ve watched videos and read dozens of Medium blogs about how everyone learned differently and used different resources. For example: One guy learned Javascript from a book. (apparently a popular book series, the name escapes me) He said he “worked through exercises”. I feel like I just did that? I WAS taking a Udemy course on Python when I first started freeCodeCamp but I put that on hold because I liked how freeCodeCamp seemed to be more structured in progressively teaching you. That course was just “ok, today we are going to show you how to use one of insert technical term” without explaining what that technical term is or means, or how it relates. Sure, I know how to do it, but I’m not going to know WHEN to use it.

I don’t have the financial opportunity or time to take a coding bootcamp and honestly from some of the things I’ve read, I’m probably not ready for that yet.

I feel like I need a progressive structured program like freeCodeCamp but I need, like homework, or something to APPLY the knowledge as I go to something other than just the automated kitty website exercises to cement it. In that way, maybe a book series IS the best approach?

freeCodeCamp is awesome and I am incredibly appreciative that there is a resource like this because, let’s be honest, if you wanted to become an engineer, or a chemist, these things just do not exist. I just need to hear suggestions or personal experiences that are similar to mine to get me on the right track.

Right now I feel kind of like I’m on a raft in the middle of an ocean of information and don’t know which way to row to get to land. Right now, freeCodeCamp is that raft, and I very much appreciate the support.

Thanks again

I am in the same boat as you. I am seeking to leave my current profession and enter the world of web development. I do not have a math or technical background and majored in public relations in college. I have recently realized that I actually love math and computer programming. It is a passion that I didn’t even know that I had until a few years ago.

First of all, I don’t think you should panic or get discouraged. I am not as far along as you are. I am working on the CSS exercises section now, but I’ve had that same panicky feeling. I’ve peeked at the projects and I have now idea where to begin when the time comes to start on them. I even asked a panicky question about my fears a few weeks ago. (The answers were very helpful if you want to check them out)

I love Free Code Camp, but I believe (as you have already heard) that it is a great starting point and is not the end all or be all. The exercises don’t give a lot of “fill in” and don’t give the “backstory” or the hows or whys. Even the videos are limited (although extremely helpful) With that being said, I think Free Code Camp is the single best free resource available online. I have been researching this industry for about two years and have started serious work toward my goals in the last couple of months. The exercises leave us hungry for more and it’s necessary to employ the “read-search-ask” method to complete most of the exercises. Isn’t that what programmers do almost every day?

So what do you do? In my opinion, I would strive to complete Harvard CS50. Also there are many Microsoft Courses available through Edx that I have started. They are also helpful. I started the algorithms on the Brilliant app and for the first time I felt like I will be ready for the algorithm section on Free Code Camp. Also, read, read, read. I think computer sciences books are extremely helpful. The best rated ones on Amazon are usually very good. Their ratings on their books are often accurate. Also, I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Complete as many projects as possible and build your portfolio. Also, the HTML, CSS, and Javascript Course by Yaakov Chaikin from Johns Hopkins University hrough Coursera is awesome. They help with the exercises and give the backstory. It is free course on Coursera.

Then, finally, I would still consider a top-rated boot camp after you can afford it or even a four-year degree in Computer Science if at all possible.

Free Code Camp is great and I am going through the entire curriculum. I am so gratetful that it is here.

I really appreciate the feedback.

Sometimes it’s just good to know that other people are/have been in the same place.

Also, you gave me some great leads to continue to develop. Thank you!

I completed the Tribute Page assignment and the link is here:

If you need any help, please feel free to reach out to me.

Thanks again!

You’re very welcome and same here! I love your Tribute Page. It just flows. It’s easy on the eye and easy to read and well organized. Like I said, I’m still pretty far behind your level, so I can’t offer any technical advice, yet, but to me it looks great! I’ve checked out some others that wanted advice on this forum and yours if definitely one of the top. (I know it’s not a competition and we’re all learning but just giving a point of reference. :slight_smile:

If I come across anything else interesting or helpful, I will certainly let you know!

Take Care!

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Hi there @crobinson661.

While I wouldn’t consider myself experienced in any way shape or form, I do feel I can relate and share my experience with you.

FreeCodeCamp is a great way to introduce yourself to programming, and the individual bit’s and pieces you would use on a day to day basis in projects, however in my opinion, it should not be relied on as the primary resource.

Think of the FCC exercises as the exposure to the material, simply getting your feet wet with most of the important aspects of HTML + CSS (and beyond.) Then it is best to to apply those in your own setting by either starting some kind of mini/side project for the purpose of learning, or seek out additional resources on specific areas from the FCC curriculum. (Semantic HTML, CSS Grid, media queries ect whatever you feel you need to go deeper on at any particular time.)

If you do this, it will help cement the content, it’s syntax, and how to use it. My main suggestion would be not to rely on FCC only, this is not (in my opinion) the best way to approach things.

The additional resources you use are going to be dependent on your learning style, however some I would recommend are…

FCC Youtube
W3 Schools
A Udemy Course that suits you

These are some resources I have utilized myself On top of FreeCodeCamp, to ensure I really understand the content more deeply.

Again, the best resources are going to depend on your learning style, these are just some I found helpful for me

Disclaimer - What you actually choose to dive into from these additional resources is also going to depend on what you are struggling with, or feel you need more knowledge on. This of course is going to require some self awareness and discipline.

TLDR: Don’t rely on FCC as your only learning resource, expand on the curriculum using additional resources, and with some personal projects/mini tasks.

Hope this helps!