Suggestions on Learning

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

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I completely understand where you’re coming from. I had similar issues with applying what I’ve learned from FCC, eventually I dropped it completely and focused on video courses. Like you, I have nothing against FCC and appreciate all they’re doing, but this learning style is just not for me. It seems like you’re more this kind of learner as well.

I’ll recommend you just two resources at this moment.
HTML Basics
CSS Basics

They’re for complete beginners and it might seem like you’re just repeating yourself (feel free to set the speed to 1.25x), but I’d like you to go through each one and test things out after every lesson. Play with the examples on - create just one pen and build on it with each lesson - and only move on to the next one if you can answer both questions:

  1. Can I understand what this is doing?
  2. Can I think of any use for this?

Keep things short, no need to go overboard, just make sure you’re getting more and more familiar with each concept of the series.

You’ll learn the most by doing, don’t get stuck with FCC lessons, they don’t provide you much feedback, and you really need feedback in the beginning (I did, anyway).

CSS series is much lengthier than HTML, that’s because there isn’t much to HTML, it’s just markup - laying things out, telling the document where it should place what. CSS is where you’ll be spending the most time at this stage.

Also - try to create that tribute page after you finish both series! :slight_smile:
For more experience, you can try this course: I disregarded it initially because I thought it’s for complete beginners, but from what I’m reading it’s actually more about theory and might prove useful. It’s only one hour long and free, feel free to check it out.


@ramydenton I think this is a good analogy of how I feel much of the time when I’m learning something new. I bet most people feel this way. I think what we learn after feeling this so many times is to keep trying and push through this feeling. It always gets better, even if it takes a while.

That said, everyone learns differently, like you say, so you may find more of what you need from a book, or videos like @Gigusek mentions, rather than fCC. Do whatever it takes for you to learn.

I say the following in a supportive way … Nobody else cares if you succeed or fail at learning this stuff. Also, learning everything on fCC won’t guarantee you’ll get a job or make money. I’m sure you know this, but I feel it’s worth noting here. I say this because the reasons to push through the feeling you describe and keep trying have to come from within you and be something that continues to drive you even and especially when outside forces (getting stuck on a project, not getting a new job, etc…) come down on you hard. :sunny:

@Ramydenton Your previous post was about how you got a job as a developer. Very strange.

Thanks for sharing that with us, actually this not a big problem, all you need is to study smart.
If you complete these two books, i guarantee : you will be a professional web development within 5 months.

  • The first book is: " HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites" by Jon Duckett
    it covers:
  • Introduces HTML and CSS in a way that makes them accessible toeveryone—hobbyists, students, and professionals—andit’s full-color throughout
  • Utilizes information graphics and lifestyle photography toexplain the topics in a simple way that is engaging
  • Boasts a unique structure that allows you to progress throughthe chapters from beginning to end or just dip into topics ofparticular interest at your leisure


  • The second book is : " JavaScript and JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development" by Jon Duckett


  • Basic programming concepts – assuming no prior knowledge of programming beyond an ability to create a web page using HTML & CSS
  • Core elements of the JavaScript language – so you can learn how to write your own scripts from scratch
  • jQuery – which will allow you to simplify the process of writing scripts (this is introduced half-way through the book once you have a solid understanding of JavaScript)
  • How to recreate techniques you will have seen on other web sites such as sliders, content filters, form validation, updating content using Ajax, and much more (these examples demonstrate writing your own scripts from scratch and how the theory you have learned is put into practice).

I have removed the links to pirated books from your post. Please do not share links to pirated content.

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