What Kind of Indication Might This Be of My Native Levels of Competence?

So in addition to FCC, I use several other resources (I actually hold Gordon Zhu’s “Watch and Code” on an equal footing, believe it or not, with FCC simply for its “pedagogy:” instead of starting with “In the beginning…” [“there was the Variable, and the Variable was with the Array, and the Variable was the Array”], he just says we’re gonna learn a to-do list 'cause practically every application has the nature of a to-do list, functionally speaking, and we’ll learn syntax as we go along), and one of my favorites is Eloquent JavaScript (which is available online totally free).

Now that’s a classic, in its third edition now, but it’s also been hard (and is very conventional in its pedagogy) – but anyway at the end of Chapter Two there’re some classic exercises: FizzBuzz and Checkerboard.

Now I did FizzBuzz quickly, solved it in like ten/fifteen minutes…it’s been especially encouraging to learn that the book noted it as having often stumped many real-world job applicants!!!

But Checkerboard took me like six hours total – at least half of which was actually just pacing back and forth (“success is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine perspiration”)! – though I’d worked on it on another day, and in the public library, which in NYC are usually at least somewhat uncomfortable…

So are there any “real” developers or coding educators out there who know what those “metrics” may portend for my “native” programming abilities?? (Don’t worry, you can’t discourage me; after all, even ugly guys will pursue pretty girls!!)

Just curious. Thanks.

Different people struggle with different aspects of learning to program. Sometimes you have a good day and sometimes you have a bad day. I’m a “real” developer and I don’t feel like I know anything special about your abilities. I also wouldn’t worry about what you can “native” abilities. What matters is that you’re interested and work hard. There is a lot to learn and a lot of hours of practicing ahead of you that will extend far beyond where innate ability or background advantage make a difference.

1 Like

Well, sure, thanks for that pat on the head there (honest) but if you were in charge of interviewing applicants for a boot camp scholarship, say – 42, C4Q’s Access Code, NYCDA, etc. – and for some reason management had these two problems as part of the selection process, what would my performance suggest?

Just curious. It does helps for folks like me to know “how” we’re doin’…like I said, I can’t be discouraged but it really helps me to know what “standards” may be or should be (or at least what the standard distribution is)…thanks again!

My point is that at this early phase of your education, I don’t feel like it tells me anything. A couple of arbitrary beginner exercises don’t give me any insight. I don’t know what level of experience is expected for bootcamps, but if I was interviewing you for a job, if I somehow knew that back when you first started you spent 6 hours on the checkerboard problem I would not consider it remotely useful or interesting information. It’s like if I said “I learned how to ride a bike quickly, but made mistakes driving a golf cart for the first time, what does this tell you about my natural talent to become a helicopter pilot?”

Really. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t mean anything except that one exercise fit with your prior experiences and expectations more than the other did.

1 Like

Okay, LOL, that’s a great example – and yeah I hope to learn to pilot fixed and variable wing craft one day, too (first gotta git that nice-payin’ coding job)!

I’m not actually worried…was actually wondering if I have any right to be “proud” of myself for solving those problems – “proud’s” too strong a word but I still feel incredibly “hooah” (as the say in Army infantry back when I was in) about them and they’re what got me convinced that at least I can program (no hints or googling or anything other than sweatin’ it out – in just one case, actually; the other came quickly enough, as I’d mentioned)…just gotta work on the speed (though as they say in piano, speed will come naturally enough after familiarity with other more important aspects)!

Heck yeah! You did a hard thing. You learned something new and alien. You paced and cursed and persisted for 6 hours on a problem that no one was forcing you to do so that you could have a breakthrough. The fact that there’s a HOOAH at the end of solving a problem is the carrot at the end of the stick and the thing that keeps us doing this difficult, frustrating, and challenging thing called programming.

1 Like

LOL – thanks; I liked that post, too!

Now I was wondering, though…I sweated bricks for six hours 'cause…well, not sure why exactly…I wonder if it had something to do with recursion, which I’ve heard is heard and, worse, is something that one either gets or doesn’t and, moreover, worse than worse, is something that’s really useful quite often!

Though the solution didn’t involve recursion (or arrays; as a simple exercise in self-study I’m now gonna see if I can solve this using arrays), it seemed like a kind of “recursive-cognitive-thinggy” was blowing up my brain, making me get confused over the two for-loops I eventually used for my solution…so I’m really curious why it was so hard, that classic Checkerboard problem, and I fear it may have to do with too many knocks to the head or something and not just a typical beginner’s ignorance!

OMG DID YOU SEE THAT…“something to do with recursion, which I’ve heard is heard and, worse, is something that one either gets or doesn’t and, moreover, worse than worse, is something…” – I’d meant to write “…which I’ve heard is hard”…!!

In talking about recursion, I wound up writing recursively!!!

Am I like too nuts for this field??? Damn, and I didn’t even see combat…or maybe it’s advancing middle age???


My rule of thumb is that everyone needs to try learning recursion at least twice before it really clicks and recursive approaches sometimes seem simpler or more obvious than an imperative solution. I think that you’re still just going through the process of learning how to give computers instructions and correctly predicting how they’ll execute the commands. It’s basically a problem of thinking through what you want to happen step by step and then figuring out how you can describe that to a mindless idiot that you can’t explain things to.

1 Like

Yeah, thanks for that, too…though recursion sounds simple enough in words – I just don’t understand what’s the mental block, the cognitive issue, that may be preventing me from implementing it in code (I haven’t really worked with recursion but did attempt to output Fibonacci Numbers once [to no avail, as you’ll sense])…