Codecademy and freeCodeCamp: A Beginner’s Voyage

With some free time on my hands, I made the decision to delve into the world of software development. Recognizing the need for a new approach, I resolved to give my career aspirations in this field another shot.

My Story

Throughout my professional journey, I have primarily been employed within the IT sector. Starting from a call center help desk position, I gradually advanced to become a field technician, which is still my current role. My responsibilities involve assisting office employees with their technical issues, which typically include repairing hardware, troubleshooting network problems, and frequently advising them to reboot their systems.

Although I lack a CS degree, I frequently jest, even during interviews, that my past ten years have been spent puzzling over computers and then resorting to Googling explanations for their behavior. I consider myself a self-motivated individual with an inquisitive nature, and I have explored a wide range of subjects.

I used to believe that programming was a skill that I was not capable of acquiring. It seemed mysterious and perplexing. I would often find myself gazing at the intricate lines of code, feeling as though I were trying to comprehend an ancient language that was beyond my grasp.

I made a mistake by holding that belief. I recall gazing at the new D&D Beyond website and desiring the ability to create something similar. At that moment, I told myself, ‘You haven’t made an attempt yet.’

Suddenly, a sound filled the air.
It finally dawned on me. Before I completely dismissed myself, I realized I needed to put in some effort.

Hence, I embarked on a mission to acquire coding skills, with a focus on Javascript. Renowned as the “language of the web,” I resolved to become proficient in it, regardless of the duration it might require.

I was immediately drawn to two resources, namely Codecademy and freeCodeCamp, and I decided to explore both of them. This is my journey.

Codecademy

Codecademy first.

Why?

The website had an attractive appearance with a well-designed layout. While freeCodeCamp is a well-made site, it doesn’t have the same level of polish as Codecademy. Seeing the quality of the site made me believe that the creators knew what they were doing. Specifically, I was interested in their Web Development course and was willing to pay for a membership to access their professional courses.

Every day after work, I dedicated three to four hours to my studies. On weekends, I invested ten to fifteen hours into making progress. Gradually, I made steady progress in the course until its completion.

I have constructed numerous web pages from the ground up, including a React application that retrieves data from the Yelp API. Moreover, I have explored test-driven development and created SQL tables and queries.

After an extended period of three months, I reached a point where I was able to comprehend and interpret the code effectively.

However, even after experiencing a new endeavor, I felt uncertain. I still lacked the confidence to fully commit and create something on my own. I desired additional opportunities, more tasks to hone my skills. I yearned for a genuine test of my abilities.

Codecademy provided a comprehensive overview and proved to be an invaluable resource in teaching me about various aspects of web development. Above all, it immersed me in a learning environment where I completed modules and ignited my desire for further knowledge.

freeCodeCamp

Enter freeCodeCamp.

I chose to prioritize this task as it appeared to be a difficult one. By that time, I had become a member of several Facebook groups dedicated to coding education. Witnessing others discussing and encountering challenges in their coding journey, I also desired to face difficulties in order to improve my skills.

Instead of pursuing the Responsive Web Design certification, I chose to directly embark on the Javascript Algorithms and Datastructures certification to promptly solidify my understanding of Javascript. (I intend to return and finish the Responsive Web Design certification later on.)

I put in a lot of effort. I struggled greatly. I had to search for information online. I extensively utilized Mozilla’s MDN site. Instead of immediately looking up the answers, I explored all possible options first. There were occasions when I stepped away from my computer out of frustration with my algorithm not working. However, I would return with renewed determination. As a result, I discovered where and how to locate the answers.

During my time there, I acquired the ability to think like a developer.

After a span of two months, I obtained my certification.

Path Forward

These two websites were extremely helpful for learning code. I would highly recommend them to beginners. I frequently refer back to the information I learned there.

With newfound confidence, I am able to analyze and handle any Javascript code. I successfully constructed my initial React application without relying on tutorials. Although it may be simple and lighthearted, it is a product of my own efforts. The knowledge I acquired from both sources greatly influenced its development.

I will continue moving forward with determination, aspiring to become a web developer. Regardless of when I feel ready, the timing does not concern me. Even if my goal is never achieved, I will persist in creating enjoyable and captivating projects. Programming has become my newfound passion.

Links

– Codecademy
– freeCodeCamp
– My Newbie GitHub

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