2017-03-09

I’ve been tinkering with code for years, ever since I first fell in love with HTML (you had me at “Hello World”). CSS followed not long after, and then JavaScript. I never actually finished learning any of them (if that’s even possible), just looking up how to do this, that, and the other thing whenever I wanted to build a page for a particular purpose. I’ve been able to cobble together many useful pages that way over the years, and I have no doubt that that method will continue to teach me new things and bring enjoyment and a sense of discovery. After all, coding web pages – especially when you make them do something – is just plain fun.

There is the matter of putting bread and butter on the table, though. It occurred to me recently that web development is in a lot of demand in the job market, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop being that way any time soon. It might be wise to get an official education in it and pursue it as my career. So I started looking around at the possible ways to learn it.

There are various paid career schools you can attend. You could go to college. Or you could take courses for free (or for a mixture of free and paid, depending on the features you want) at a number of places on the Internet. The places I found to learn coding completely for free were freeCodeCamp, Khan Academy, The Odin Project, and W3Schools. I’ve since found more, but those were the ones I chose from.

Since I’ve used and loved W3Schools for many years as a quick place to go when looking something up, I’ve decided to work my way through all their courses once and for all (something I should have done quite a while ago).

I also signed up for Khan Academy and began their Computer Programming courses. At the time that I started, the HTML and CSS course came first. Currently they’ve shifted things around to teach JavaScript first (no idea why, since HTML really is the foundation for it all when it comes to web development, but I could be wrong). The teacher made a pretty surprising mistake in the very first lesson (calling a forward slash a back slash), but other than that, I’m loving the lessons and the way you’re frequently called upon to actively code.

I was also going to go with The Odin Project, but although I really like their approach, their philosophy, and the thoroughness of what they present, I became frustrated at being linked out to other places so often. I’m easily distracted by the excitement of what’s available at the other places and can get lost down the rabbit hole before I even know what happened. It would be nice if they restricted the majority of the teaching to their own site and only linked you out once in a while. I also decided that I would rather start with what I’m familiar with, and since The Odin Project starts from the back end and works its way to the front end, its approach is backwards for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but for me it’s a site that’s temporarily on hold while I pursue the front end elsewhere. It’s intriguing, though, and I’m sure I’ll be back full force at some point.

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