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3 resources for the student developer

Learning a new language is easy, but using it is a different story. As a full-time, engineering student, submerging myself in Ruby (and now Javascript) has been a given due to the structure that Flatiron provides.

But using these languages to program continues to be fraught with random error, bugs, and confusion around why we do certain things and in which order, as well overall difficulty visualizing what is going on behind the scenes.

Fortunately, I was able to diagnose my frustrations and issue the relevant prescriptions. But too often people default to largest resources

  • Google
  • Stack Overflow
  • MDN/W3

not realizing that as a beginner, the languages the writers use can lead you further into a blackhole of confusion and turmoil.

Fortunately, a lifetime of problem solving has taught me how to learn what to learn. That means:

  1. Isolating the issue
  2. Understanding the barrier
  3. Mark the relationships

So unlike most intro to programming articles, I won't give you the same resources that people usually offer and expect you to figure out how to make the best uses of them.

1. Videos– specifically YouTube

There are lot of great Youtubers that create programming videos. Some are great, some are terrible, and some are perfect for you.

Finding someone who speaks your learn language is a matter of trial and error. But below I've included a playlist of my favorite instructors in each:

2. Code repositories

Some people are just code ninjas. Their code is clean, effective and most importantly, easy to follow. I won't link to any here (since I haven't gotten the permission, but whenever I come across a developer whose code fits these criteria, I make sure to bookmark them for future reference.

3. Sandbox

I'm a self-proclaimed curator of Apps. So I pride myself on having a toolkit of apps that fulfill their best application. When it comes to sandboxes, all are not created equal, and all do serve the best function.

My 3 favorite apps to test code are:

  • Repl - Great for writing standalone code in most languages. I've used it with Javascript, Python and Ruby to great effect
  • Codepen - Great for create or testing front end snippets. If HTML matters, default to Codepen
  • Python Tutor's Visualize tool - Is your code breaking or giving you an unexpected results, isolate the issue by using this tool to visualize each step in your function. Python Tutor also has tutors on the website that can take a look at your code and/or explain why it doesn't work

These are thing I've observed over my last 7 weeks at Flatiron. Over the next 7 weeks, I will undoubtedly have new or additional resources for my most pressing needs. In the meantime though, I hope this will make a difference on your journey.

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