As of now, I am learning Data Associations. This will allow me to allow comments and associate them with a specific user, post, or other data. This all done with Mongoose, which is a Node package that will enable us to interact with the data in our database. Once I am complete with this section, I will have implemented fully functional comments for each Yelp Camp post. I am very excited about achieving this.
Photography Portfolio Project
There was a point in the course where we wrapped up learning RESTful routing using Express where I took a step back and decided to work on a project that is not built in the class, but uses everything taught. The reason for my decision to do this was to solidify my understanding of RESful routing and using Express, MongoDB, and Mongoose. After completing that section, I felt like my entire understanding of everything I learned was minimal. I know from previous learning experiences, I learn better by doing instead of following what the instructor was teaching. I do photography as a hobby and thought it would be fun to build my own portfolio to use to publish my photos. The idea would help motivate me to work on it and finish it. So I began working on it.
The first thing I noticed when I started building this project is that I could not remember most of the syntax that was shown by the instructor. This, I wanted to fix. The only way I felt I could fix this was by re-watching parts of the lecture and reference previous projects. At first, it felt like I was cheating myself. I decided I would reference official Express and Mongoose documentation before referencing my previous projects taught in the course. I began building the site, piece by piece, feature by feature. Eventually, I implemented everything I had learned. I was super excited and felt I learned more by doing this and feel that it is a great way to reinforce what you learn. Don’t just build the apps that are taught in courses and tutorials, develop your own apps even if you are recreated something that has already been done. It’s about what you learn, not what you build.
When it comes to learning. There are bound to be struggling. I’ve taught myself many things. I taught myself how to cook, play guitar, and now I am teaching myself how to code. All of those things have specific struggles.
My current job is as an IT Consultant. It is my job to troubleshoot, implement, and improve customer’s infrastructure. Many of our customers are consumer facing. This is a job where I may need to work long hours. If a customer’s server goes down. It is our responsibility to get them back up and running. This is my biggest struggle. A lot of my duties are mind numbing and repetitive. Other days I am solving problems that exert a lot of brain power. Trying to motivate myself when my brain is fried has been difficult. While I’m at work, all I can do is think about coming home and working on my projects or progressing in my course. Once I get home, I eat dinner and watch a bit of TV with the wife and sometimes I can’t force myself to get up.
When days like this occur, I will typically just take a break. This is also making me realize how important it is to keep a healthy mental state. Like most people in the tech field, I struggle with anxiety. If I take a break, I feel like I am falling behind and will be further away from getting a job as a developer. Taking a step back and focusing on relaxing and not worrying about the “what-if’s” has become a priority. It is essential to work on your mental health. This will also include physical health, as well. It is my philosophy that if you are physically healthy, it will help you become mentally healthy. Of course, if you are physically fit, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be mentally healthy, but it helps. This includes making sure you are hydrated, eating healthy, and doing some kind of physical activity. I have been giving up caffeine (mainly soda) and lowering my sugar intake as a start to eating healthy. I have also been trying to go to the gym at least 3 days of the week. Going to the gym has also been challenging to stay consistent.
Other struggles I have been experiencing is specific to Node packages. During my studies, I have difficulty differentiating between Express and Mongoose syntax. I spend a lot of time referencing both package documentation to know what does what in my code base. My current understanding is that Express is to a package to handle routing, and Mongoose is specific to interact with the data in a MongoDB database. There are still a few aspects of Mongoose that I do not fully understand and have to think about and process when typing it out in a project. It will take time to get comfortable with these packages. I may just learn Node and not go back to any of its packages until I get comfortable with Node.
My current goal is to finish this course. I have yet to complete any of the course and tutorials I have taken. I know there is a lot to learn when it comes to this course, and I know I won’t be a seasoned developer once I am finished. I do know that I will have a better understanding of what it takes to build a functional web app. That is the main focus.
All-in-all I am enjoying my learning experience this far. I hope that I will be able to land a Developer job with everything I have learned. There is still a lot to be learned and a lot to be done, and I hope you will continue to follow my journey.
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