I’ll preface this article with some background. I am just almost 3 months into committing to learning how to code, and before this, I had no prior coding experience. And 3 months later, I don’t have a job or a portfolio.
This post will walk through my timeline, and what I’ve learned both physically and mentally.
I started officially on Oct. 5th. I ordered HeadFirst HTML + CSS and got same-day delivery on Amazon. When the book arrived, I dove right in. It took no longer than a week to fly through that book.
After the week of reading and completing the projects in the book, I took to CodeCademy and started on the Front-End Development Path. I got a decent way through the CSS portion when I realized there are cheaper ways to learn HTML + CSS.
I then took to YouTube and spent the next three weeks diving heavily into CSS. Mostly just coding along to the videos and practicing. During this time I went to two free meetups at my local Bootcamp where they talked HTML and CSS, but it was truly basic knowledge for people new to coding.
It was during this time I took a week off for the holidays.
I spent the next week or so on YouTube watching Coding Train videos. But soon needed some direction.
I buy Colt Steele’s Web Dev Udemy course. I start working my way through the beginning of HTML and CSS and after breaks for my college finals and the holidays, I am now working through Bootstrap.
That catches you up with how I structured my learning in the past two months. No it was not super intensive or demanding, but I put in the time I could. Now, here’s what I learned.
What I Learned – Coding
Starting with coding specifics, I have learned a great deal about HTML and CSS. My HTML is solid, CSS is getting there. I realize that CSS is responsible for the majority of the visually appealing minimalistic websites that I loved, so I decided to double down and focus on CSS in my free time.
Most of the stuff I have built is from coding along with videos, other than a few landing pages.
Outside of code, I have spent a good amount of time learning UX design primarily through YouTube. I learned how to use Adobe XD, and have built some practice projects and wireframes from a design standpoint.
UX design is my favorite thing to learn, mostly from Caler Edwards and Design Course on YouTube. My goal with learning design is to become a full-stack UX designer that can design and code websites, web apps, and mobile apps from scratch.
What I Learned – Mental
This is arguably the most important part of learning to code. Without building the mental skills, teaching yourself is probably unattainable.
The most important skill I learned was patience. I have no intention to rush myself into learning how to code to get a developer job. I am taking my time to make sure I am ready and comfortable to join the workplace.
Could I bring myself to be ready to apply for jobs within the next two months? Probably, but I would rather solidify my learning to land my dream job instead of a random one.
Next, is focus. Learning to code on your own is hard. Bringing yourself to sit at your computer and focus every day for hours on end is brutal at first, but it gets easier. Get some headphones, light loFi music, and tune everything else out.
If you can focus on one task and not get distracted by other courses, tweets, or videos, you’ll speed through the learning process. It just takes discipline.
Last is perseverance. Learning to code is frustrating and you will hit roadblocks. If you want to give up on the first roadblock you’ll never make it. Take a step back and remember why you are learning to code.
Being able to get over the small hurdles like not understanding something, or not being able to focus will help you on your journey tremendously.
I did not make the most of those 2 months learning to code, but I stuck with it and made progress. The things I accomplished took some 15-20 hour weeks, some 5-10 hour weeks, and then even some weeks off.
Don’t burn yourself out and set unrealistic goals. I found 30 minutes a day to not be enough for me, so I would try to find a time where I could commit 2-3 hours a day. This worked for me, and it may not work for you.
As with everything, find and test what works and then put your head down and grind.
My plan for 2020 is to continue learning front-end development and UX design. I have no rush to get a job or build a portfolio, as I plan on doing so once I am ready.
I’ll be writing another post with my plan for 2020 and beyond so stay tuned!
Colt Steele Web Developer Bootcamp
Grand Circus Bootcamp
Headfirst HTML + CSS
Dev Ed YouTube