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Jon Deavers
Jon Deavers

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Overthinking Web Development as a Beginner

I recently started a full-stack web development boot camp at a local university. After months of poking around YouTube and Google with little-to-no direction and a total lack of foundational understanding, I decided it was time for some structure. I needed someone to tell me what I needed to know in order to learn what I wanted to know.

It turns out this decision is one of the best I've ever made. Not only am I learning at a break-neck speed, I've also found a group of fellow students who are equally as passionate and excited about the journey as I am. Together we've taken concepts that seemed foreign and confusing at first and work-shopped them into tools that we can use to build professional and creative projects.

It hasn't been an easy road, however, and the learning curve is definitely steep. Over the course of several homework assignments I've discovered that often the biggest obstacle standing between me and a fully functional script is my own brain.

Learning so much so fast makes me want to cram the fruits of every lesson into a JavaScript file and make sure I'm demonstrating my understanding of how everything works. The problem is that this approach often results in overly complicated functions that break easily because I'm overlooking a core principle in functional coding: keep it simple, stupid.

Before classes started I had the rare (for me) foresight to pick up a book called The Pragmatic Programmer by Andy Hunt and Dave Thompson. The book has been updated since its initial publication in 1999 but it is still a static piece of tech in a world that evolves by the hour.

Fortunately, this is not a book about syntax or any specific languages. The book speaks to the mindset required to be a great programmer. I didn't have the opportunity to finish reading it before classes started so I'm in a holding pattern until graduation. After all, there is such a thing as mental bandwidth limits.

The best lesson I've learned from reading through the first handful of chapters is this: stay grounded. Staying grounded to me means being mindful of the logic, following it through each step. It means staying open-minded; allowing your ego to stand aside while you learn from your fellow students and instructors. It means creating code from the perspective of your end user and not necessarily your own; letting overly elaborate functions and methods take the backseat to accessibility, readability, and usability.

We're only a little over a month in to the boot camp and there's a long road ahead between now and graduation. Over the course of the next five months, I plan to ground myself when necessary by thinking back to the lessons learned from Andy and Dave's book.

Top comments (2)

uzair004 profile image
Muhammad Uzair

This is what i do as i am learning Web development.
1) find a roadmap to follow.
2) find relevant resources.
3) use those resources to make a curriculum.
4) set deadline for it.

lucsedirae profile image
Jon Deavers • Edited

Thanks Muhammad. I agree, especially with the road map. That's critical and the boot camp really solved that problem for me. Same thing with the deadlines. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment