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Learning JavaScript...again

robinhoeh profile image robinwatson ・5 min read

I want to get better

Current day

For the past two and a half years I have been working as a Front End Developer. I have learned a ton since I started. I've been at the same job since I was hired late 2017. Day to day we use Vue.js, CSS, Cypress and mocha + chai for testing. I have come a long way since my first few months at work and still daily, I feel like I have a huge knowledge gap when writing and developing. Specifically, I get stuck when coming up with the logic for a component.

Last month I got really serious about note taking and started to add to my daily notes breaking down all of the sections of the Front End ecosystem I could find from multiple resources as well as what I have encountered at work.

I started taking notes at the end of the week of things I had learned from my co-workers not just about building a component but things like how we structure our app and why we do things the way we do. I would sometimes approach a ticket from the scrum board and be like, "Ya ok cool. So build this component and use it on this page". But around the halfway mark I would get stuck and be like "Wait a sec, how come my component works here but not here?" And when I would ask one of the more senior devs a question about something I was stuck on I would typically receive wayyy more info that I thought I was going to get, with so many more considerations. Then my feeling about building that component quickly escalated to "What in the F am I doing", and confidence levels dropped to an all new low for that day.

APPROVED

My Boss has always advocated I get my JS skills super solid before anything else. I totally agree with him. Becoming better at JavaScript will make working on the framework we use so much easier. And some days I actually get to put some new found skill in JS and Vue to work which is a great feeling! Something finally clicked and I'm like "Yee I know my stuff!". I want to have this feeling more though. I want to be able to wake up and be like " I am going to crush some JS '' and build a component so DRY and clean that when I make a PR my coworkers are like "APPROVED".

Let me be clear here though, I'm not chasing for comments and praise for my good work. I want to be able to contribute to our projects with confidence, which I can build off of which will lead to improving my skills. So why not learn what I can during the day, apply that to side projects and build cool shit outside of work. Well, I tried that, or so I thought.

Side projects

I would get a great ideas for an app. I would tell my wife and be like "you know that new car we wanted?? I will buy it for you once this app takes off". Hmm...not really but I was so excited to work on my side project. Shortly after doing some scaffolding, base styles and planning out some UX I would stop. I got busy with another idea or got lazy. But that's not the real reason I didn't end up going through with projects. I stopped because I didn't actually know how to code the thing from scratch. I panicked at the thought of asking someone from work for help on it because it was a super "easy" app. I didn't wanna let them know that the person who works on cool components during the day can't code a small project from scratch. I told myself I would just stop attempting projects because I didn't wanna have to face myself and the feeling of failure. For a couple years now I have been feeling this inner pressure to pump out high quality side projects that display my skills and have fun doing it. But, I have not finished one side project to date since working full time. I have taken a ton of courses but the concepts never stuck quite the same way as they did as when I would f*#& something up at work and be like, ohhh got it now.

Changing it up

A few months ago, I found an article from this dude Zell Liew. He Explained things extremely well and in a way I could understand. Not only understand but retain the cells on my brain. Then I started getting emails about this course he had. I was sold. These emails were like "Do you get nervous when you think about coding from scratch? Are you afraid to start because you don't wanna fail? I'll show you how to learn and retain JavaScript skills so you don't have that feeling anymore". I answered all of these questions with "Hells ya"... I have only just started the course and it prompts you to form accountability and write out what you have learned. So, I'm doing just that. For a couple years now I have avoided my knowledge gaps, not tutored because I was scared of being labeled as "A fraud". Avoided hackathons cuz I didn't wanna be like "But wait, how should I loop over this nested array to display the desired data?". I was scared of "getting caught" because I didn't know JS.

Making a crazy comparison

My former profession was playing and teaching drums. I taught quite a lot actually and had fun doing it. I knew what my limitations were and wasn't scared to let students know when I didn't know how to do something. I started teaching privately after playing drums for about 10 years. Maybe time = confidence? Meanwhile I took a 3 month coding bootcamp and was working full 2.5 months after completing it. WTF! Imagine you learned the drums in 3 months and then had a yearly salary with other professionals who treated you nicely and didn't give you a hard time for being a newbie?!

Objective

So, why am I writing this article? I'm taking the advice from Zell's course. I'm changing the way I learn and have learned JavaScript in the past. I'm forming accountability. I'm going to be writing about the concepts and things I learn about. I wanna share it with people. I wanna get feedback from people in the comments about how concise my understanding of the concepts I write about are. Also, the buy in was big. Close to $600 CDN. There's money on the line. As well, writing about JS makes me confront my own skills and ego. It's uncomfortable.

My hope is that I become way more confident in JS so that I can write clean, DRY components, help others learn and build cool shit that can help people. Nothing too crazy right? I know writing about JS on a blog is nothing new but you gotta start somewhere.

Please share if any part of this article resonates with you or someone you know! Also, it's been a while since I have written an article so any formatting or readability feedback is welcomed as well! I know I used "I" like 400 times. Thanks for reading :)

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Discussion

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I feel the dame as you sometimes. And just the past week I was thinking on do the same, write what I've learned. I wish we can share our experiences.
Good luck!

 

Good luck robin !, one of my favorites books about JavaScript that goes really deep in JS and doesn't spare any detail is You don't know JS by kyle simpson which is free on Github.

cheers

 

Thanks Mohammed! I actually bought that book but haven’t made the time for it yet!