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Collection of Resources

I'm about two months in and I figure it's time to collect the resources I'm using in one place. If you've got any recommendations for good beginner resources (particularly Javascript, since I'm committed to it at this point), I'd be really grateful!

Eloquent Javascript

This is my main resource for learning. From what I understand, it's not really geared towards beginners, but despite my whining, I've been enjoying the experience of being a bit out of my depth. The book is free, and the website provides a code sandbox and files associated with each chapter/exercise.


An excellent resource for JS documentation that caches itself offline.

Rachel's Github

I haven't had time to look this over yet, but these are some resources put together by a friend from art school who went the bootcamp route and is doing pretty well for herself at a tech startup. I'm mostly looking at her as a model for a situation similar to my own.

These ones are the meetup groups and organizations I've been able to find in LA. Most of them seem oriented towards professionals rather than learners, but they may still prove useful for networking opportunities, or a way of getting a sense of what the professional landscape is like in LA.

This is a monthly JS meetup where they discuss technologies, but the same org also sets up casual meetup/networking events, as well as more specific workshops. I haven't been to any yet, and it doesn't seem quite suitable for a newbie, but I'm planning on checking them out regardless.

nodeschool Los Angeles

Node School is a monthly, smaller workshop that is intended more for teaching software schools. While it also seems to mostly be filled with people who have some experience, they're very open to newbies, and provided me quite a bit of help on basic stuff. I had a really wonderful experience with them, and I'll definitely be going back next month.

The following are free courses/workshops offered by "bootcamps". I have used them, but bear in mind that these are offered by for-profit institutions.

I will say that they've all been extremely helpful, and the teachers/other students at these places have been happy to answer questions that aren't strictly related to coursework or to enrolling, but I can make no guarantees that they'll continue to be this way, or that the courses will remain consistently and genuinely helpful.

Lambda School's intro to fullstack webdev. (online only):

It covers the basics of HTML and CSS, but spends most of the time getting you into "real" programming challenges in Javascript. You're not gonna have a working project out of this 10 day thing, but you'll get deeper into dealing with control flow and the logic of programming than courses like Codecademy or Freecodecamp. This one's livestreamed, and you're set up into "breakout groups", where you'll be able to work through challenges with other students. This was the first time since starting to learn CS that I've been able to ask other people questions about code and how it works. Fast paced, but decent for a firsttimer, and you're allowed to repeat it as often as you'd like.


Codesmith has free, in-person workshops available, which I always find to be a better alternative to online-only stuff, but you're also able to watch/interact with a livestream of many of the events.

Hack Reactor

Hack Reactor doesn't have quite as robust of a set of offerings, but I did enjoy it the one time I went. I felt that codesmith went more in depth with underlying structure and logic, but granted, I went to the very most beginning free workshop for Hack Reactor. I'll be going to a longer course there tomorrow, which will hopefully go a little deeper.

Finally, here's some other stuff that I've touched, but ended up dropping for one reason or another.

Teach Yourself CS

This is what I would have done if I hadn't found out about all of the free JS workshops and classes available in my area. I like the way that the resources are curated, the way that they lay out rationale for it, and it feels probably the closest to what I actually find interesting about computers and computer programming. Once I've gotten to a good place with HTML/CSS/JS, I'll probably look more at this one.

Free Code Camp

It kinda pushes itself as a free alternative to a bootcamp, and, yeah, kinda. What I find useful about institutions is that they give me opportunities to network with others and get help when I don't understand how something works. FreeCodeCamp does its best to encourage community and stuff, but I've had a hard time meeting anyone who's properly dedicated to it, and the exercises themselves feel a little too hand-hold-y to the point where I have a lot of trouble retaining information.


Pretty much the first thing anyone will recommend you if you tell them you're trying to learn to code. I think that it's not bad for getting experience just touching and playing around with code, but I found it easy to complete exercises and difficult to actually retain anything from them.

I don't think that the "here's how this works, now make it do what I just showed you it can do" model of teaching code really works. It's important to be given an actual problem, rather than just repeating the demonstration, and I think that's probably the biggest failure of a lot of the "learn to code without being into CS" resources. Still, FCC and Codecademy definitely seem to work for some people, and they're there if you want to dip your toes into a small slice of what it's like to write code.

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