Cassie Learns to Code: The First Three Months

I’ve alluded to my limited pool of patience and when it comes to doing something, I have practically no skill at making myself wait. So, though I said I would not take on another project until I wrapped up Summer of Austen, there just was no stopping me on my new project: Cassie Learns to Code. This is one project that will certainly take more than three months, so we’ll just call this installment The First Three Months.

Last week, I signed onto Codecademy after a five month break and have now spent probably twenty hours over the last five days learning JavaScript. I spent most of my Friday night (fun night!) making flash cards so I could study vocabulary while on the bus, watching tv, whenever. My notebook is slowly filling up with scribbles as I process more conceptual information, e.g., figuring out why a semi-colon is used, not just when.

What, you didn’t spend your Friday night studying?

This weekend has been full of mini-triumphs and some anecdotal evidence that this is something I can learn. I am a huge fan of the way Codecademy is structured – a combination of teaching, learning by doing, and poking around to find the answer. It’s a community and everyone is excited about coding!

I took this screenshot on Saturday after finishing an exercise successfully: fairly quickly and without having to look elsewhere for definitions or hints. Several things started to come together in my brain here – the whole if/elseif/else concept, the aforementioned eureka moment on semi-colons, and a more thorough understanding of functions.

This morning, Sunday, I flipped through my flash cards while procrastinating on the whole get up and get going thing. Within ten minutes, I had to abandon that plan and pull out a notebook to start jotting down questions and musings. Tiny bits of information are starting to form complete pictures in my brain AND I’m able to use my current professional position to put things in context.

After running errands (and finally getting in to a Ballerina Bum class at MaZi), I came home to work out a problem. I didn’t want to launch into another lesson; I’m afraid of moving through concepts too quickly and not letting them percolate in my brain long enough. And though it took a little bit of trial and error, I did this today without use of note cards or Codecademy’s (very helpful) glossary.

I’m not delusional. This is all very basic, I know, but there is nowhere else for me to start than getting down the basics. You may be concerned (er, mildly interested) that this will take time away from Summer of Austen and Project Ukulele and that might be true. I find the busier I am, the better I am at managing my time, though, and I made significant progress with Pride and Prejudice this weekend. (And tomorrow I will write about how happy I am I stuck with the book.)
This is certainly a multi-year, maybe a lifelong, project but three-month chunks seem like a great way to document and measure my progress.

Up next: WordPress 101 with Nicole Crimaldi and Dabble, Tuesday evening.