Gianluca Fiore
Published

05-05-2018

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Freecodecamp

Frontend development was never my area. I've always been more of a Backend/System Administrator. I've never truly grokked the idea of events, DOM, making requests elsewhere and things running outside my machine, without me giving precise instruction when to run and what arguments to accept.

Yet it's 2018 and Javascript permeates the programming world, whether we like it or not. Thus I was looking for a new challenge to keep me motivated to learn throughout the year.

Video courses I hate. Udemy and Udacity thus were out of the question. Still, I wanted to follow an exact procedure in learning Frontend development instead of randomly reading here and there, hoping it will eventually click. Initially I thought I could make up a customized path of learning, so I furiously collected informations on a cold sunday afternoon last January and came up with a not-so-random collection of frontend links. Saved on Drive for simplicity. As you can check, I did follow those links for a while, until things started to get too mixed up or too much theory made me realize I needed actual project to work on or I was going to forget everything.

Thus, I searched for something more and the Freecodecamp course caught my eye. On 18 February 2018 I thus started the long journey that would lead me to the final certification of a Frontend Developer.

Writing CSS

What has been so far? Initally, extremely easy. Until the first algorithm challenges it was a breeze. Then I discovered that I'd need 2-3 evenings of tinkering to pass a new test. Sometimes a couple of tests were passed in the same evening, some times I had to take one day break to pass the next one. Letting the brain think for a while was important in getting fresher ideas and solutions. I have a full time job and I can only dedicate 1 hour max per day to the Freecodecamp tests. It took up until 22 March to complete all the alogrithm tests, build a very simple Tribute Page and Portfolio Webpage, two of the early project of the course.

Then it was the time of the actual projects. You can check up how they're going on Github. 2 are done at the moment, Random Quote Machine and Local Weather App. The first was much harder than I imagined, I'm definitely no much good in decorating and making the page pretty. I could usually implement the full functionality of both projects in 3-4 evenings of work, 5-6 hours at most in total for 2 projects; but then organizing the views and rendering it in a way that wouldn't be "black text on a white background" took a long time. Yet finally in around a month I completed both, with the Weather App being great fun.

Now I'm working on the Wikipedia Viewer. Meeting with a few issues with ajax requests in jQuery and CORS headers (one of the very few concepts totally unheard of to me until I started the Freecodecamp course). I plan to complete this project by the end of this week and move to the next one after a weekend's break (I'm travelling). Hopefully the next one will be completed by the end of the month.

I plan to update once a month about how the Freecodecamp course is going and my general journey on Frontend development. Hope it can be useful to somebody reading about my progresses :)

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