Stuck in the Middle

(Previous: HTML/CSS Part 2: XAMPP)

Image courtesy of Flickr’s blog

I know I said I was going to talk about jQuery next, and I will. But first, a quick update:

When I started this blog, I was already about two months into my journey of learning to code, and writing retroactively about what I had found helpful.  My original plan was to proceed chronologically through each resource I had encountered, but the more I learn, the more I discover how interesting resources feed into and play off of each other. So I’m going to start combining resources, and hopefully catch up to where I am now a little faster.

However, before I jump back into evaluating and sharing resources, I want to make note of one of the trends I’ve been noticing so far:

There are a TON of resources out there for complete beginners. Codecademy, Try Ruby, Learn Ruby the Hard Way, Code School,, parts of Treehouse, and more… If you don’t quite understand for-loops, while-loops, objects, returns, functions, and variables, the internet can’t wait to help you! Learning is super user-friendly, with lots of games, exercises, and encouragement, and if you don’t like an exercise, you can always click over to a new one.

There are also a TON of resources out there for advanced programmers who need to figure out a specific piece of code, look up a reference, or prepare for a technical interview. You can look up the documentation for jQuery, Node.js, Atom, or pretty much anything you can think of to Google. You can ask specific questions on Stack Overflow. And sites like Geeks for Geeks have whole sections devoted to technical interviews.

But finding resources when you’re somewhere in the middle can be daunting. What do you do when the basics are too basic, but the end result still feels so far off?

When you’re in the middle, the internet doesn’t know what to do with you. And at times, you don’t know what to do with yourself, either. Just because you can build a static webpage doesn’t mean you know all the ins and outs of good CSS. Just because you can build an interactive webpage doesn’t mean you’ve mastered JavaScript and jQuery. Doing a tutorial on Rails and dealing with an actual Rails site that isn’t working the way you expected are not the same.

I think it’s hard to create good intermediate resources because “intermediate” means different thing to different people. Determining what you’ve been exposed to previously is difficult. Determining what you’ve mastered is difficult (and “mastery” gets harder with more complex tasks that can’t be practiced repetitively the way for-loops can-even experienced developers look things up).

So if you find yourself somewhere in the vast middle, like me, feel free to cut yourself some slack. And make yourself a snack (because learning is hungry work). There is no one right path to becoming a developer, and as long as you’re learning something, a little bit at a time, you’re getting closer to your goal.

Feel better?

Good, let’s talk about jQuery.

(Next: jQuery and JavaScript: Codecademy)


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