by Casey Pitman
Hear it from a pro
If you’ve made it this far, you already have a computer. You’ve probably already settled on a text editor you like. There are several good (and mostly free) options from which to choose. If you haven’t settled on one yet, check out our list of options and things to consider when choosing your text editor. There is no one-size-fits-all editor. Each of them has pros and cons. Try them all and go with the one that works for you.
There’s so much information! What do I REALLY need to learn?
Here’s where you need to start:
- Variables – declare, assign, mutate
- Data types – string, number, Boolean, arrays, objects
- Basic operators
- Boolean logic
- If / else statements
- Ternary operators and switch statements
- Loop logic and iteration
- For loops
- While loops
- Regular expressions
- Function expressions and function declarations
- Calling a function
- Global scope vs. local scope
- The “return” keyword
- Anonymous functions
- Functions as arguments
- Array manipulation
- DOM access and DOM manipulation
- Event handling
- Modifying HTML
- Modifying CSS
- Object properties
- Object methods
- The “this” keyword
- Object creation
- Object prototype
- Updates (ES6/2015 – specifically let, const, .map, .filter, and .reduce
FreeCodeCamp eases you into its curriculum with an assumption that you are a complete beginner. As you work through small, bite-sized modules your knowledge base expands exponentially. And it’s fun! As you finish each module, you’ll want to go straight to the next one just to see what’s next.
FreeCodeCamp reinforces the concepts you learn by wrapping up with five major projects of varying difficulty. They are by no means simple, but few things match the feeling of victory you experience when you conquer the toughest of them (I’m looking at you, Cash Register…).
Google / Stack Overflow (free)
Here’s a little secret about coding: Everyone Googles. From the novice to the senior developer with years of experience – if you aren’t Googling code snippets or some odd bit of syntax, you aren’t doing it right. Programming isn’t about memorizing everything – it’s about learning to think logically and to solve problems. Sometimes this means knowing when to look for help. I promise that any problem you run into, someone has run into it before and they’ve posted about it on Stack Overflow. Members of the developer community are a helpful bunch. And Stack Overflow is where we hang out.
Think of Stack Overflow as Reddit for coders. Users can browse or post questions for other uses to answer. The best answers get upvoted, which is helpful when you are presented with a dozen answers to your question and you don’t know which one to roll with. Stack Overflow accounts are free (though there are paid versions for businesses). They also boast a developer job listing section, so keep that in mind for later.
Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) (free)
You’ll be spending a lot of time at Mozilla Developer Network if you aren’t already. MDN offers a well-organized and comprehensive site that essentially functions as an encyclopedia of web technologies.
MDN entries include in-depth definitions, syntax, browser support information, and use cases for just about any web technology concept. They offer multile examples and code snippets demonstrating uses for concepts, as well as editable demos that allow you to experiment with whatever concept you are researching.
Think of W3Schools as MDN-lite. Like MDN, W3Schools functions like an encyclopedia of web technology concepts and even includes the same basic components: definitions, syntax, examples, and live demos. W3Schools is a bit lighter on the technical details, which makes it a great place to search if you need a quick answer. I often find myself using W3 Schools when I need a quick reminder about the syntax of a concept I’m using.
The online learning platform Udemy can be both a blessing and a curse. Udemy is known for having courses on just about anything. Do you want a course on aquaponic gardening? They’ve got that. Juggling? They’ve got that too.
Note on pricing: Though Udemy offers the occasional free sample course, it is primarily a paid service. Most classes run around $100, BUT Udemy frequently offers huge discounts. If you have patience and keep an eye out for sales, you can get courses for a fraction of their normal cost. Sales seem to pop up every few weeks. I’ve never paid more than $10 for a course.
Frameworks & libraries
There are TON of frameworks and libraries out there.You’ve probably heard of some of the more popular ones – jQuery, React, Vue, and Angular are everywhere. Each library or framework has its own particular syntax you’ll need to learn. Eventually you will want to pick up some knowledge of a few of these to increase your chances of landing that dream job.
- @caseypitman11 (that’s me!)
- And of course, @Transit2Tech
Or, if your need to see the big picture, head over to the Roadmap to web dev.
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