Courtney Makes Things Move

Developing Structure in My Self-Taught Journey

January 16, 2020

This post first appeared on my Dev.to blog on August 6, 2019.

Taking the self-taught route offers a lot of freedom! As a full-time personal assistant, it is currently one of my only options to pursue programming further. But if I had the choice I would LOVE to do a boot camp because I love structure. I operate and thrive in organized settings and laid out curriculums.

I remember when I first started coding and couldn’t really find a rhythm of how I wanted to set up my study days. I had completed a 100 Days of Code challenge where I focused primarily on HTML & CSS but my schedule felt fragmented as did my retention of the information.

As a creature of habit, having a set time to work, think, and digest information is imperative! This time around as I do the 100 Days of Code challenge, I’m focusing on JavaScript and I wanted to share how I’ve been structuring my “coursework.”

WORKSHOPS

I am currently signed up on Treehouse doing the Front End Web Development track. I treat my courses on Treehouse like a workshop. When I studied animation in college we had a six-hour class where we learn a new technique and then practice and implement that technique. I do not have six hours a day to dedicate unfortunately but I usually do a good solid 3-4 hours each night.

During this time I’m watching videos, taking notes, and doing the quizzes and challenges on that day’s topic.

LECTURES

One word. PODCASTS! To me, they are like class lectures. I sit and intentionally listen for an hour or two to the various topics on code, and code newbie motivation. Below is a list of my current top three tech podcasts:

CodeNewbie - Created by Saron Yitbarek, this is the first podcast I found in my coding journey and I love and still listen to it to this day. Simply put it’s about people and their journey into code.

Command Line Heroes - Produced by Red Hat, this podcast focuses more on the history behind these languages and the people that helped shape the future of tech as we know it today. Saron Yitbarek also narrates this one as well!

Ladybug Podcast - This is a new one I’m listening to. It is sort of a round table of ladies who are “debugging tech.” They explore their wins, losses, and everything in-between sharing their personal accounts of their journey as women in tech.

I would like to note that I don’t do anything else during this time besides maybe take a few notes on suggested technologies, mentioned books, or important figures. This may seem strict but again I like and need the structure especially in a world full of distractions.

PEER REVIEW

This one is a new area for me. I realize that quite easily you can dig yourself into a hole of coding, struggling, and googling. In art school, we always took time to break and look at each other’s work to offer constructive criticism. Asking and accepting critique can be intimidating but an essential part of the equation.

Recently I have been actively reaching out for help online and joining communities like Twitter and the forums within Treehouse and the DEV community. After each session in Treehouse, I try to look in the community section to see if I could help debug a problem with my fellow internet classmates. It not only reinforces what I learned but also makes me feel like I’m giving back and helping someone else along the way. That way we can walk side by side in our struggles (and wins!..but mostly struggles.)

My current and the only project I have online is my personal website that I have built from scratch using HTML and CSS. I am currently working on responsive design for it and I’m hoping in the future to be more diligent about getting feedback and suggestions on future developments.


Courtney Pure

Written by Courtney Pure. Currently lives and works in Long Island, New York. She builds things with code and makes things move with animation and motion graphics! You should follow her on Twitter