Flex Zombies and freeCodeCamp

Tony Ascroft © 2018

It’s been about a week since my last update. I’m still working through the Flex Zombies and freeCodeCamp courses and I’m focusing most of my time on the JavaScript portion of the course on freeCodeCamp. As you progress through the various courses available online, you may find your ‘path’ changing. I began my journey with a plan to learn JavaScript, Python, HTML5 and CSS3. After a couple weeks I realized trying to learn two languages at one time was beyond me so I dropped Python, for now. I also discovered how much more there is to HTML and CSS these days and began searching out articles on Bootstrap, JQuery, Flex and CSS grids.

Given my new knowledge I refocused my ‘self-learning program’. JavaScript is still my prime focus and I’m still learning HTML and CSS but I think I’ll eventually add on Canvas , which uses JavaScript to draw web graphics on the fly. I’m not sure how useful it will be in the end but it sounds like it will be a good outlet for creating interactive interfaces and it looks like fun! 🙂

One of the advantages to a self directed learning path is that it makes you continually re-examine your path choices. Structured courses start and end and you come away from them with what someone else has decided is the best path forward, and it may be, but open ended learning puts the onus on you to be sure what you’re learning is relative to your end goals, which I think forces you to examine the state of the industry and therefor become better acquainted with the different technologies being endorsed. An example would be Angular vs React. A preset course may include Angular but is it really the right choice for you? I’ve read articles comparing the two that say, it depends on your end goals, but having to decide forces you to read about them both, learning what the main differences are, and it exposes you to other related topics like JSX, TypeScript, RxJS and Flow. If you don’t know what those are, well, that’s the advantage of self learning… it opens up whole new areas that someone following a predetermined course wouldn’t necessarily learn about. I’ll leave it up to you to look them up.

Meanwhile, like I said, I’m 70% complete on the course Flexbox Zombies. I  like this course, its a nice diversion for an hour (most days), the teaching method reinforces the commands you need to remember without having to memorize them. I would suggest taking notes so you don’t have to jump back to recall a flex option or syntax, this would be a good addition to the course, having a list to refer back to, a cheat sheet. Especially if you’re not visiting the site everyday.

I’m also almost finished the Basic JavaScript portion of freeCodeCamp’s Front-end development course. Most of this course so far has been a review of topics I’ve already covered in other courses but I like getting the information from multiple sources, each has their own style and going over the material again and again reinforces the principles. I’m anxious to get on to the Algorithm section. The application of JavaScript to actual problem solving is one of the things I love learning about and that leads to debugging and troubleshooting. Another area I enjoy. It’s like Sudoku on steroids yet the result is more than just the satisfaction of solving a puzzle, it actually leads to useful code snippets.

All right, that’s it for today. Back to the books! Have a good one.- Tony

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