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Down and Stumbling Along in JS

JavaScript! 🤯 What even is this - am I supposed to be able to write this stuff?

My first encounter with a real programming language was pretty depressing, but yours doesn't need to be.

EDIT: I wrote this just after I started learning but updated it with new resources and links just before I launched my personal site three years later.

I was stumbling around not really knowing where to start with JavaScript. I had read it's an easy language to learn, but for me, as my first introduction to a proper coding language it wasn't. I somehow tripped over a course when an email arrived in my inbox. The email was great - it promised everything I wanted from a course on an language that I was really nervous about starting.

If only as much effort had been put into the course itself I might have got on better. The course left me feeling frustrated, and unsure of how to go forward, and to be honest feeling a totally inadequate. I really plugged away at the course for a good while, and maybe it did me more good than I realise, but I was seriously beginning to doubt that this whole thing was for me.

I had to stop, and to be fair, I did get a full refund from the developer as promised, but the lesson for me was do your research when it comes to online courses, go in slowly, and check the refund policy!

My First not Terrible JS Experience

On the other hand I found watch and code. This is a great example of what you can learn for free. Gordon has put together about 28 hours of free content that provides a unique intro to plain vanilla JS. It's a serious course and even though I've completed it I don't think I've internalised all the concepts introduced.

I followed up the course by paying for the advanced course for one month. This was interesting but be ready for a very serious learning environment, which to be honest was pretty intimidating for a beginner like me. Gordon provides a space between for serious learners together and support be each other, but it's not for everyone. And to be honest, at this early stage it wasn't for me.

If I had more time to dedicate to learning JS and a reasonable knowledge of basic programming concepts (I didn't know what people were talking about half the time!), this is the course I would follow, and is one I hope to return to. But it was just too much, too soon for me at this stage. That said I've no regrets at all about paying for one month as the free lessons were worth it.

Wes to the Rescue!

It was as I was recovering from my WatchandCode experience Wes Bos released his Beginner JavaScript Course. The timing was great for me and having scored a sporty deal on Black Friday, I didn't have to spend too much to try it out. I love this course. Wes's enthusiasm just oozes through each video, which is great. But unfortunately, I don't think I actually learn that well from watching videos, even when I code along.

I've no complaints about the course and it's a great reference that I go back to, I just didn't internalise much as I coded along with Wes. [EDIT: I have since referred back to lessons in this course many times. I think it's a great introduction to JS. To really learn the basics of JS I found Chris Ferdinandi's JavaScript Academy the course that got me conformable with the basics - I discuss this more in the next post.]

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