Coding Resources I use learning to program and how not to learn coding whilst having a bath.

I am developing a methodology of learning, which I have found is crucial to help me move forward. Rather than simply picking up a book and working through it, I now use numerous points of information and move forward with daily and sometimes hourly goals.

I am 4 months into my “learning to code year” and here is a list of coding resources I am finding very useful.

Freecodecamp.org
Freecodecamp.org

This has been a game changer for my ability to progress.

It is a tutorial website, which has gamified the learning process and enabled you to get direct feedback with a simple progression score. As you work through the mini tutorials/problems you get a point. The points are gained very easily at first and progressively get harder. Before you know it you actually learn stuff.

As a way to get a basic HTML and javascript knowledge it worked very well for me. Although I already know HTML, I have never learned it in a formal way and although I already new the basics of javascript from reading a few books and watching video tutorials, it didn’t click in my head.

By allowing micro problems to be solve after the smallest amount of information is given it follows “a lot of little” type formula which you can come back to at your own pace.

I have slowed down with it as I am now on to learning algos, but dipping in for 15 mins a day really helps.

Youtube

Information is now free.
Mostly. I have caved and bought a course from Udemy

It seems if you want to learn anything now, Youtube is the place. Why buy a £30 book when you can hit Youtube for free, there are valid reasons for buying a book, more on that later.

After much watching and investigating, I have a list of favourite, expert Youtubers who appeal to me. This list is my list and not necessarily the best in the world, but it’s the best for me.

Traversy Media


I am currently watching this guys videos the most. He is clear, explains the little details which others gloss over expecting you to already know. His tutorials are well planned out and he is very responsive to the needs of his audience.

Also, he has a Boston accent, which I find one of the most interesting American accents, plus he has an inspiring back story and seems like a thoroughly good chap.

Traversy Youtube channel

Dylan Isreal
Youtube channel

I like the backstory of Dylan, I think it’s important to look at the journey other people are taking to be able to be realistic about your learning plan. My problem in the past has been, “I just need to read this book and I can build the new Facebook.”

Learning to code is hard, especially for me as I find it hard to focus and keep going to an end point. If that end point is unrealistic it’s impossible to reach it and you give up thinking you’re just thick (I may be one of those thickos who learns despite).

Dylan has taken the path from novice to professional and is able to communicate a lot of the non-programming skills essential to being a progammer, along with the ability to teach coding.

Jon Sonmez

This guy cracks me up, he teaches a video in a stringy, workout vest (can’t remember what Americans call them) and often talks about his workout. He’s another one for teaching the soft skills essential as a programmer and is not afraid to say that coding “is hard”. A lot of people selling learning make it sound like you can “learn in a day”, when the reality is a lot different. This is of course to get people to hand over the readies. Which is one reason I think free, ad supported Youtube videos can work, watching is paying.

Jon has probably the biggest experience as a software developer and really knows his stuff. It’s very useful to learn from someone as battle hardened as this cap.

Although I am expecting one tutorial to be given from a hot tub with a couple of gym ladies serving him cold beer. Jon if you’re reading this, this is the idea for the next video.

Net Ninja

Not just here because he has a British accent (always good to here your own accent), but because his tutorials are informative, professional and clear. He covers quite a lot of ground in his tutorials and presents in a well designed way.

The above are the ones I visit regularly, but others of note are:

Program With Erik
CodingPhase
Academind
Chris Hawkes

All the above will teach you what you need to  know with regards to coding. They all seem to cover javascript and HTML and the popular frameworks. It’s really about personal choice and which voice connects with regards choosing who to follow.

Websites I use often

Learning and tutorials
Freecodecamp.org
Codeacademy
Codeschool

w3schools.com

Hosting/cloud
Heroku-Cloud application platform
Google developers
Codepen

Communities
Stack overflow
github.com
stackoverflow.com

Reference
devdocs.io

Tools and other
Colorzilla
What Font extension

Blogs

Books

Books I like:

Head first Javascript
Simple Programmer
Eloquent Javascript
Clean Code

If I did one thing different it would be to buy less books and do more real life coding projects.
But here are a few positives of paper books.

  • Usually written by an expert in the field.
  • Highly portable, I once read a Php book in the bath, I dropped the book into the water and from then on the pages crinkled. You can’t do that with a laptop (although I have heard stories).
  • You can notate them, paper books are best for this. Yes you can note and highlight with e-books, but it’s just not the same as your personal squiggles
  • You can lend or give to others
  • They make excellent doorstops. The php books I had were massive, but after a few years they were out of date, but still came in useful as a heavy weight doorstop for my drafty, attic, coding den.
  • E-books over paper books? I think it depends on what does it for you, I like the heft and smell of a real programming book. But I also like the ability to read on my iPad, or quickly consult my iPhone to look up something on a Kindle book.

    Books have fallen out of fashion, but they have their niche and I think will always stick around in some form.

    All the above can be seen as tools for the transference of information. However I think there is another element at play and that is putting you in the mindset, or getting you in the mood. Being in the right frame of mind I think is crucial to successful learning time. It’s taken me a while to develop the right aspects of learning and mix them in the right amount.

    I do a lot more actual tapping the keyboard these days, and have weaned myself of simply ingesting information, which I always find easy to get into and hard to get our of. Implementing and building stuff is my main focus these days.

    Hope this blog post has been useful to you. What are your favourite, learning to code tools? Let me know in the comments below.

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