To Another Week of Awesome!

Days of Make
  • Finish CodeAcademy’s command line tutorial
  • Finish JavaScript algorithms and data structures certification (FCC)
  • Wake up at 5:30am every day to code
  • Mon: Finished command line lessons
  • Tue: Some JS and front end libraries (Bootstrap, jQuery, Sass)
  • Wed: More JS, tiny bit of React, Microsoft event
  • Thur: Started JS projects. Completed ROT13 Cipher and Palindrome checker
  • Fri: Finished Roman Numeral Converter
  • Sat: Earned JS Certification
  • Sun: Some more React work on FCC
  • I can do this! (Microsoft story)
  • Using a variety of resources and practicing each concept solidifies it in my mind. 
  • Continue work on Front End certification
  • Create random quote machine (FCC project)
  • Learn basics of gpio with raspberry pi with python or JS
  • 1 hour of making or coding a day

Sometimes necessity is a great motivator. I’ve tried to learn the command line many times before and would figure out the basics before promptly forgetting it all because I never used it! Now, I need to for my data structures class (C++) because we’re using an online IDE with an integrated bash shell. It’s awesome and it is so satisfying to work with it. It’s motivated me to use it whenever I can! Also, it’s incredibly useful with my raspberry pi projects. Note to self: use what you learn in a variety of situations and you’ll really grasp the new skill/concept. 

CodeAcademy is a cool resource, but not my favorite. There were definite gaps in the activities and explanations. With some googling and trying things out, I figured it out. Like freeCodeCamp, the tutorials are to get you started. You have to put in that extra work to apply the new concepts (i.e. FCC projects).

Throughout the week, I worked a lot on this certification. It starts off with basic JavaScript, introduces important aspects of ES6, and dives into arrays and objects. There is also a section on RegEx and common debugging techniques. After that, there are a lot of easy/medium algorithmic challenges like you’d find on HackerRank. It took a lot of work to get through it, but was rewarding. By the end, I felt more confident in my thought process and learned some useful techniques. 

There were a few common roadblocks as I solved these challenges, especially the projects. The most difficult was a lack of knowledge on a topic. For example, on the Pig Latin challenge, it took forever to handle words without vowels because I didn’t know how you’d translate a word like nth follows a slightly different rule. I was also able to come up with a solution, but never a very elegant one. I relied heavily on for loops as I’m not too comfortable with some aspects of functional programming. My biggest complaint would be that FCC’s editor doesn’t allow for any output on most challenges. It is very frustrating not being able to use console.log to check my work. Luckily, I could copy and paste my code into another editor which saved me a ton of headaches. 

freeCodeCamp has done an amazing job on this certification. It taught a ton of JavaScript and really pushed. As someone with experience in other languages and some experience completing coding challenges, these were still very difficult and I learned a lot. I feel very indebted to FCC and all that they’re doing in the community! 

Wednesday I attended a Microsoft resume workshop at my school. A project manager and two software engineers came. The resume aspect was pretty generic, but one of the engineers gave some great insights while talking about his interviewing experience. The biggest takeaway for me was ‘I could do that’. He talked about a few of the problems they had to solve and they were pretty similar to those on FCC which I had be solving this week. Although I have a long ways to go, I was instilled with a greater confidence in my coding abilities and felt invigorated, wanting to go and code right then. I can do hard things. So can you. Everyone has incredible potential. I’ll hold onto that moment as things get tough and know, ‘I can do this’ whatever it is. 

I can’t wait to share my progress next week working on react and bringing back to life my LED cube with Raspberry Pi instead of Arduino! Until next week!

FCC Certificate

The Start of Something Good

Days of Make
  • Wake up at 5:30am to code for an hour every day.
  • Earn my first freeCodeCamp (FCC) certification
  • Survive the first week of the semester.
  • Actually post this blog post even if it isn’t perfect.
  • I didn’t actually keep track of everything. I’ll be better about that next week. 
  • Monday I earned the Responsive Web Design certification!!
  • Worked a lot on the JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures section.
  • Did about half of CodeAcademy’s command line tutorial.
  • Wrote this blog post.
  • 5:30 is early.
  • I really like programming.
  • I can figure out challenging things.
  • Nothing will be perfect (code, this blog, homework, etc.), but there’s value in doing it and putting it out there.
  • Finish CodeAcademy’s command line tutorial.
  • Finish Javascript algorithms and data structures certification.
  • Wake up at 5:30am every day to code.

Waking up at 5:30am sounds like a good idea. And becomes the exact opposite when you actually do it. But that is what I’m doing to improve my technical skills. Waking up an hour early to code, make, and tinker. Here I’ll document all of my day to day activities. 

I have about ten billion ideas of projects to work on, so hopefully I can calm down, focus on something, and show you all a cool project (or a few). For the moment, I am falling in love with code. As a mechanical engineering student, I like building things. Software is a whole other world where I can do that. To start off my journey, I’m working on freeCodeCamp’s (FCC) amazing curriculum. Something about it truly clicks with my learning style, so I’m focusing on that. In the future, I hope to add web apps to my robots. 

I love being at college, but so far, I’ve found more value in my extra-curriculars, than my ‘curriculars’. By being proactive and being an avid learner, I’ve been able to explore many fields of engineering that I feel passionate about. I’ve learned that you have to put in the time and concentrated effort to make something worth making. 

Although I’m an awful programmer right now, I’m going out there and making something. I’m not a great writer, nor would I have ever thought I would start a blog, but here I am. Even though I’m no good right now, this week I committed to give more of myself to get better. And I feel like I’ve learned more this week than any other week. 

I finished the first section of FCC. I competed in a University CodeSprint on HackerRank. I easily did the ‘easy’ challenge and couldn’t even understand the rest, but hey, I saw what it was like and feel more prepared for next time. 

Thank you for joining along in this journey. Hopefully I can share something that you’ll find valuable. For the moment, this is highly valuable to me because it commits me to learn something every day. 

With that, until next week!

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