Coding resources and Hacktober!

This week has been light on the person projects, but not light in the learning. Yesterday I spent the more relaxed end of my work day studying some SQL. It's some basic things, but I still think going over the basics again is useful. We use a lot of pre-written queries at work and despite my project using SQL I find that I struggle when actually writing my own queries. It is getting better and I am glad that I feel comfortable looking things up while I am at work. In the past I struggled much more with reaching out for help. I guess it was a bit of a pride thing, but more so it was a fear of not being perfect. I still strive to be as perfect at things I do as possible even though intellectually I know that that striving is futile.

Below I is a list of resources I use for learning SQL and everything else. This is a list I maintain in a document and send out to people if they express interest in learning how to code. This has been especially helpful at work, since I have been able to share a ton of free education resources to coworkers.

Teamtreehouse.com - Free with my local library card and many other libraries in the United States or $25/$50 a month depending on if you want access to their tech degrees and a few other things.

Udemy.com - Relatively cheap since there are frequent site-wide sales. As a general rule I don't buy any course over $10. Buyer beware though, there are a lot of courses on there and not all are good. Reviews are your friend.

Microsoft.com - specifically search for their learning material. There are a lot of free courses, a lot of them focusing on Azure but there are also some .NET courses too.

Freecodecamp.org - is a wonderful resource to get your feet wet with web development. They have over 1k coding challenges, 6 certifications, and 30 projects you can work on.

YouTube.com - There is a plethora of free learning material on YouTube. Use it to your advantage!

Javascript30.com - This is an excellent 30 day course of 30 vanilla JavaScript coding challenges.

Leetcode.com - coding challenges

Hackerrank.com - coding challenges

100daysofcode.com - Code a minimum of an hour everyday and post your progress

codewars.com - coding challenges

theodinproject.com - Full stack JavaScript, front end only, and a full stack ruby on rails course

codecombat.com - gameified coding challenges

coderbyte.com - coding challenges

codier.io - coding challenges

Lynda.com - free with a library card for me, might be for you as well

Those are the resources I can think of right now, but I am sure I missed so many. Next week I am going to list online reference resources that you can go to for explanations and examples of code so you can apply it to your own projects.

Hacktoberfest and Confidence

It's the most wonderful time of the year? Maybe, haha! Time again for Hacktoberfest and at the same time for me Preptober for Nanowrimo, which is next month. Oh boy, do I love projects. For Hacktoberfest though, I'm not quite sure what kind of projects I want to contribute to. I know I want to go to my local Open Source meetup and go to their Hacktoberfest presentation. It's fun to see the possibilities that are there for contributions.

This year will be my second Hacktoberfest and I couldn't be more excited. I'm of course listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos for inspiration and guidance, but like last year I am apprehensive about actually participating. I think that comes down to me only working on my own things throughout the year. And not really committing to GitHub on top of that. (I have to get better at that!)

On top of the Open Source meetup I also want to go to more meetups in general. I know there are awesome people there that love to help out people who need a little guidance, but too often than not I let my shyness get the best of me. I have this nagging need to not be a bother to anyone, but I know to get anywhere with code I MUST ask questions. There a ton of resources available to me, one being the awesome Slack channel from my boot camp that I am still a part of and well, as mentioned before, the wonderful people at meetups who want to help those who need help.

I think I get stuck on wanting to do coding challenges rather than actually building something, so the prospect of adding to an existing project feels daunting. I desperately don't want to break anything! But then I remind myself, that's why these are pull requests. If I put in a pull request and they choose to put it in their project and it breaks something...well it is their project. That, however, doesn’t mean I won't try my hardest not to break something!

I still need to research if this is a thing, but I would love it if I could do a pull request involving Postgres since that's what we use at work. I want to get better at it! We have pre-built scripts that we can run to get the information we need, but whenever I need to write something myself I freeze. Here’s to more learning and applying my knowledge this month!

Picking things back up again

I’ve been very much away the last couple of months. Away from dev things at the very least. I’m not sure what it was. Being away from other devs due to my lack of transportation that kept me from going to meetups? That’s probably a big chunk of it for sure. Plus, I got a new job. One that uses Postgres SQL! Yay! Using things I learned from my boot camp on the job! But a lot of my day’s mental energy went to learning knew things for my new position.

Being able to use what I’ve learned actually on the job has been so fulfilling. I had kinda given up on getting a dev/ish job. I was content at my company and don't want to leave. So, I thought eh, I’ll pick up freelancing or something. That didn't really pan out. No bites. Then again I wasn't willing to undersell myself either. No way. Nor was my heart really in it. If I’m going to work on things after my regular day job I want it to be things for me.

As the title says, though, I’m picking things back up again! Why coding? Why now? Well as mentioned before, I actually use some coding at work, but I also have been able to talk more to developers in my part of the company. It has been quite refreshing! I’m not in any sort of mentee relationship at the moment, but just being able to talk to a developer more regularly has sparked my passion to try coding again.

Now here’s the tricky part, I think: do I just jump in and start building stuff? For inspiration, I am picking up the developer podcasts I used to listen to, Syntax specifically, but I’ve also started listening to the Ladybug podcast, which I am thoroughly enjoying so far. Some things might be a little over my head, but then I can always pause the podcast and look up whatever concept, framework, piece of software, etc that they are talking about that episode. Even if I don't end up using it, I believe that I'm still better off now that I've heard about the thing and know a little bit about it.

Also for inspiration, I look to those that have transformed their lives with learning how to code. They were stuck in a job with nowhere to go then they learned coding and just that opened so many doors for them. Coding is so versatile that I think most people can learn it and apply it to their passion. Like making beautiful things? Be a web designer or a UI/UX designer. Like to help those in need? Help make you local business websites more accessible or help build a website for your local non-profit. You can program cool and useful apps and put them out to the world. The possibilities with coding are truly endless.

That they are. But sometimes, for me, that can be pretty overwhelming. That’s when I get stuck. Analysis paralysis. That's the point where I usually go back to tutorials and get sucked back into that loop. I think to myself. How am I going to get myself out of this tutorial cycle. Right now I really don’t know, but I’m hoping this blog will help me. Help me to push myself forward and to inspire me to keep going as I make a record of where I’ve come from.

It was a fluke really

I was on Facebook, like you do, when I came across a post about a former coworker and friend talking about the local bootcamp Code Louisville. It struck me. I don't know why I looked into it further. Curiosity. About the program, about what my potential could be.

So I signed up. Eh, there's probably a waiting list. I'll get in there eventually maybe. I put it away from my mind and went back to my life of making coffee and lattes.

Then I got an email. I felt lighter. This is going to be so cool! I quickly signed up on my phone while on my break. Later, I messaged my friend and we chose the same class day! I was very excited for my first day at something new.

Something new indeed! I had dabbled in web development for a whole semester in college and decided that it was cool, but I was almost done with my Anthropology degree and going a year over as it was so I guessed it wasn't in the cards at the time. I don't even have the files to my first website anymore, but I remember it was a website about the current wonders of the world and my website used frames.

Before even my first day at Code Louisville, we were instructed to go through several hours of pre-course work. It was then when a lot of the stuff I had learned in that college class came flooding back. I also had two realizations one: there's a lot more to making websites than that class touched on, and two: this is going to be a lot of information to process in a very short amount of time.

I was ready.

I remember studying late into the night. Staying up late to watch my course videos. Watching them on my breaks at work. Studying as much as I could to make this change in my life reality.And oh boy did the Code Louisville open my eyes to all the different possibilities there are. I didn't feel held back anymore by my circumstances. The community and mentorship I found there fueled my passion for learning even when I got hard.

It's still hard sometimes, but I know that I can reach out to for assistance. People I would have never met had I not seen a friend's random Facebook post.