I would like to address learning how to code in a cursory manner and more from my experience. I am learning to code off of the internet on my own. In this article, I will go over what has worked for me and what has not and slowed me down. I have a few things that really threw me for a couple months and hopefully, I can save you from that.
I used to be a construction worker and made a great career out of it. I started in my teens and made it until my late 40’s which is when I hurt my neck and lower back to a point where I can’t work anymore. I was used to waking up at 5am and working 8 to 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. During my recovery from the surgeries due to the accident, I ended up with a lot of downtime. In my late teens and early twenties, I was striving to be a Photographer using my artistic abilities. I decided to take pictures again and learn Photoshop. Right at this time, Adobe decided to start their subscription model and it allowed me to jump in for ten bucks a month. I started to learn Photoshop and get really interested in how the web works. I needed a place to show off my photos and I saw these adds saying I could make my own site and learn how to code in ten minutes! I had a few minutes to kill so I was all in. Here is the biggest lie you will see on the internet. You or anyone else cannot legitimately learn to code in 10, 20 or even 30 minutes I don’t care how gifted you are!
You will see this everywhere about how easy it is to learn to code and how quickly you can do so. Have a long hard look at the people telling you this lie. They are people who stand to make a great living off of idiots like you and especially me. Sure, we can do a hello world example in a few minutes when someone holds our hand doing but is that coding? They say it is but what can you do with that? Absolutely nothing. It doesn’t even help you to learn how to code. All it may do is give you the confidence to continue.
I think this is the thing that hurt me the most because of all these people stating how easy it is and how fast you can learn but I couldn’t. I, still to this day, get really down on myself and it has stunted my learning. I even gave it up a few times because I thought I just didn’t have the smarts to continue. I thought it just wasn’t my thing even though I have always been interested in new technology and building things. That is the explanation of a developer if you ask me. A developer, to me, is one who never stops learning and loves to build things. Someone who loves to learn on their days off and decides to learn something else for a hobby. I always had a hobby and a job. I always try to learn everything I can about what I am doing and give it 110%. I am an all in kinda guy. My wife says I have ADHD, and maybe I do. I think if I do that it is a major benefit because this allows me to hyper-focused on what I am trying to do and not allow outside influences hinder me. I can be so honed in that people will be talking to me and I will answer but never remember that they were even there.
After all that has been said what have I done to actually learn? I have mentioned starting with Photoshop which exposed me to Muse, Dreamweaver, and Bootstrap. I wanted to have my own page to show off my pics and found out for 50 a month I can get every program that Adobe makes for developers and artists. By doing so I found Muse which is a drag and drop program for making sites. You also get a free site when you subscribe to Creative Cloud and you get a portfolio page. So I had a place for my images and a playground to learn how to make a website.
Around this time I got hooked up with an old friend of my sisters who is a designer and who was trying to transition into building his own website business. We gave each other inspiration but it didn’t go much farther. What it did do was show me that I could learn and that I was doing pretty good. I also met a friend who gave me their credentials to Lynda.com and I started devouring the tutorials on that site. It is pretty much dead now but it was very good at that time. It made me realize that I could learn anything that I wanted to from my bed. I could be laid up and watch tutorials on how to code.
This went on for a while and I wanted more than the drag and drop editor Muse. I found Dreamweaver and Bootstrap. I started to make a site for woodworking, which is my hobby. I had an idea where we could have one site to hold all the plans on the web in one place instead of on ten million sites. I am still working on it, lol. But I did realize that I could really code and not just drop a few lines in here and there. To me, Bootstrap and Dreamweaver are a great match. I see it as an evolutionary step allowing one to get into intermediate coding. Dreamweaver helps a lot giving you visual drop downs and any panel you need to produce a site. Bootstrap allows you to get a lot for nothing so with the two you can put out a great looking site that is not performing so badly.
While doing these things I found Foundation for Sites by Zurb and realized how much better it is than Bootstrap. BS is so opinionated whereas Foundation isn’t. It has forced me to really understand what I am building. Although very easy and quick to mock-up or build a site you get the best results but only if you have a good foundation in HTML and CSS.Good luck to you and just know that you ain’t stupid it just is a lot to learn and many others are in the same boat as us. As always, I may be dumb but I ain’t stupid. Keep the code Open and Dry folk’s!