Full Stack Learner (Part I)

The path from deciding that you need to change your life and what you have to do to achieve it till the moment that you know you going to get it, just need one thing: Patience.

Changes are always difficult. No matter if you change to a different city, new school, new kindergarten (my daughter is in that phase now and yes it´s been a challenge), new job or even when you decide that a new job it´s not enough but a whole new career.

So, last 2 years, I´ve been noticing that my life was going to a hole, where I was losing my free time but mostly the time to decide when having the free time and also I start thinking where I want to go in my career; the typical question in job interviews: “where you see yourself in 5 years?” was popping in my mind all the time and I was not liking the answer.

I needed a change, I needed to be challenged. I need a job that challenges me and I can create something and makes me learn more every day.

So a change was in order. Most of my life I had worked in Hospitality, from bottom to up, I had my own company, but something in the day that I decided to change my career, brought me the time when I was a kid, discovering my MSDOS system, creating the snake game in school, learning about Qbasic and Pascal then it felt natural: I want to be a web developer, I’m going to learn a language, get a new job and life is going to be easy and perfect.

One thing about me: I always deal badly with time, with the waiting, especially when you can´t control it. I always arrive first at dinners, jobs interviews, etc. When I start a new project or have a new idea, my brain just jumps and goes to the point of achieving it, not thinking of the road to take or at least finding it difficult to do the road.

So when this light bulb came, my brain was ready to get a job the next day, forget everything I had before and just jump. Luckily I know myself better now and can control the fact that I can’t always control the time, that no matter what I think, life gets in the way.

But I work in shifts weekdays and weekends, the schedules are pretty messed up difficult to create a pattern. Also with a small daughter, the challenge is bigger when it comes to find space and time to work. So I decided to write what has been working and not been working for me. Join me on the ride:

1. Make a calendar

I heard this many times (“Make a calendar”, “make a todo list”, etc) and I thought it was useless because I could remember. You can also right? So when I start studying and starting to learn the basics or a new language I end up out of focus and didn’t know what to study and when and how.

my calendar

You don’t need much. Divide what you want to study, and define how much time can you give to study on each day and make a calendar out of it

Define also when to have a free day. And then, just stick with it. Use any Pomodoro clock on the web and make small breaks of 1–5 minutes in every 25/30 minutes and one for around 10 minutes in each hour.

There is one day that you can only dedicate one hour instead of the 3 hours you normally have? Still study the same subject that you had planned before, just not the same amount of time.

Side note: When I started, I ended discover this podcast by Dain Miller. If you are starting a career in web development or want to learn maybe in not the most traditional way, listen to it. Or if you need motivation is also good. Or…for any reason listen to it. I am writing this because one of the many things that Dain says is “if you don’t have time to do everything, the solution is never to do it, but instead doing it but for less time”.

2.Know your basics good

When I started, I was just thinking I need to learn faster to get that job faster. So I started the course in Udemy —Web Development Bootcamp( by Colt Steele, I can’t recommend it enough). First HTML: easy, a tag here, a tag there. I had some knowledge before. I can do this. Then CSS: body{background:red} really? That’s what you have?

Let’s go to Javascript. What? We go to the console?? console.log…alert(“Hello”) DOM manipulations…arrays…And I got lost. But didn’t give up, So I continue forward to more javascript and then backend with javascript.

And yes, I was understanding many things but was not confident and many things I was doing it for them but for no reason. So I went back and went to the course again focusing on the lessons more important and in JS in all. Also, start a course about JS (by Jonas Schmedtmann, also really good**)**in Udemy, and all the basic become strong knowledge. I lost the fear of playing with JS without tutorials because the basics were known. Array and iterate thru them are normal and not daunting. Functions now I can see where and why to use them. And that help you also with more deep subjects. I am learning now about OOP and everything makes sense, even that is difficult but I know I going to succeed because I have the basics well established. I know and you know that there are many things to learn and we just want to learn all, but if we focus on one language and learn well the basics, the rest seems achievable no matter what.

Soon the continuation in part II