If you've been following this sparsely updated blog, you've probably noticed I've been floating around with my web development education quite a bit. Honestly I've enjoyed a lot of each of the programs I've tried, and learned a lot in each of them, but I've also gotten stuck in each of them. Not to the point where I couldn't have gotten through, but definitely to the point where I was frustrated and felt unsupported. Partially this was due to a lack of commitment on my part, but it was also partly due to always seeking out the most budget friendly options for my education. While I love that there are budget friendly options out there, without support and mentorship I often found myself feeling unsupported and wondering if my projects (that passed all the given tests) were actually written well.
And so, after more research and several weeks of discussion with my wife, I've fully committed to Thinkful's Flexible Web Development Bootcamp! It has exactly the curriculum I want, on my schedule, from home, but also builds in three mentor meetings per week. And all of that at about 1/2 the price of other programs I was considering. Plus, my wife's favorite part: a job guarantee!
I started a couple weeks ago and am really enjoying it so far. I think it has a great balance between working through short lessons and actually building out projects on your own. For the first time I've found myself actually building projects I take pride in. So without further adieu...
The first small project I built is this Mt. Evans Quiz. It's a simple quiz designed to educate folks of some fun facts about Mt. Evans. It's written with HTML, CSS and jQuery. Normally I don't consider myself much of a designer, but the background photo I took on a run a couple weeks ago really helps this one stand out.
Today I finished up a challenge called Thinkful Tube. It's a simple Youtube search app using jQuery and Youtube's API. I didn't take the time to style this one much, but working through this project was a perfect example of why mentorship is so helpful.
While trying to add the pagination links I hit a bit of a roadblock. I was trying to avoid creating another global variable in a situation where it was clearly the best solution. As a beginner I've read so much about how global variables are evil that I didn't really consider that path for more than a second and so remained stuck for a couple hours. Thankfully I had a mentor meeting that evening and a quick 5 minute conversation was all it took to help me realize that this was a case where using a global variable was OK. I'm not sure how long it would have taken me to get there on my own, but it certainly would have been much longer than 5 minutes! Having a mentor with 20 years of experience to talk through these issues and help really understand them is invaluable.