the learning saga continues, or Programming makes my Brain Hurt

So another day of jQuery under my belt, since I last wrote. Well, technically 2 … yesterday and today. My goal is 20 pages a day in the JavaScript and jQuery Missing Manual book … which doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m taking lots of notes, and typing every bit of code in the book (and making sure I understand it before I move on) … my fingers now type such things as $(‘#image’).mouseOver(function() { … effortlessly … and I even understand what all that means. Go me!

Of course, that’s different from sitting down and writing a piece of code from front to back that accomplishes anything … I’m a mere copier, understanding the words, but not capable of assembling a sentence on my own.  And I think that’s beginning to get to me.  I read an article on aol yesterday about something called App Academy, which is an intensive 3-month many-hour-a-week course (in person only, SF and NY), in which you learn web programming and get a job in the 60+K range almost immediately, seemingly guaranteed.

Now, money’s not my goal. I personally would be happier with half the money and a lot more freedom over my schedule, to spend on my art and my family. But, that said, I am envious of the speed of learning in the App Academy. I’m now about 7 weeks into my self-study, learning HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver (but only after I had HTML and CSS pretty well understood), and now JavaScript and jQuery.  (I’m also enrolled in Introduction to Information Systems Technology, and a class which is just how to learn to use Office 2013 at the local community college). 

Seven weeks in, and I don’t know if I could write a simple program without referencing the books.  A lot.  I feel like I should know … more … better.  And the missing manual book has tutorials, but they’re hand-holding walkthroughs. I want to be thrown into the deep end, but I want someone there to advise me how to flail my way out as well.  If I throw myself into the deep end unsupervised, I think I’ll just sink.   blub … blub … blub.

So today I first got a bit morose (after doing my 20 pages of jQuery, that is, can’t stop work for a little despondency), and I watched all of my HCI free-online class videos for the week, and I created my project idea for that class, and I did my Dreamweaver Tutorial book chapter, but instead of feeling accomplished, all I felt was “ok, but I still don’t know how to program something.” 

So I went back online and found a course starting next week on MITx (another free online thingy) which is an intro to programming in Python (?) (never heard of it, but that should be irrelevant, right?  Everyone says once you can think in one language, new ones are easier.  Man I hope that’s true…), in which according to the professor’s intro, they just toss you into the deep end, but there’s guidance, even if minimal and mainly provided by the others busy flailing and sinking next to me.

So I guess this free online learning thing is addictive.  Well, that remains to be seen … signing up for it is addictive, anyway.  And the jury’s out as to whether anyone in the hiring business thinks the resulting certificates are worth the paper they’re written on.  (Though honestly I want the information, not the certificate so much. It’ll be nice, but more important is that when I talk about my skills, I’ll really know what I say I know, and when I have a job to do, I know how to do it.  Without that nothing else matters, and with that, well, nothing else should matter anyway.)

Of course, I can always tell future employers I have my bachelor’s degree from William and Mary (which is true) and my master’s degree from Wichita State University (which is also true) … the fact that the bachelor’s degree is with concentrations in Government and Fine Art, and the master’s is a M.F.A. in Painting doesn’t have to come up, does it?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s