How I learned to stop worrying and love self-study

It’s been a long time since I last posted here. I had some mysterious issues with getting my previous post to show up on the live site. Happily, when I went back to it today and did a new git commit and push, it finally worked. I have a theory that my VPN (a necessary addition in Turkey…) might have caused the problem. I’m not sure how well Git and Github play with VPNs.

So it’s time for a progress update! It’s now mid-March – how time flies. I’ve been on this learning to code mission for over a year now. Although it feels like a hard slog at times, when I look back on my old stuff I can definitely see progress being made! Even this blog is testament to that.

I had a minor setback last week, when I didn’t make it onto the bootcamp I’d been aiming for. They invited me to try again in a week’s time “after reaching level 5 on CodeWars” (I’m currently on 7) Now normally I’m all for persistence, else I’d have given up on coding long ago. But quite frankly, there are better things I could be doing with my time. Like practising building my own apps, all by myself.

As everyone keeps saying, we learn best by doing. And, to me, being able to build and show off a range of my own apps, is far more useful at this point than figuring out a relentless stream of abstract algorithms. Instead I intend to master programming concepts through trial, error, and building stuff. Plus, I’ll save myself a TON of money, which will help fund my imminent departure from Istanbul.

To give myself solid structure, I’m following the boot camp style curriculum in the Odin Project. It’s pretty comprehensive and includes courses on both JavaScript and Ruby on Rails. By following the materials on Odin, I’ll end up with a wide range of projects to display lovingly on Github. I’ve also reactivated my Treehouse subscription. Much has improved there since last year.

Another thing I’m doing at the moment is finding an interesting open-source project.

While stalking Twitter at 5am I discovered the guys at Hoodie. Hoodie is an open source software that provides all the backend stuff for your apps, so you don’t have to. They have a well-developed and beginner-friendly zone for solving bugs and contributing to docs. I’m looking forward to submitting my first pull request next week.

Open-source is a great way to get used to collaborating with a development team. It’s especially useful for me, living in Istanbul, far away from many accessible tech meetups.

Watch out for my next post, which will be all about my first steps into open-source, and tips for how you too can get started in this intriguing world.