My First Year of JavaScript

I’ve spent about a year taking online courses with Treehouse (teamtreehouse.com) in order to break into computer programming. It’s been a ride, and I’ve met a ton of interesting people along the way. I suspect that there might be a lot of people in my position, people who have realized that their retail jobs will soon become obsolete and that a functional understanding of computers and code is necessary in order to be a human in the coming years. So, I would like to share what I’ve learned (and what I’m learning) in my forays into tech in order to inspire my peers, or at least make them feel less alone.

I chose JavaScript because it seemed to have a large fan-base. In Portland, Oregon, I had friends who connected me with JavaScript meetups and opportunities to learn the potential of what was possible with the language. On Treehouse, the JavaScript teachers also seemed SUPER excited about JavaScript (Dave McFarland almost leaps over his desk to tell you how excited he is to teach you JavaScript). With such an enthusiastic community, how could I not get started?

Screenshot 2017-09-12 at 3.44.05 PM
Serious face and Treehouse stats.

JavaScript is a programming language mainly used to make stuff that you see in your web browser. It allows you to make animate, direct traffic, create tools, and much more. The terrain for what is possible with JavaScript is vast and growing, and a lot of what I have been looking into recently has included using JavaScript to write programs for internet-connected devices like the Amazon Echo, or even for Arduinos. Most of my coursework has been focused on making “dynamic web pages”, which basically means websites that you can actually use to do things as opposed to just reading them. For example, you could use JavaScript to make a website that keeps your shopping list, or turns music into animations, or generates random movie-plots.

The movie-plot idea was one of my first projects in JavaScript. It is based on a book that I encountered at Powell’s, which kind of resembled those books where you can change the head, torso, and legs of a monster by turning the pages. I wanted to make a program that created random, silly treatments for movies. And lo! I did.

Screenshot 2017-09-12 at 3.30.29 PM
This is the kind of stuff my computer spits out when I run the program.

This is pretty rudimentary, but I’m still proud of it and it was one of the first projects that I followed from inception to completion. I’ve created a lot more since this first one, but we’ll save those for future blog posts. What I’ve noticed is that when you’re starting out with programming, you will often put in a heroic amount of effort to produce something that seems, on the surface, unimpressive. However, take your victories and roll with them, because the more you do the unimpressive things the more you will learn to make stuff that is useful.

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