Apr. 12th, 2017

jennil: (Default)
Fair warning: This post will have nothing to do with sewing. It's 100% computer nerding. But, I had a moment today, and I had to share it with someone, or at least document it somewhere, because it was a triumphant!

As school is coming to a close, and my job as well, I've been started to get super stressed out about my career future. I obviously want a job in programming, but the thing is, I felt like school did not prepare me for even the crappiest of programming jobs. I'd looked at job postings before, but always become overwhelmed because I felt like everybody wants 10 years of experience and knowledge of languages/frameworks/etc. some of which I've never even heard of! I did learn a good handful of languages, but no frameworks, never applied to web development (what I want to do), and definitely didn't learn all the languages I'd need for anything! So, I've been feeling like there's this huge gap between graduation and employability, and wondering if I was going to end up in another crap job like the one I have - or perhaps even worse! Which, of course, led me to begin questioning if school had been worth that. All that money, all that time, all that sacrifice. . .

Well, today I sat down and combed through a huge number of job postings, analyzing what was being asked for and for what different job titles, and what I distilled from this was that the gap I felt existed between my current knowledge and what I'd need for a job was actually not all the great. In fact, to become a front-end developer, I was missing only JavaScript, and to become a full-stack developer, if I focused on Python/Django, I needed only experience actually applying Python to web sites, and JavaScript again. (Of course, I'm not talking about readiness for a senior level position, but rather, what I'd need to feel like I could shoot for an entry-level job). Since JavaScript was the common theme, I decided to focus on that.

The funny thing about JavaScript is that, back when I started learning to make web sites (so, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and there was only HTML, because CSS hadn't been invented yet), I remember hearing about JavaScript and how it was for computer geniuses. Everywhere I turned, I was being warned about how hard and scary JS is, and that I should just find existing code and copy/paste it if there was a JS feature I wanted. I remember looking up some JS code and thinking, they are right, this is jibberish and I would never be able to learn this at all!

Fast forward to today. . . I learned the basics of JavaScript in under 30 minutes!!! I'm not kidding you. I literally burned through the tutorial videos on super fast speed, skipping chunks of it, and completely nailed the test at the end because that's all it took. It was a complete cakewalk. I was dumbfounded. I mean, I'd always heard that once you learn one of the heavy hitters like Java, other languages would likely be pretty easy to grasp. I definitely think that each new language I learned in school was a bit less painful than the one before it, but being in a college class environment means your pace is controlled by the dates on the syllabus, so I hadn't experimented with learning a language at my own pace since starting school (excepting upgrading to HTML5/CSS3, which doesn't count). So, the revelation of how far I have come since that first day in Intro to Software Design & Development was eye-opening! (I will note, however, that JavaScript had a similar feel to me that Java did, and some syntax was actually identical. This is hilarious because the two languages have nothing to do with each other, except for happening to have a similarity in their name!)

Anyhow, long story short, I am no longer questioning if school was worth it; it unquestionably was worth every struggle, tear, and dollar! And, although I need to get a feel for applying my newly attained JS knowledge, and there are still lots of other things I want and need to learn to become a better web developer and be more desirable to would-be employers, I feel like I'm ready to start applying. I feel like I finally have enough foundation in the right things to be able to say, I'm definitely entry-level, but I can definitely do this - and have total confidence in saying that! And in general, I have confidence. Today is the first day I have ever been able to truthfully say that about myself and programming.

So, today was a red-letter day. How shall I celebrate? Why, by staying up with the owls, and applying my newly-acquired JavaScript skills, of course!

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