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The true value of mentor's help when learning JavaScript

Raymon S

Many times in the past I noticed a chain of events that later would have a good impact on my life. It happened again.

I was working on a little personal project using AngularJS and I have to say it was a struggle.  While I did pretty well with Angular itself, I hit a wall every other step with JavaScript.

At some point, I was stuck on a task for a few days and couldn't come up with the solution.  Solutions from the Internet didn't work either. My frustration grew so big, I started to tell myself that I wasn't made for this, I'm not clever enough to pull it off. I'm not a coder and never will be.  Our inner voice isn't very helpful sometimes, is it?

I ended up in this situation because I thought I knew JavaScript, but working on that project proved me wrong to the extent that I realized I had to go back and re-learn or better to say learn JavaScript properly.

Getting a mentor

There is an opinion on the Internet that one needs to have a mentor to improve fast, so it was time for me to find a mentor.

The search brought me to Mr Frontend Community website where they offer a mentoring and communication with developers. I didn't think twice before I joined Mr Frontend community on Slack.

I was warmly welcomed on Mr Frontend and made some friends pretty quickly. One of the members introduced me to FreeCodeCamp, an open source community which helps to learn to code and build projects. That was the decisive moment for me.

Free Code Camp

I joined FreeCodeCamp and I was hooked before I knew it. The JavaScript lessons and challenges are great. For the first time I was learning algorithms, before I only read about them and found them to be super intimidating.  As a matter of fact,  I wasn't only learning JavaScript, I was enjoying doing the algorithm challenges which was very surprising to me. Then came time to work on projects.

The Projects

I completed first project (Random Quote Machine) and asked community at Mr Frontend to review my JavaScript code.

Raymon Schouwenaar (one of founders of MrFrontend) gave me a few pointers and suggested that it's important to learn to code with pure JavaScript not only rely on jQuery.

I ended up creating three versions of a single project. In first version I used jQuery and hardly new what I was doing. Working on the second version I did everything in pure JavaScript. Then I went further, learning how to use an API to pull information and used these skills in the third version of the project.  With every version I challenged myself and I learned something new.  It was a great experience.

1st version (jQuery)

See the Pen Random Quote Machine by TheMalni (@themalni) on CodePen.

2st version (Vanilla JavaScript)

See the Pen Random Quote Machine Vanilla JS by TheMalni (@themalni) on CodePen.

3th version (Vanilla JavaScript with external API)

See the Pen Random Quote Machine from API by TheMalni (@themalni) on CodePen.

Getting feedback

When I completed my next project for FreeCodeCamp and shared it on Mr Frontend, I got very positive feedback on my JavaScript code.  Moreover there was nothing to be corrected. That was my little triumph which boosted my confidence a great deal.

My example shows that reaching out to people is necessary to not to feel isolated and helpless while learning to code.  Talk to like-minded people about your passion, it will charge you with positive energy.  In addition it will make you feel being a part of the developer's world for real.

My advice is to get an insight of an experienced developer on your project and you might change your own perspective on how you want to learn and practice coding from now on.

Happy coding!

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