Back in the day, and man, do we have to go back for that one, I used to do a bit of coding. I learned some java and covered all the basics. This was during the years of a web startup we had in the ’90s.
After that I switched to Business Intelligence which was all about databases. Sure, some coding still happened, but I’d rather call it hacking a bit here and there. Now, however, I wondered if I could get back in the game. Just for fun. The A-Stad project gave me a good view on what’s currently happening on the web. I decided to start out with Team Treehouse and focus on some front-end. Great fun, and I learned a lot, but I grew tired of the childish tone of voice they use. I think I’ll return there someday, but for now I wanted a more decent view on back-end and programming in general.
So why not go back to basics? I quickly stumbled upon Harvard’s CS50 which is a general introduction to the world of computer science. A lot of steps back, you might think but, boy, is it fun. It makes me wonder whether Belgian University is boring as hell or whether I just grew up and am more interested now in actually learning stuff. The course is free to everyone in the world to follow (except for people living in Crimea apparently) and they will review and grade all your submissions. If you want a certificate of completion it’ll set you back $90.
While doing that I decided to check out the technologies we’re using at the company I work at, more specifically NodeJS. Why? Well there’s a whole javascipt world growing. I dived into the nodeschool. Their excercises are entirely command line which might seem daunting at first. It throws you into the water and teaches you that way one of the most important things: learn to find answers online.
But once you start digging it takes you to a lot of places. Heroku for hosting, Github for soure control and some common extra’s of node like ExpressJS and Jade. It’s a lot to digest but it’s actually quite fun and it’s rewarding in a way that you see results quite fast.
One more thing: it’s a mac world. I switched to Mac a year ago and I think it helps quite a lot since you’ll find most things just work as documented online when you’re using OSX.
What’s next? Finish CS50 and continue my research while putting everything I learn to use while developing a sort of planningtool I can use for the team at work. Good thing is that there’s a whole floor of node devs at Digipolis where I can ask questions when I get stuck during my after-hours sessions. And I’ll eventually start exploring AngularJS. And once we get all that done (let’s meet in another year or so) I might dive into some more cutting edge stuff like Polymer.