Dan Davies{ Front-end Developer }

Learning the hard / easy / whatever way

15th November 2013

I’m not great at learning. Things often take a while to sink in.

When I was working with table layout, the thought of learning divs and CSS was scary and seemed a different language that I’d never pick up. Some would say I still haven’t mastered that. But not being one to shy away, I was tasked with doing some editing work for a few days. It was to be a defining moment in my career. For several days, I tidied up HTML files stripping out code and adding in images that floated left, right or central. For a day or so, I gingerly made my way through the 100 or so files amending with care to the point where I found I was doing it without really thinking. It became second nature. I like to think of it as my “wax on, wax off” moment.

Fast forward a few years and I’m pretty good with the HTML and CSS (again, there will be some who disagree). My new nemesis is javascript. I’ve tried all sorts to make it sink in. I’ve read, been shown and it just won’t click.

So recently I started to watch some videos on Youtube. Basic stuff but I found that being able to watch someone do something was easier to take in than reading it. Here’s an example.

From there, I started to do simple bits of javascript, usually and I don’t hide from it, copied off the web and adapted for my use.

It’s at this stage I thought I would struggle to take the next stage and write my own but no. I found I had learnt more than I realised and that it was starting to click in my head. Again, I think this is my “wax on, wax off” moment.

By doing something again and again no matter how trivial and basic, it had helped me gain a simple understanding but more importantly a confidence to try and do more and not being scared to ask the questions that others think are so simple.

Moral of the story. Keep it simple and stick with it. You’ll get through the other side at some point.

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