It’s been a wild month. I’ve spent about 30 hours driving back and forth from Tampa to St. Pete, 160 hours in class, and the rest of the time attempting to maintain relationships and actually get some sleep. Oddly enough, I couldn’t be happier about my situation.

In the past month, those hours in class have paid off, and in two months when I finish up with all of the coursework, I guarantee I’ll echo that same statement. Here’s a little recap of the mounds of information I’ve taken in during the front-end engineering portion of my time as a student at the Iron Yard.

The Iron Yard TSP

Git and Github

When I first opened Terminal, I felt two emotions–terror and confidence. Terror of breaking everything on my MacBook and confidence in getting ready to take on something powerful. Now, I’m at a comfortable in-between of those two emotions and try not to let myself get too stuck in one direction over the other.

About a week into the program, I picked up the basics of using Terminal and how to push my directories to GitHub. Actually, I’ve switched to using Hyper now instead of Terminal because, as a visual person, Hyper pulled me in with all of its customization options. Plus, look at that logo! Instagram, take note: that’s the right way to use a gradient.

HTML

Semantics

For the most part, I didn’t gather too much new information about HTML. I did, however, enjoy learning more about the semantics of HTML and the process of developing clean, readable markup.

When I first learned HTML, it wasn’t HTML5. div was everything to me, and main, section, and article didn’t exist. Before starting at the Iron Yard, I picked up on some of these changes including b being deprecated and replaced with strong and vice versa for i and em. It’s still useful to have these updates reinforced through this program since it’s easy to get stuck in old ways.

CSS

Similar to HTML, the coursework on CSS didn’t present me with ground-breaking material aside from a few specific topics (ahem, flexbox). When working through styling HTML in daily projects, it felt great having properties and their value options memorized thanks to years of practice and use. My production time seemed pretty efficient for the most part, so I’ve learned memorization is key. Like I said, a few new topics tripped me up and started the memorization process over again for me.

Flexbox

Wait, we shouldn’t use float? (That’s an actual internal quote from me during the nightly reading on flexboxes versus floats.) In the early 2000s, display: flex; just wasn’t a thing. Since the coursework builds upon itself, float has kind of become a thing of the past for me, and I’m flexing like crazy. Shoutout to Flexbox Froggy for really helping me get my feet under me with understanding each property that tags along with display: flex;.

Media Queries

Travel back to 2003 with me again when mobile/responsive design and development didn’t even matter because who on earth had the money to spend on the amount data it took to visit websites on his/her phone? Well, welcome to 2017, where a majority of web traffic comes from users on their phones and tablets. Who uses a desktop anymore anyway? (Shameless side note: me, constantly.)

More recently while working on professional projects, I definitely dove into media queries but didn’t fully grasp the best values to use for the widths and the reasoning behind using a min-width and a max-width. While it isn’t required of us, I’ve been forcing myself to make all of my projects responsive and, more specifically, based on mobile-first design.

JavaScript

Okay, here’s where the mounds of information came rushing through to my brain. That’s an amazing thing though, it really is, mostly because my original purpose of coming to the Iron Yard was based on learning JavaScript.

Topics We’ve Covered

  • DOM Manipulation
  • forEach
  • for Loops
  • fetch and promise
  • Functions and Callbacks
  • if Statements
  • Debugging with Developer Tools
  • Arrays
  • Objects
  • Events

By covering all of these topics in just two weeks (we spent one week on HTML and one on CSS), I’ve built a basic functioning calculator and pulled in data from other websites to create a working search bar on a website I built. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m going to toot my own horn.

Looking Forward

I spent so much time in the past on sites like Free Code School, Codecademy, etc. trying to figure out how to learn the basics of JavaScript, and it just didn’t work for me (not saying it won’t work for everyone).
Being a student at the Iron Yard for just a month already has me lightyears ahead of where I was by spending my spare time trying to understand the intricacies of JavaScript via Google and StackOverflow. I’m really looking forward to the next two months of learning backend development and then specializing in either JavaScript, Java, or Ruby. Coming from a design background, I have a good feeling I’ll specialize in JavaScript, but I’m happy to keep my options open!