Kate Preston

CodeClan Weeks 10-14: JavaScript

Tuesday, May 14 2018

After an intense android project week (which you can read about over on the CodeClan blog), we had a week of Computer Science and job prep. There are lots of terrifying things about swapping careers, but for me one of the biggest ones was not knowing how to present myself both on paper and in interviews in a way that was relevant a new industry so having someone talk us through how to do this was incredibly helpful.

The following week was the beginning of the JavaScript module. By this point my cohort and I had been learning for 10 weeks without a break and everyone was a bit run down. So although what covered in week 11 wasn’t necessarily more difficult than things we’d learned before our brains were fragile and a few of us hit a bit of a wall. For me this manifested as a guilt spiral where I both felt like I couldn’t maintain the level of extra work and reading I had been doing, and that I couldn’t slack off because I’d put my family’s life on hold/ handed over the care of my baby to someone else in order to do the course.

The great thing about CodeClan is that your cohort become your support system and so although we were all melting down, we did it together. Over the course of a couple of weeks made sure to pull each other up: teas were made, hugs were given. By the time project week rolled around most of us were back from the brink.

I’d actually had a stab at learning JavaScript a couple of years ago. Although I certainly wasn’t writing it in the best way or understanding everything that was happening having had some exposure was really helpful when it came to some of the more tricky concepts.

I’ve loved the JavaScript module. Java was fine but a bit too verbose and (dare I say) boring. JavaScript feels mildly anarchic, which I dig, but it’s not just the flexibility that interests me. I find the whole ecosystem surrounding JavaScript really fascinating, and learning about various tools and frameworks is as interesting as the language itself.

If you’ll indulge the humanities student in me, another thing about JavaScript that really interests me is it’s place in web culture. Or rather, its place transmitting, displaying, and generally corralling web culture (or I guess just, culture). As the language that powers what can be achieved in the browser it’s specs define not just the what’s and how’s of syntax, but dictate who can access content, to what extent various companies can get a stronghold on these modes of communication, what parts of our shared culture should be preserved, and what is allowed to disappear or break. If a certain bit of syntax was declared defunct, and browsers responded by removing their support for that syntax, swathes of websites would break (depending on the specifics) and we would lose access to pieces of our shared culture.

Throughout the JavaScript module I got a little obsessed with deploying my homeworks on glitch. I took a task where we were supposed to practice API calls and made it into a pokemon top trumps game, and during a lab a classmate and I put together an etch-a-sketch.

We rounded off this module with a group project. It was a very different experience to the projects that had come before and in the end was more about learning how to work in a team of developers than it was about build something shiny. My team and I put together a travel dashboard which aimed to help users plan trips. We alternated between mob programming, where the four of us sat around one machine and developed as a group, and paring. I was pretty proud with what our group produced, but even more so with how we conducted ourselves and how easily we worked together.