Project: Build a Tribute Page

I recently completed my first programming project for freeCodeCamp, which was to create a Tribute Page. There were times of frustration and times of confusion, but in the end, there was a great feeling of accomplishment that came from coding something completely from scratch.

Reading articles, watching videos, and working thru guided lessons are all great but if you really want to develop a new skill there is no substitute for putting what you have learned to use. This is certainly true for programming.

There are tons of sites out there that offer online tutorials where you work thru exercises and code right in your browser. These lessons are a great way to learn, but it is a very curated experience. Between the instructions, the examples, and the hints, the information that you need is all provided for you. Things aren’t always that easy in the real world of programming.

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Week 2: A Crash Course in WordPress

Week 2 took an unexpected turn before it even began when I decided on Sunday that I wanted to start a blog.

I had so many thoughts and emotions going thru my mind after the first week and a blog seemed like the perfect way to express them. Considering how many self-taught programmers there are out there I thought it might be of interest to some people. It would also be a good way to put some of the skills I was learning to use. I had already decided to incorporate PHP into my studies since so many sites are built on WordPress so a WordPress blog was a natural choice.

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Week 1: It’s Go Time!

With the decision made and a plan in place, it was time to start learning.

I understand myself well enough to know that I am at my best when I have a structured routine. With that in mind, my plan was to be very regimented about how I allocated my time. Each night I would schedule out my time for the next day, blocking out not only time for learning but also time for things like working out, eating lunch, and spending quality time with my wife. I think this is a helpful practice in general, but it takes on an even greater level of importance when you are working from home. When there is no one else to be accountable to, you have to be accountable to yourself.

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Week 0: Making a Plan

Having made the decision to learn to program, it was time to make a plan.

My initial research had given me a pretty good idea of what I wanted to work on and what the different options were as far as education.

My first instinct was that back-end development and working with databases would be the best fit for me, but I also wanted to build a solid overall foundation since I would essentially be starting from scratch. With that in mind, I decided my first steps would be to learn a little bit about a lot of different things rather than focus all of my attention on one or two things. I felt that this would not only give me a better overall understanding of the development process but it would also allow me to make a more educated decision on what I really wanted to focus on long-term.

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