Growing (slowly) with Google

There’s something about squandering your time that makes you realize that you’re probably not cut out for the pro-leagues of life. And by that, I mean having ambitions and aspirations and actualizing them.

Or, in my case, not quite actualizing anything. Only half-assing them and feeling “okay” enough about having “tried” to accomplish something.

Case in point: My six-month scholarship for the Grow With Google/Udacity nanodegree in Front End Web Development.

The course, as covered by the scholarship, ends October 24. I’m currently on module 3 out of 5. I am behind. I’ve been inducted into the #turtlesquad channel on the GWG Slack group. Oddly comforting is the fact that I’m not the only one across the different nanodegrees who’s been struggling to keep up, regardless of what our reasons are for falling behind.

I guess the irony of all of this is that I should be working on my course rather than writing about it.

I recently finished the “Arcade Game,” a web application in which you move a cartoonish character across a grid and avoid running into bugs. Prior to that was a “Memory Game” in which you click on some cards and match them up. All of this to test our synthesis of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, though, these projects have mostly emphasized JavaScript since that’s what mostly controls the behavior of our web pages.

I recently started project four, the “Feed Reader.” Using Jasmine and my continuing-to-evolve JavaScript skills, the project mimicks an instance in which I inherit an unfinished RSS project from a recently departed colleague. Finish the code, see the break points, fix the breaks, submit. That’s the TL;DR version of the project rubric.

I’m learning a good deal and this course has pushed me in the direction I’ve wanted to go in with regards to web development for some time. I knew HTML and WordPress had made it very easy to not worry about everything else, but over time my curiosity, and a need for professional reasons, got the better of me. It wasn’t sufficient to know just HTML. What did these curly brackets mean? How can I create a styling code? What is this code with functions and brackets and parentheses?

I had to build out my “web dev” knowldege and this Nanodegree came at an opportune time.

Sadly, I believe I’ve squandered much of the six months. While learning JavaScript basics, I let too much time pass between lessons. I was laid off from my job and also apartment hunting — big distractions. I forgot language structures, I’m still not clear on how to “read” JavaScript, though I think I’m getting better. Maybe. Things still feel unclear. I can follow along with the lessons to see how a function works, but come time to write my own I struggle with the big picture.

This takes time, right?

And what do I do after I finish this Nanodegree and receive my certificate? That’s what I worry about, the stop in learning. Sure, I can play around and build my own small web apps and website themes and whatnot but I feel like I need more guided practice.

This is what I mean by half-assing things. Every intention is there but there’s no hard follow-through to improve. Is this laziness? Anxiety? The human condition? I don’t have the answers.

In the meantime I’ll hunker down and get the nanodegree finished.


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