A Review of the Scrimba Learn JavaScript Course

I just finished up the Learn JavaScript for Free course on Scrimba, taught by the CEO Per Harald Borgen, and the last thing he suggested in the course wasn’t to take another course, but to start writing about my learning experience. I’ve been blogging for almost 20 years so this was something I felt I could actually accomplish. The post is in response to his last suggestion in that course, and this may not be a point for point pros and cons review, but the fact that this post exists is how much I think of this course. TLDR; i would recommend this course to anyone wanting to learn JavaScript.

My Journey So Far

I’m sure my journey is similar to many others, but we all have unique stories to tell. For me, the short version would be, in March 2022 I left my old career behind to start a new career as a developer (specifically a front-end React dev).

I left 15 years of tenure, safety, and security to follow something I had wanted to do all of my adult life. But starting a new career after 50 can’t be easy. I’m not sure, I’ve never tried this before, but every year that went by I could look back and think “if I had started this a year ago I would be a year farther down the road now” (and I’ve said this to myself at least since 2015). I also had completely and totally unrealistic time frames in mind. Initially, I figured 2 months should be long enough. My expectations were unrealistic to say the least.

Having Realistic Expectations

The next two months I spent about 8 hours a day working through Codecademy’s full stack course (just because it had the most structure), and made it through HTML, CSS, JavaScript Part 1 and 2 (twice), then React Part 1 and 2, and Git/GitHub Part 1 and 2. My emotions ranged everywhere from this is awesome I’m super excited, to I can’t wait to get through this next course, to extreme frustration, to how can/will I ever be able to learn the sheer volume of information, let alone learn it well.

Then I read Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard and Finding it difficult to learn programming? Here’s why, and I started to get it. My unrealistic time frame was even more unrealistic than I first thought, and the way I was trying to learn the material was the most difficult way, for me personally, to learn.

Did I mention, I spent every day, 6-8 hours a day, cramming through Codecademy’s full stack course for two full months. Please know, I have nothing against Codecademy or how they teach their courses. The platform is amazing, the information is extremely detailed (though the React course was a bit outdated). But at the end of the two months I didn’t feel prepared for anything, nor did I feel like I knew how to code anything that wasn’t hand fed to me. The main way of teaching is through reading documentation and then doing a small exercise. I am a lazy reader so I tend to (not on purpose) skip details, miss important details, drift off, loose concentration… fall asleep. It wasn’t “tutorial hell” but it was close.

Find What Works for You Personally

My solution was to go to YouTube and find some (non-tutorial only) videos. One big video on JavaScript and one on React should get me back on track and then I would pick back up where I left off. That’s how I came across Per Harald Borgen and his YouTube video on JavaScript via FreeCodeCamp. Except it was 7 (seven!) hours long. I found out it was actually a course on Scrimba and a few minutes into the first video I felt like I had learned more in just a few minutes than weeks of previous work reading blocks of paragraphs.

I figured that was just a fluke, but it wasn’t. It was like that all the way through the entire course. Maybe because I learn better through video and doing, maybe because I had actually learned something over the last two months… whatever it was, I learned more from this course than from anything else, and in a quarter of the time.

The Scrimba Review

Local Files: as far as this particular course goes… one of the best things for me was being able to download the entire course work on GitHub, then work through every part/chapter/piece locally through vscode and Chrome dev tools. This helped me tremendously over just doing the work “in-browser.”

The Interface: they use takes a bit of getting use to, but it’s very unique, and I learned to really appreciate the combination of code editor, video, browser, mode thing.

The Cost: well this course was free, but I’m subscribing to their site, and it’s VERY reasonable.

The Teaching: like I said, I learn best in this format. So for me, I picked up the teaching method much better. Per is also a fantastic teacher, patient, sense of humor, and you feel like you actually get to know the teacher even though it’s not a live course.

What I Really Liked: Scrimba gave me hope. What more could you ask for. It made me figure out how to do things the way they would be done in the real world (or what I perceive to be the real dev world). It wasn’t theoretical, it was application and repetition. The projects you work on over the course are fantastic. The Blackjack game and the Chrome Extension projects were really great learning tools.

What I didn’t Care For: in short, the solo projects and Figma. This isn’t so much a criticism of Scrimba as much as my personal situation. I’m trying to get through this as fast as possible (for many reasons). There was a solo project after each major section. I felt like these were way too hands off. I didn’t even attempt them because I found Figma very confusing, and I didn’t know where to even begin, and I didn’t have the time to figure it out. I know this is counterproductive to my end goal and it would be a great way to learn, but I couldn’t take the time to do them. I plan to go back and do them later, but I don’t know if that will realistically happen once I get to the advanced React course.

What I Learned: this is one of the hardest things I’ve found in learning how to code. How do you know how well you are doing? I learned some JavaScript for sure. I learned concepts. I learned how to figure things out on my own (a little, but more than non-Scrimba courses). I’m also a big note taker (I’ve done dev notes in Notion from the beginning), but I finally figured out that I need to be taking notes in the code… everywhere (like the exercise below). I learned to take your time and give yourself time to figure things out. Don’t hurry, be patient, or learn to be patient. There are no shortcuts to learning code, none, not one, none, at all.

// this is what i did and it was completely wrong
// i didn't understand the instructions and got lost

     const fruit = ['Apples', 'Bananas']
     const description = 'The 2 best fruits are: '

 function generateSentence(desc, arr) {
     for ( i = 0; i < arr.length; i  )
     console.log(arr[i])
     return `${description} ${fruit}`
}

console.log()

// this is what Per did, and now it makes sense

function generateSentence(desc, arr) {
    let baseString = `The ${arr.length} ${desc} are `
    const lastIndex = arr.length - 1
    for (let i=0; i < arr.length; i  ) {
        if (i === lastIndex) {
            baseString  = 'and '   arr[i]   '.'
        } else {
            baseString  = arr[i]   ', '
        }
    }
    return baseString
}

const sentence = generateSentence('highest mountains', ['Mount Everest', 'K2', 'Moon', 'Mars', 'Jupiter', 'Sun', 'Stars', 'Pluto'])

console.log(sentence)


// this one was not easy at all and i came no where close
// to getting it right but it is pretty cool. 
//(May, 18 2022 {Wed} @ 03:08:17 PM)

All in all I couldn’t recommend this course enough. But it takes way more than just a course to learn how to do this stuff well. It takes discipline, the proper working environment, rest, breaks, focus, time, money, an understanding family or spouse, and just the right time and place in your own personal life.

Cold Day of Code and Godin’s Tribes :: Friday Feet

Scott Reading Tribes

Scott Reading Tribes

Today was supposed to be a day off but it was so cold outside today that I ended up just looking at code all day long (which was better than going outside).  So I took my friday feet photo today of what I had planned on doing today, sitting back and reading a book.  That didn’t happen but I was able to get moving on a few blogs and website development projects (the shoes in the pic are just for effect since each week I am wearing the same shoes).

I am in the middle of reading two books right now, Tribes and Unleashing The Idea Virus, both written by Seth Godin (his blog).  Some how I ended up reading both of these books at the same time.  Unleashing The Idea Virus was written first and Tribes is making more sense after reading some of Idea Virus.  I will be posting a review of one or both once I get through reading them, but so far they are both excellent.

I am about to finish my first two full months at the church and now I am really starting to get into the grit of my position.  Once the new website is launched over the next week or two it will really be a start to what I hope is going to be a strong Internet presence in the months and years to come for the church.  I am really excited about how it is starting to come together, and today I spent a good bit of time getting to know the code a little better.

After looking at coding for about 12 hours Deb and I went out to eat at a (very) local restraunt called Good ‘Ol Boys.  Tomorrow the Auburn Basketball team takes on Vandy in the next SEC matchup for the Tigers.  Doesn’t look like it is going to be any warmer, some are actually calling for snow on Monday night, yikes.

Learning New CSS Stylesheets, Themes, and Design Code

I neglected by blog posts this weekend and instead opted for a new design, look, or fell, or whatever. I was trying to consolidate some older pages, and make it a little easier to get around the information I have posted already.  I am still putting the finishing touches on some of the graphics but you get the idea now. I would love to hear what you think about the new design, what can be improved or changed. This is a busy week coming up, our new study over at the Damascus blog is starting in Romans and will be posted on Tuesday.

Learning to Use a Stylesheet and PHP

Over time I have had to learn how to use a CSS or Stylesheet and some basic PHP.  As I have leaned more and more code I have found a bit of freedom to be able to change and adjust things to be exactly the way I want them to be, and in the process be able to mess things up as well.  I would really recommend learning as much code as you possibly can, over time, it will be invalueble to you since everything runs on code.

WordPress Updates and Upgrades

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Today was a nice day spent at home. One of those days where you don’t have to go anywhere except stay at home and work. I sat in my office at my computer almost all day (starting at about 5am), but it was a nice day outside and not having to drive anywhere was nice.

WordPress Updates

I started off the day finally taking the plunge into upgrading all of my blogs to the new WordPress 2.5 version. I have never updated to a new version of WordPress throughout the years because of how difficult I thought and heard it was to upgrade the back end system.

I am happy to say that I upgraded about 6 blogs to the new version, and all without any major problems or data loss. This isn’t much of anything you see on the user side, but the back end changes they made were really incredible and I am thrilled with the new version. While I was upgrade all the various code and plugins I went ahead and integrated all the blogs that I currently author so they flow well together and all are now accessible from the navigation bar at the top.

Books and More

We are still trying to catch up with the book orders and listings from being gone the last few weeks. I managed to only carry a few boxes up and down today. I managed to add some new ebay items today along with some consulting work and some updates on Elance.

Animal Visitors

We usually have a wide variety of birds here each day. Yesterday we had several small deer run through the property but today has mostly been these gigantic squirrels we have here. We call them Fox Squirrels but I am not sure of there exact species name. Deborah has now named the new fox squirrel, Bandit (an all white squirrel with a black band around its head), and he (or she, I really wouldn’t know) has taken upon himself to walk through the yard a few time each day.

Everything Else

I was able to get a good 3-4 mile walk in today and even did a small amount of needed yard work so I wouldn’t have to do it this weekend. Off to watch the Braves play the Marlins.

My html Color is #483D8B and Deb’s is #FAFAD2, What’s Yours

Well, I [deb] took a personality quiz today to see what my personal HTML color is. Here is the result.

you are lightgoldenrodyellow
#FAFAD2

Your dominant hues are red and green, so you’re definately not afraid to get in and stir things up. You have no time for most people’s concerns, you’d rather analyze with your head than be held back by some random “gut feeling”.

Your saturation level is very low – you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you’re working.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.

the spacefem.com html color quiz

[updated 2008]

I [scott] went back and took my color test and have pasted the results below.

you are darkslateblue
#483D8B

Your dominant hue is blue, making you a good friend who people love and trust. You’re good in social situations and want to fit in. Just be careful not to compromise who you are to make them happy.

Your saturation level is medium – You’re not the most decisive go-getter, but you can get a job done when it’s required of you. You probably don’t think the world can change for you and don’t want to spend too much effort trying to force it.

Your outlook on life can be bright or dark, depending on the situation. You are flexible and see things objectively.

the spacefem.com html color quiz

It is an interesting little test that has some accuracy with it, depending on your mood of course.