anthony ramella

Progress Report - Month 3 On the Job

August 30, 2015 Reading time - 3 minutes

Learning to Learn

I have been asked by several readers to share an update on my progress since my last report in June. While it took me about half a year to start learning code and make myself hireable, once I started coding professionally, I feel as if my learning has rapidly increased. I was worried I wouldn’t know enough JavaScript to be working as a web developer, but my duties so far have not required much JavaScript coding so far, although I’m hoping to get some hands on with it soon enough.

Thankfully, the team I work with has been very patient with my learning and the other developer on my team has been a great teacher, having me do all the coding while helping me learn shortcuts and tricks along the way. I have been at my current position for 3 months so far, my previous internship for 1 month and the majority of my time has been working on the front end, primarily with CSS, HTML and Foundation framework. Our backend is powered by ExpressionEngine CMS so getting some hands on with PHP is exciting for me as well.

I have been learning lots of cool CSS tricks that have strengthened my skills. Some improvements I’ve noticed making in my CSS knowledge has varied from understanding how to target child and sibling selectors, pseudo classes, the box model and media queries. It is a great feeling to know that I have advanced my learning rapidly by being able to do this for a living. If I continue at the pace I am learning at right now, I feel I will gain some solid experience within another year.

Workflow Changes

There are a few tools I’ve switched to in my developing environment since I first started. While I still love Sublime Text for code editing, I have recently switched to Atom which I have been loving lately. The main reason for the switch is the paired programming support which I just couldn’t find in Sublime Text. AtomPair and MotePair have worked great for when my partner is helping me code. The other great things about Atom are its extensive package library, git integration and its instant familiarity for Sublime Text users makes it an easy transition.

Another tool I’ve added to my daily workflow is CodeKit. What makes CodeKit so awesome is its auto refresh in the browser every time a save is made to that file. It has built in bower components which makes Foundation and Bootstrap development super easy as well as auto compiling for SASS/LESS, JavaScript, Typekit, etc.

Notes & Tips

I’ve noticed that little menial things like switching from keyboard to mouse, highlighting text, moving lines of code and locating classes or making word changes in your project takes up more time than you think. Knowing how shortcuts for your text editor and minimizing your time spent switching between mouse and keyboard makes life a lot easier. I have printed a cheat sheet for my text editor so I can have a quick reference for keyboard shortcuts so I can commit it to memory.

On the Agenda

I desperately need to start (and complete!) a project. I have been wanting to work with the Discogs API to build something to share my record collection and wishlist through my site. I also have a responsive photo gallery in the works that I am building with a jQuery library so maybe I can share some of my photography on the site. The parting words from my manager at the internship I had was to always be building some kind of personal project on the side and I plan on taking that to heart. Some days its very challenging to come home and do more coding, but I believe I have the drive to stay motivated and committed to becoming a better developer.