Studying Resources: Dev Bootcamps

I’ve been studying for about 2 months with my gaze set on getting accepted to one of the U.S.‘s top coding bootcamps: Hack Reactor and Fullstack Academy.

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The learning road has been a very snaky one. I first started out with Codecademy and Codeschool courses, that I felt would prepare me to these bootcamps’ selection processes. They didn’t. Codeschool’s Javascript track was barely a track, stopping short of concepts like recursion, closures, higher-order functions, and the sort. I also ended those MooC tracks without any sense of what exactly could all that Javascript be used for (while I learned how to unite strings, loop arrays, and access objects, I didn’t learn any practical implementations that could be used in websites or web apps.

So I tried looking at the bootcamps’ prep aid to see if I could get more references to great material. I found many pointers to Eloquent Javascript, a book that I found VERY hard to follow, because of its denseness, and also because I found the examples used very bad. They really didn’t aid me in understanding how concepts worked. Lastly, there was no build-up in difficulty: a myriad concepts were dumped in all examples, making it very hard to follow. But by chance I found a little unknown book by a Brazilian-American author called Tony de Araujo that broke me through a number of concepts I was struggling with. Its name is Javascript Objects, Functions and Arrays Explained. That’s where I first learned the concept of closures, scopes, and another cool thing: the difference between the heap and the stack. Finally, Tony teached me something very nice: how to really read code, in JS’s order of evaluation. I learned how the engine skips certain parts, reads other parts, keeps stuff for further use, and hoists other stuff.

An appendix here: I was flabbergasted when I first tried Coderbyte challenges prescribed by Fullstack Academy. They were algorithm implementation exercises, but really demanded a huge grasp of array methods (think split, join, sort, etc) and then afterwards some complex nested looping and higher order functions like map, reduce, and filter. Functional programming became then a huge pain point, and I turned my gaze at functional-specific materials, to try to understand it. Eloquent Javascript helped very little on this front.

After breaking the paradigm of using resources that weren’t prescribed by the bootcamps, my life became much easier. I’m listing all the books and websites that aided my journey, with bold formatting on the ones I recommend, and bold + italics on the ones I really really recommend (through a cost x benefit analysis standpoint):

Books:

Websites:

I’ll try to elaborate this post a bit further, but for now, I’d strongly recommend the strongly recommended resources I cited here. Ha ha ha.

BTW, I failed my first HR interview. By then I had practiced almost ZERO map/reduce functions, and that’s where my evaluator wanted to test me.


EDIT:

https://github.com/mrdavidlaing/javascript-koans

http://toddmotto.com/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-javascript-scope/

http://watchandcode.com/courses/eloquent-javascript-the-annotated-version

http://joelhooks.com/blog/2014/02/06/stop-writing-for-loops-start-using-underscorejs/

http://reactive-extensions.github.io/learnrx/

 
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