Select Page

Can you become a web developer if you are 40

After receiving this question plenty of times, I decided to write an article about it.
I would like you to know that this is just my story and hopefully, you’ll find it of help or at least you can grasp the good things out of it.

Background

I was born in a ex-communist country, one of the poorest in Europe. Living in a communist country you’d imagine the mentality and lack of resources to outside informations.

My parents couldn’t offer me a good education as they were just simple workers, so around 11 years when the communist party fell down, I saw an opportunity to make small winnings. I went to a Fruits Store so that I will offer my services and work for them, the packages were so big that I couldn’t even move them an inch. I was so skinny due to lack of food that I used to get a stone around 5 kilos and place it in the elevator so that I would used it when I wanted to get inside my flat as I lived to the 8th floor. I was a shy guy and later became an introvert but like most of boys I didn’t want it to show it, so I was faking the brave. 
Nobody wanted to give me any job, as they were probably afraid so that I wouldn’t die. All the jobs were heavy jobs, in constructions or brewery where physical efforts was needed and I couldn’t do it.

From poverty to robbery is just one step!

Close to my 14’s I met a bigger guy, he was around 17 and he proposed me to “work” with him. He was a pick pocket. I started to “work” with him and we eventually became friends. I barely used to go home as my parents draw an addiction to alcohol. I was living on the streets with this fella and used to go to his house from time to time. Starting with this episode, my life had a bad turn until it reached the peak when I was 19. In Romania at the beginning of 19 they used to incorporate young men into military, that was required by the Law. It used to be for 12 months. So the year I was doing military clerks, my mind was clear and I started to ask myself where I wanted to go. I had no education, no basics into any profession whatsoever, so I didn’t know where to start. 

Hope arises!

After finishing the military I saw an opportunity into my cousin’s furniture company. I started to work with him but after a year he went back to US as he wasn’t able to be in two places at once, so the furniture company was closed. By the end of 2000 I started a military career and to continue my education. It ended on the end of 2005 when I’ve met my wife in Spain. 

My life begins in Spain

Since then I worked for a year into construction, and then I took an opportunity on an olive oil manufacture, packaging and bottling. I also went to study for three months a milling course of the olives… Been a small factory I used to be the “guy that is good at all things” and I was also repairing the machines and do the logistics when needed. Between 2007 and 2019 I worked for this company and be able to provide for my four kids and my wife.

Beginning To Shape the dream

In 2019 I decided to start working on my dream. 
I still live the feeling when I touched for the first time a PC keyboard. It was in 1999 when I went to a one month introductory MS-DOS course. That feeling and memory had never left me. So, I decided to go into tech industry. 
As I am writing this article I am filled with emotions. There are a mixture of emotions, I can see fear, excitement, and so many of them, positive and negative. But I know something for sure, I will never quit to accomplish my dream, that is to become a software engineer

The Sky is not the limit!

It has been a long journey, with up and downs. I faced my worst enemy: fear! 
I learnt to not listen the voices that come against what I’ve built in my life. I value people, I celebrate life, but I don’t drink my coffee with toxic people as I have a dream to pursue and I need to focus on it.
I choose to listen The Voice that encourages me!
I aim high for a guy that used to be insecure, self doubted and introvert.
But one thing I know: if I shoot at nothing I will hit every time, but if I shoot at the Moon it’s impossible not to hit at least one star!

This is part of my story!
Be encouraged and be brave!

you can find me on Twitter here

I am bad at coding, please help!

I am bad at coding, please help!

How many times you haven’t felt this way?

How many times you’ve looked at your code and had the feeling of the worst programmer in the world?

And finally, how many times you had the feeling if you are a junior like me, that you maybe, just maybe, took a wrong path to programming and you are just “not for it”?

The other day I received a message in my Twitter inbox that literally said this: 

“Please help me I want to get into web development, I know basic Html and CSS, but I’m so bad…

I feel like falling into an empty void I’m such a failure”.

This is a desperate cry for many of us but I know I am not alone. Some developers are programming for more than a decade and still feels that they need to improve.

Hi, I am Luc, a front-end developer and this is the weekly article about my journey into web development.

Without further due, let’s get into it:

I don’t have the 20 years of experience as I started late, at 42, last year (eg. 2019), but I noticed something that preoccupied me at the beginning in the field. One of the problems that most people are facing when it comes to programming, is a lack of confidence. I consider myself someone who knows how to administrate emotions, as having four kids the tendency is to go crazy if you don’t learn how to hold tight and put things together. Even with that, when I started to code I felt overwhelmed. There were new things every day, and it always will be this way in this industry. But the same ways are coming, the same way are going… look at Deno (the runtime for JavaScript), it came out in May 2020, and in 2 weeks I haven’t heard anything about it since.

Start to code.

When I started the HTML and wrote the first “Hello World” I felt like an entire universe had opened to me. To find later that HTML is just a scratch to surface to what coding is. I had a “this will never end” feeling and from that moment I knew in a way that I will never regret choosing this path. I understood I needed time to get experience and I set a schedule and a weekly goal(s). To thrive, for me, the best strategy is to set a weekly goal. Let’s say that I want to learn loop in JavaScript, what I do is read the documentation about, watch a tutorial, read articles, apply what I’ve learned. Thus the info gets stuck in my brain. Even after one month of no use, I remember how does it work ‘cause I grasped the basic. But again, this is just me and you may find a better way of doing it.

Learn the fundamentals.

A year ago (in 2019) I was insecure, I didn’t know where to start or how to continue. I had bought an Udemy course of “full-stack dev” just to find later that the title of “full-stack” in the instructor’s mind had a different meaning than mine, and it was from 2015 thus outdated. I decided to give it a go even so. I turned that disadvantage into an opportunity. As the version of jQuery and more of the Boostrap was outdate in the course I had to learn by reading the documentation. The JavaScript intro was just that: an intro. I gave up on learning with that course and went to another course in JavaScript. It didn’t made any sense to my brain. So I turned to PHP and it started to make sense. If you want to know more about this experience I wrote an article about it …of course I did,🙂 since I am documenting my journey.

 Learn the fundamentals is the best of choices as libraries changes, languages updates and frameworks remain in oblivion.  

Don’t just code more, code better!

I saw this reply on one of my recent tweets and I loved it. I wondered how can I improve and asked myself:” how can I code better?”

So, I started to dig. Internet is like a gold mine, the more you dig the more treasure you find, so I put together some of the most important strategies, but without expanding them:

  • read other programmer’s code;
  • comment your code as less as possible and when you do, write meaningful comments;
  • fall in love with code refactoring;
  • write documentation for large comments;
  • avoid global code (like variables, or loops);

I was surprised to find that some of the practices above I were following without knowing they have been put into the “Best Practice” list code. Again, this is not a technical article so I added the ones I found most important at the time. You may find other great practices that help you on your journey.

And as you grow in knowledge and advancing into the industry, document your journey. It doesn’t have to be by writing articles at the beginning, you could write notes that will eventually in the future convert into articles.

I hope you find this helpful and if you do you can share it with your connections.

Until next week, I wish you a productive time and happy coding.

“Capture user inputs” in Javascript

Capture user inputs in Javascript

I always had difficulties applying concepts in JavaScript, and you might say that is common when you are a beginner to programming, but I can assure you that in my case I had to struggle to understand the basics in JavaScript, and yes I still do.

This week I studied on a project inspired by Chris and his “Fun javascript projects”, and I’ve built a guessing game. By building it I added “capture user input” which I have learned to implement and I want to share it with you briefly.

So here I go:

Grasping the concepts

What is “capture user input”? As the main title suggests, it’s exactly what it says it is. It captures what the user is adding to the input. It might be a password, a name, or whatever the form requires to.

How does it work?

In a simple phrase: it prompts the user for information, and it prints out what the user wrote on it. In other words, it’s like when you receive a call and by answering, on the lines, it gets the sound of your voice.

That’s it!

No, I am not finished. I meant that’s what it does and but I want to add an example as well. 

In the below photos, I used the most popular typed “prompt user” that I see almost every day as I want to close a window on Chrome. 

<script type=”text/javascript”>

 function myFunction()  {

  var text=document.getElementById(‘input0’).value;

 }

var typed = window.prompt(“Type yes to close this alert: “); 

 alert(“You typed ” + typed);

</script> 

Looking at the code and the photos we can see that with “capture inputs” we can manipulate the DOM and as well we can create form validations, mathematical calculations and so much more like the game I create. If you are passionate about logic, which I assume you are, having the fact that you are reading articles about JavaScript, you can give it a try and score against the computer by playing it here.

Until next week, have fun coding.

Why should the code be commented on?


While there is a lot of article pro and cons that we should comment or not our code, it came to my attention that this is required in programming industry as it’s one of a question I received during job interviews when it comes to Code Practices.

You may not agree with the fact that we should comment on our code, as for some this is extreme by saying that is a sign of bad code. The other extreme is commenting on the code in an exaggerating way.

As a junior, I like to comment on my code as I usually reuse it, and it’s for later information.

Currently, I have a very simple method, that perhaps if you are like me, you’ll find it useful. I am going to break it into three parts:

  • relevant
  • brief
  • to the point.

Relevant comments.

Every time I comment on code I am keeping it relevant. A long code should be turned into documentation rather than to be considered a tool in the toolbox. So, I am writing a piece of self-explanatory information. This for me in time turned to be a way of remembering why I added the code, which brings me to the next point.

Brief comment

Commenting code is something that should be brief. Of course, I haven’t seen senior developers commenting on their code while recording a tutorial, but that tutorial is giving you some fundamentals that later on should apply, not a real-life example. So, the comment should also be brief. I use at the most two lines with a maximum of 10 words.

Comments to the point.

Comments should always be about “why” I wrote the comment. Lemme explain with a real example: I had to change a “back-to-top arrow” in one of my client’s pages by adding some CSS. While the colors on the website at a certain point were covering the back to the top option I changed the colors and gave it a shadow at the bottom. I wrote a comment that was saying “back-to-top background change”. After one month I needed to make a change on another website and I reused the exact code making some small changes. This is a simple example but when it comes to finding a workaround and the code itself is not explanatory, we really need to comment.

Conclusion

While there’s still debate on commenting or not the code we should always look to be productive not only for the moment but as well thinking in terms of “production” in the future. I understand that commenting code has a bad reputation but we shouldn’t allow dogma to guide our work and our productivity. Commenting my code is a great tool that will help juniors in trouble time. It shouldn’t be abused and working in a team it’s helpful.

Some of my practices

I avoid long comments, I prefer writing documentation.

I avoid in-line comments, I use them only if necessary.

I avoid placing warnings in comments, I do it only to show what I tried and it didn’t work.


Hopefully, this was helpful for you. Until next time have fun coding.

Connect with me on Social Media: Twitterand LinkedIn

How I overcame self-doubt!

You might know part of my story if you are following my account on Twitter, but I have never opened myself on social media at this level and share my personal experience until I realized that I can help people, I can “really” help people.

I don’t like long introduction either so I brake the story in three briefly parts:

  • acknowledging you are doubting yourself;
  • you are not alone;
  • there is hope;

Acknowledging you are doubting yourself

Doubting myself is one of the most dangerous paths, as it is a hindrance to progress and improvements in most cases. 

It is connected with fear and the fear of failing. I have seen myself on so many occasions when the most important opportunities have passed near me just because I left them due to fear of failure and self-doubt. Until enough is enough is enough.

You are not alone.

I know that this subtitle may not give you hope, but hold on a second and allow me to share my thoughts with you.

When you see yourself as the only one that experience in the way you do, you tend to isolate from talking about it, thus instead of using that experience to give to others and empowering yourself, you focus on your experience from a negative angle thinking that you are alone in this. When you are in self-doubt let me tell you blankly that we all have the feeling, yes it’s important what you feel, yes it’s important that you doubt yourself, yes you need to canalize this toward a good goal, and yes you can.

There is hope.

I am sorry, I‘ve should’ve said “There is always hope”. To start, look inside of your heart, look back at everything you have accomplished, DESPITE self-doubting, despise everything you have experienced, you are HERE, in a turning point when you want to change this. And there is hope, you are your only hope and your experience can become your catalyst to explore more opportunities despise self-doubting and fear. 

These two feelings are normal, and without emphasizing this as a bonus in this article I will give one of the keys of how I overcame them: I DIDN’T! I learned to live with them and transform them into a benefit to others and myself. I started to talk about them, share them with family, friends, and ultimately share it here so that others may be encouraged. I don’t pretend I always win over these feelings, but I learned to identify them and take action. The most important action I took is to not deny them and understand they are part of my life, 

I hope this week’s article will encourage you and bring hope. Until next week, keep shining your knowledge and continue to pursue your dream.

Why I dropped JavaScript for PHP.

Being a junior programmer you tend to want to learn all, at once. This is the biggest mistake to do and I fall to it. But I managed to recover.

Hi, I am Luc, a junior developer in his early 40’s. I write an article per week that’s related to my journey into web development, if you’d like to accompany me, and don’t miss the week article, you can subscribe to my newsletter down below. You’ll get the story right into your email without the need of opening the browser. Nevertheless, I post the link to my article on Twitter and LinkedIn too.

PHP was saved by Laravel, it’s what they say at least.

Back in 2019 when I started my journey, I was reading that PHP was about to go… even so, I gave it a try, and it was very difficult for me to understand it. “Wait, what?. You just said in the title that you dropped JavaScript for PHP”. Exactly! Be a bit patient and let me tell you the whole story… briefly.

Coding for me it’s hard. I got a memory problem, I have to take Magnesium to remember things, I am adding notes, use Siri, Reminders, I use written notes everywhere on my desk and I still forget things. Hopefully, as long as technology is around, I am in luck. 

PHP had (and still have) multiple issues but the most important one is security. I know that in time they have been fixed, but some issues are still present. Even so, Laravel saved PHP back in 2011, and I’m saved by Siri.

JavaScript is Everywhere on the internet.

if you go to your Chrome console (that is if you use Chrome) you’ll see that it runs on JavaScript, if you’ll disable it you’ll improve (or not) your experience on browsing, as the majority of Chrome behavior is based on JavaScript.

Switch Gravity GIF by HANDYMARTIAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

You wouldn’t find Browsers to supports PHP since it is server-side programming that runs and execute on the servers. Browsers don’t have a PHP interpreter to read your source code and execute instructions then give you output.

I would love to give you good advice, unfortunately, I cannot since we have each of our journeys. I encourage you to learn having in mind that you shouldn’t go simultaneously with JavaScript and PHP as it’s possible to get confused. It is what I did, and I ended up not understanding neither of them, until a point…

I dropped JavaScript for PHP.

It was frustrating that anything I was learning from JavaScript, my brain was refusing to cope with it and give it a sense. Copying and pasting the codes from the tutorial were so easy, but when I had to implement, understand the concepts, and explain them to myself, it was hard. So, after a few months, I gave up on learning JavaScript and stuck with PHP. Things in PHP like variables, booleans, arrays, and strings began to make more sense and I was more comfortable with the terms. After practicing for a few months, I thought it was time for me to get back to JavaScript.

Back to JavaScript

Now, that I began to grasp the concepts of computing and logics, I believed it was the time to continue the journey with JavaScript. And it was marvelous just to look at a function and understand what it does and why. JavaScript was finally making some sense, so, I felt encouraged to go deep and I (re)started freeCodeCamp where I left it. This time with the help of Florin Pop’s challenge that you can find here.

Plans for future

Continuing to learn and go with a framework is what I want to do. I am thinking of giving VUE.Js a try. I was between REACT and VUE but finally decided to go with VUE as I find it simpler at this time than REACT. I believe that getting deeply with VUE and continue to revisit basics in Vanilla.js will give me a boost on going to REACT soon.

I hope you’ll find the article helpful and you can be inspired to continue your programming journey. Until next time I wish you health, inspiration, motivation, and a wonderful week ahead.