Can’t remember how I stumbled upon The Odin Project web development curriculum, but I’m glad I did.

    I like the way it points you where to go to dig deeper into the topics, and it offers a nice blend of different learning materials and assignments.

    I find it way easier to learn new things by reading about them instead of watching videos. Pissed that it’s taken me so long to figure that out. I think this is one of the main reasons why I’m having more success with this course compared to other ones I’ve tried in the past.

    Need to decide whether to progress to Ruby on Rails or full stack JavaScript. I guess sticking with JavaScript should offer a deeper knowledge of the language but I heard that Ruby is a joy and Rails makes it easy to do a lot on your own.

    I find myself at a fork in the road, and my research is all getting a bit Robert Frost, but I’m trying not to take too much time mulling it over. To borrow a phrase from James Clear’s newsletter today, I think this decision is more of a hat than a haircut or a tattoo.

    Enrolled in Harvard’s CS50x: Introduction to Computer Science course. Enjoyed working through an older version of this years ago before abandoning it about halfway. Let’s see if I can make it to the end this time around.

    Finished working my way through the Learning How to Learn course on Coursera. This was recommended as a helpful resource at the start of The Odin Project.

    So much depth. It’s great for anybody looking to learn something new and study more effectively, especially if you’re procrastinating or finding your subject difficult to wrestle with.

    In a chapter in Baseball 100 about Japanese baseball player Sadaharu Oh, Joe Posnanski compares baseball training in Japan to spring training in the United States.

    Training is much more gruelling in Japan apparently. He explains how, culturally, the sport is just viewed differently there.

    When American manager Trey Hillman managed a Japanese team and tried to make some training sessions less intense, in an apparent effort to do the players a favour, the players weren’t happy about it. For them, there was honour in putting in an extreme level of hard work that was just part of their sport.

    Got me thinking about my approach to studying web development. Web development training, if you like.

    I’m often banging my head against a wall trying to understand new things. It’s tempting to look for shortcuts, AI assistance and other ways just to speed things up.

    I hope that putting in the time and work to more fully learn and understand things will help me build a solid foundation on my path to digital craftsmanship. Totally get that finding efficiencies will be key later down the road, but I’ve got a few muscles to build first.

    Becoming a Digital Craftsperson

    My career has not exactly been a straight path.

    I have no regrets about that, I much prefer it that way.

    But it’s funny, because looking back at some of the moves I’ve made, it’s easy to think at first glance that many of them went in the opposite direction to where I ended up landing.

    Now I can see that what felt at the time like huge shifts ended up getting tangled back up with the skills and the experiences I gained earlier.

    For example, my time working as a nurse in a hospital emergency department certainly helped me keep my cool when facing other types of emergencies from the comfort of my office desk.

    Distance adds perspective

    I’m writing this blog from rural southern Italy. It’s an environment quite different from the London suburb where I grew up.

    The slower pace of life down here has allowed me to think. I’m talking about the type of thinking that I rarely had time for when living in London with a head full of worries and a train to catch.

    As the local church bells chime every hour with what feels like increasing frequency, I realise that 2024 is just around the corner and I’m in danger of being left behind as time moves on.

    Taking pride in good work

    One of the things I notice about many of the Italians I meet is the pride they take in their work.

    Here in Puglia, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some fantastic craftspeople. Many of them are using skills that have been passed down in their families for generations.

    • When buying a leather belt, it’s possible to go to a workshop and meet the person who created it with their own hands.

    • When buying a pizza, the kitchen is on display and you can watch the pizzaiolo flip the dough, place the toppings and manage the busy logistics of the oven.

    • When buying mozzarella, you can go to a local farm to see the cows that gave the milk and the person who created the cheese that very morning.

    All of this got me thinking about where I stand. What do I build? What can I take pride in contributing to the world?

    This led to a big change a few months back in my freelance business when I decided to focus more on email marketing. When done right emails have a huge positive impact on the people sending them as well as the people receiving them.

    But working with all of this email design and code, coupled with the bruises I’ve gained from my battles with WYSIWYG website builders, made me realise I’m looking for something important.

    Digital craftsmanship

    This post is a public commitment to studying web development with the approach of a craftsman.

    I mean, there’s no turning back now it’s here and you’ve read it, right?

    This is not so much a pursuit of a new career or a complete change of direction, although I do not rule anything out.

    I’m going to try to become a digital craftsman who can build websites I’m proud of and document some of the things I learn. In fact, the idea of sharing as I learn is one of the main drivers behind starting this blog and trying to form a new habit.

    Who knows how all of this could tangle itself up with the past to lead me to somewhere I’d love to be? I don’t know what that place looks like yet but if I sit still I’ll never find out.