Good follow-up questions!

What applications did you find yourself making, and which languages did you end up choosing, and why?

In coding bootcamp, I built a few small applications. A memorable one was a Pokedex that pulled stats from the PokeAPI. My UI was beautiful, but the rest of it felt labored. I accomplished the task, but I could have simplified my code big time. This was vanilla JS, HTML, and SASS.

The thing is — we didn’t really get to choose which languages or technologies to use. The purpose of the projects was to practice using whatever technologies we had learned in class. For example, if we learned something in Ruby today, we would definitely be doing a project with Ruby a few days later.

I think I’ll write an article about this next part, but basically, it took a lot of time for me to realize the following concept:

Programming is not about telling the computer to do X. It’s about telling X to do Y, or telling X to do Y with Z. Or telling X to get Y from Z. Or to get X from Y and put it over there.

That was the most important realization I had.

I currently work as a technical writer on an engineering team. The team uses Scala for the most part, but also Golang, Python, and a few others. I still find myself using JS for random projects. I’ve also been using SQL lately for database work. I used SQL as a teenager at my first job, so it wasn’t too difficult to pick that up again, once I reminded myself that I was using it to get X from Y.

One big change for me is that in a professional environment, I’m not building applications the way I was building them in school or for my portfolio. I’m identifying problems and deciding that I can program my way out of them. This means I’m writing much shorter snippets of code to accomplish very specific tasks, sometimes in a few languages, instead of saying, “I’m going to build a to-do list app from scratch!”

From your perspective, what sets JavaScript apart?

JavaScript is practically unavoidable for front-end work. Tools like node.js make it possible to use JS outside of a browser, which is nice. There is a huge community on Stack Overflow (and elsewhere), meaning that there’s no shortage of information and assistance if you get stuck.

I found myself using it the other day when I wanted to write a script to automate something on a dashboard that I created. I didn’t even think about any alternatives — I just said to myself, “I guess I’ll do that with JS.”

In terms of syntax, it is far from my favorite. If we’re comparing languages solely based on syntax, I’d rather deal with Ruby.

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✨ serial questioner • technical writer/devops • editor of Diary of an SRE • thank you for connecting 👩🏻‍💻 kerisavoca.com

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