Immersion

(I’ve written and rewritten this opening paragraph half-a-dozen times now. I am having some trouble getting my thoughts down in a way that feels at all elegant. At this point, I would settle for coherent!)

I like learning languages. I am not very diligent about it, so my progress is unimpressive, but I keep plugging away. Computer languages have some fundamental differences from spoken languages, but they also share some key concepts. In some ways, the paradigm of learning the two types of language is reversed. In computer languages, I feel like I am learning from general to specific. From informal (psuedocode and big-picture concepts) to the formal (syntax and curly braces and proper everything everywhere). Spoken language learning has always felt like I learn the formal, classroom versions of the language and then in real life I have to sand down the corners and pay less attention to the rules.

Despite that, the methods of acquiring these languages is pretty similar. Practice until the concepts come naturally and then build on your foundations until you are conversant and then comfortable and then fluent. Most of the time I have spent learning JavaScript and its associated libraries and frameworks and complimentary markups and tools and stuff, I have felt just on the verge of overwhelmed. But not quite overwhelmed. I wonder if I should take a deep breath and get my head wet. I’ve looked at advanced code, in both JavaScript and languages I am unfamiliar with (like c#), but I haven’t really forced myself to try and survive in that environment. I have always been able to say, “nah, I don’t think I’m ready for this yet.” Perhaps I am doing myself a disservice.

To that end, I am going to start looking at more complex projects and really try and pick up on the concepts. I need to get out of my comfort zone, or I’ll never get any better. There is definitely a lot of stuff to learn in this field, as I am made painfully aware of every time I look at software job postings. I need to find the tools that should be on my belt and become well-versed with those tools. It can only get easier… right?

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