A New Years resolution

To be honest, I don’t really hold with New Year resolutions. My thinking is that if you realise something is worth doing, get on and do it.  Using an arbitrary calendar date as some kind of opportunity window seems peculiar to me.

That said, yesterday I was pointed in the direction of a rather cool little project being offered which appealed to me. Codecademy are offering a free course in Javascript programming. 

Now, I’m not completely new to programming – I wrote my first programme in BASIC (beyond the usual ’10 PRINT “HELLO”   20 GOT TO 10′) when I was about 5 or 6, got a peek at FORTRAN during my work experience at the Sea Mammal Research Unit in Cambridge, produced some game mods by buggering about with LUA,  and (much) more recently dabbled in Visual Basic, IDL and C++.  That said, I am far from competant in these.  I can understand what a section of code is doing, and (usually…) edit it to change its behaviour correctly, but I’m very far from fluent, and when it comes to complex inter-relationships between sections of code I usually get horribly lost.

Improving my programming skills has been something I’ve meant to do for years, but it’s never really made the list of priorities.  While my PhD was largely concerned with analogue experiments, my current post is entirely numerical model based and it’s something which is only going to become more predominant in the field with time. This might just be the kick up the arse I need to get myself started.

So, with a bit of luck and a following wind, by the end of this year I will be ‘not completely incompetent’ in Javascript, and should have a much better grasp of building stuff from scratch. Javascript’s not the ideal language but it’s a start, and most languages have enough similarities that many of the processes are similar, if not the dialect.  Anyway, you have to start somewhere.

I’ll update on progress as we go.  I’m actually quite looking forward to it.

Anyone else joining in?


About Pete Rowley

Earth Scientist with a background in volcanology and sedimentology. Enjoys a good rant, beer, and games. Dislikes reality TV, crowds, and unreasonable people.
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5 Responses to A New Years resolution

  1. Steve says:

    I have some good books on Java if it helps 😉

  2. Ron Schott says:

    I plan to try to work through the Codecademy Code Year, as well. My background is Basic and Pascal coding in high school and self-taught HTML, PHP, and a smattering of JavaScript and Python since then.

    • geologygeek says:

      Good to hear. The first sessions have been a mixed bag. The ‘Getting Started with Programming’ course was straightforward enough, but some of the supplementary courses have not been so well written I’ve found, with the instructions not always clear. It will be interesting to see how (if) and when these tie in with the main course.

  3. Pingback: Things wot I ‘av learned | geologygeek

  4. Pingback: Things wot I ‘av learned | lithics

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