Molly Elizabeth at Udemy

Last week Molly Elizabeth of Udemy contacted me to ask if I would look over a new, free HTML5 guide recently posted on the Udemy blog by Mark Lassoff.

I’ve been mighty busy with my two sons, Aiden, 2.5 years old, and Joshua, just 8 months and I failed to respond. But Molly would not be deterred. She emailed me three times.

Good for you, Molly! I love that kind of persistence from anyone who is not a bill collector.

Udemy, for those who don’t know, is an online learning site replete with courses of all kinds, including a wide offering of coding courses. The link she sent me above lands on a really basic HTML guide for the rawest of beginners. It is essentially just a teaser for the paid course, but it does offer a starting point and is worth a look for total newbies. I liked that he included a bit about displaying media because newbies always seem to want to embed audio or video on day one.

So I want to thank Molly for pulling my coat to that and for inspiring me to take a fresh look at the entire course catalogue at Udemy. The number of free courses at Udemy is impressive. Below are some I intend to check out:

Thanks, Molly.

Web Tutorials

You can learn just about anything about Web development online for free.

For learning basic HTML, CSS and JavaScript, start at Codecademy. For me it was time well spent.

Other helpful general knowledge sites include:

Further Reading:


A decent place to start learning basic JavaScript for free is Codecademy. I also recommend the MDN.

Smashing Magazine, one of my favorite places to learn, has a helpful JavaScript Essentials page.

People rightfully rave about Douglas Crockford.

I wouldn’t stop there, however.

You’ll need to spend three to six hours a day over the course of several months and years to be serious about learning JavaScript. And even then, as you continue to learn, you’ll be amazed at what you didn’t know or what you misunderstood.

You’ll never stop learning if you’re really serious.

I have learned just enough to know that I need to refine my process. I still waste too much time being stuck.

I’m sure I could use better tools (I use Komodo Edit) but for now it isn’t Komodo that is holding me back, it’s my extreme reluctance to ask for help.

Getting stuck for a long time on one thing may be more honorable than always crying for help, but honestly, sometimes you just need a hand.

Fortunately, the JS community tends to be super helpful.  Who knows why? Maybe because they are cocky, or like to show off; maybe they have a crush on you. Or maybe they just want to pay it forward. The bottom line for me is this: as long as I have made my best attempt, I shouldn’t be ashamed to seek help.

Of course, there’s a flip side to seeking help. If you annoy your best resources by asking remedial things over and over or asking for help before making any attempt at all, then you’ll become toxic and annoying.

I hope to get cocky about code someday. I really do — at least just a little bit. My favorite sushi chefs tend to be conceited and it comes through in their work. A little swagger goes a long way.

I hope one day I’ll feel I don’t have time to waste being nice to plebeian supplicants pestering me with petty problems. I’ll answer them peremptorily with a riddle or a rebuke because I have more advanced students to help, more serious people to support.  They’ll quickly return to their keyboards, inspired and grateful.

Maybe by 2020 I’ll be a surly genius making speeches on the mountaintop but for now I’m just a wide-eyed pilgrim serving tea at base camp.