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Preparing a Portfolio for Your First Computer Programming Job

Once upon a time we lived in a world where information was scarce. But with the rise of the Internet, the opposite has become true. One of the biggest problems a beginning programmer will face the bewildering number of resources from which to learn. In this two-part blog series, we'll outline a set of resources that take you from zero to competent, full-stack web engineer, ready for your first computer programming job, and with a portfolio full of working code to prove it.

(This blog takes you from zero to the point where Hack Reactor's development bootcamp pre-course curriculum picks up.  If you've already done the below, or an equivalent body of work, wait for the next blog -- and apply now!)

Text Editor:

The code you write ultimately ends up as simple text files, stored on your computer.  You'll need a special text editor, designed for code, to interact with them.  We recommend Sublime, which works on all operating systems and is free to start.

- http://sublimetext.com

HTML & CSS:

These two form the basis for any web application. Once you know them, you'll be able to create simple websites that you can view in your browser. Luckily they are pretty straightforward to learn, without many moving parts. Even if you already have some familiarity with the basics, the following book will give you a good start-to-finish overview and reference:

- http://htmlandcssbook.com

JavaSript:

JavaScript allows you to make your websites respond to user input and change over time.  You'll learn it in two steps: First, the syntax -- the types of commands you can issue, and the exact sequences of characters that the computer can read and understand -- and second, the manner of thought that you use to solve problems using Javascript (or any language).  We recommend Codecademy for the first, and Eloquent Javascript for the second.

- http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/javascript

- http://eloquentjavascript.net/

Dev Tools:

Chrome has special tools that allow you to run JavaScript code and debug your application.  Learning these tools will accelerate the path of your learning, and allow you to get yourself unstuck much quicker.

- http://discover-devtools.codeschool.com

jQUERY

jQuery is a library of useful JavaScript code that makes it easy to work with your HTML & CSS on the client side.  It's very useful --  about half of all websites use the jQuery library. Using jQuery, you'll find it very simple to build interactive websites.

- http://try.jquery.com

- http://learn.jquery.com

In "What to Study - Part Two," we'll move away from books and tutorials, and start building our own projects.  Stay tuned!

- Douglas Calhoun, Doug@HackReactor.com