Part 1 of 2: What to Study to Get from Zero to Hack Reactor Pre-Course Curriculum

This blog post is taken from our email series. You can stay informed and sign up for the full series (which includes Part 2 of what to study) by entering your email address and hitting STAY INFORMED in the field at the top right of this page.

"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 is a bewildering number of resources from which to learn. 

In this two-part email series, we'll outline a set of resources that take you from zero to competent, full-stack web engineer, ready for your first job, and with a portfolio full of working code to prove it.

(This email takes you from zero to the point where our pre-course curriculum picks up.  If you've already done the below, or an equivalent body of work, wait for the next email -- 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.

HTML & CSS 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:

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.

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.

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 make use of it.  Using jQuery, you'll find it very easy to build interactive websites.

Next week: In "What to Study- Part Two," we'll move away from books and tutorials, and start building our own projects.  Stay tuned!  As always, you can respond to this email to reach me.

Douglas Calhoun"

More Articles for Applicants Getting Up to Speed:

No CS Degree? No problem. Steps to Prepare for Your Code Interview

Are Programming Bootcamps Worth the Cost?

Learn JavaScript If It's the Only Thing You Do

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