Rather than washing the concepts of computer programming in a cold bath of abstract and obtuse phrasing, author Mark Myers takes an approach that’s actually newbie friendly. No doubt, you’ve seen videos or read books that claim to be for beginners, but after a few minutes into the material, the instructor is throwing out dozens of ideas and terms you’ve never heard of and glossing over the concepts behind what’s being said. To add to the stress, the lessons often seem never-ending, page after page of dense information thrown at you to unpack. Cue frustration and demotivation.
Having no background in programming or computer science, these books made me feel like I could actually tackle this monster known as web development and do something with it. It was in stark contrast to some of the other books and video courses I had invested in, where I sometimes felt so overwhelmed I questioned if I was capable enough to actually be a programmer.
For example, Chapter 19 introduces you to
loops. After you read about what a
loop is along with its syntax, you log on to the Smarter Way website, click on Chapter 19 and presto: you’re set up with 20 exercises to complete, all dedicated to what you just learned in the book (semi-pro tip: consider using Chrome for the exercises as Firefox and Safari have been particularly buggy for me on some exercises).
It’s very validating (pun possibly intended) when you’re able to read a chapter about validation, the DOM, conditional logic, browser control, and other technical topics and then implement it only a few minutes later. The feedback and payoff system of Myers’ approach may be novel, but it works.
Myers really does understand the problems many code newbies are facing. As he notes:
[…] [M]ost comprehension problems are just retention problems in disguise. If you get lost trying to understand variable scope, it’s because you don’t remember how functions work. Thanks to the interactive exercises on my website, you’ll always understand and remember everything necessary to confidently tackle the next concept.
With over 1000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this book continues to be a newbie classic. No hour-long lessons, no teaching in unnecessarily technical terms, just a dude who understands the plight of newbies and delivered a darn good book for under twenty bucks. Don’t sleep on this one!