Hi Andy - I'm really glad you said that about the false starts, as I have had a fair number of those myself. Took me a while to realise that
1) I don't need to remember everything, just enough to formulate a good google search, and
2) I needed to step outside the "comfort" of the web based tutorials.
I've only just completed a stand alone project, and drew on people in the industry to help get me unstuck a few times where I couldn't see the wood for the trees. Definitely learnt a lot more doing that though than only plugging through the tutorials. Need a new project now, but might try to run the two approaches (project and tutorials) in parallel (?)
That's a good method to get things to stick. I'm kind of doing the same thing. I'm working on solidifying front-end skills by building a website/blog in my free time. I'm planning on building an api that will return my resume so I can send that to recruiters too.
I'd like to learn front end too, I started with html / CSS but really wanted to learn data science skills so parked it and switched to python which I've stuck with since. I've been thinking more recently though it might be useful at some point to have a site as a means to collate/promote (wouldn't go so far as to say "showcase" 😅 ) "stuff" I've learnt/made/coded etc.
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