Hack Reactor Pre-Course Work + Learning to Study Again

Pre-Course Work

Recently, Hack Reactor released the work that I have to complete before arriving.

It is no joke.

A little glimpse into what they want completed before December:

  • the typical advanced JavaScript stuff
  • re-implementation of nearly the entire Underscore library
  • a mock-Twitter chat client similar to what was required during admissions but this time with a higher standard
  • lots of recursion
  • regex
  • scopes & closures
  • git
  • engineering etiquette

I lucked out during my Hack Reactor interview because all the questions I got were magically things that I had studied the week before. But right now, it feels like I have several years of catching up to do in less than two months.

This pre-course work is daunting for someone who has only just learned that there is a thing called Terminal on my Mac.

Learning to Study Again

My strategy to tackle this pre-course beast is to break every section down into mini-sections, writing out as many topics as I feel like I need to cover and creating a 'parking lot' to park all questions.

For example, the first section covers advanced JavaScript concepts and starts you off with re-implementing the more basic Underscore methods.

My list of topics and to-dos for this section:

  • while loops
  • arrays
  • objects
  • scopes & closures
  • functions & methods
  • function invocation
  • git

I also keep a separate list that I refer to as a parking lot. In order to keep myself on task, I will put topics and questions in the parking lot to look up later. So far, my parking lot:

  • wtf is bash?
  • what exactly is functional programming?
  • wtf is a DOM?
  • NPM? Bower?? ?!?!

These questions aren't irrelevant, but they were not essential at the moment that I stumbled across them.

I have noticed how easy it is to get distracted when learning how to code. For me, keeping an organized system is the best way to not wander down question trails--these topics easily lead to too many Wikipedia clicks. I remember when I was looking up what jQuery was, I ended up in the Wikipedia article for IDE because jQuery => John Resign => Process.js => Processing => Integrated Development Environment

It is so easy to go down these rabbit holes because there are so many things I don't know. My strategy has so far kept me out of information overflow and exhaustion.