What I Studied Before Applying to Hack Reactor

I’m pretty eager to get started on the pre-coursework for Hack Reactor, but the admissions staff has been a bit delayed in getting that to me. I sent them an email almost 5 days ago, but no response yet on next steps…  I wanted to write down what I’ve studied so far, in preparation for applying to Hack Reactor. Disclaimer: Not all of this was necessarily to prepare for the admissions process itself–a lot of it was just for my own personal learning and knowledge. I was(am!) genuinely interested in learning as much about Javascript as I could absorb at the time. I also learn through repetition, so I thought a first pass would be great.

 

Useful for Hack Reactor

  • Codecademy JavaScript Track – I mostly skimmed through this, it’s pretty basic JS syntax
  • CodeSchool Javascript Track Parts 1-3, I also skimmed the first and second part; the third part was helpful
  • Javascript Koans – I liked this, because I got to work with actual provided code and fix (debug) it to make it work properly and make sure I understand the concept. It only took me an hour or two.
  • All of the Coderbyte easy problems. They took me anywhere from 1 minute to 15 minutes. I also did 2/3 of the medium problems–they weren’t significantly harder than the easy ones. The technical interview didn’t really ask the same types of questions, but it was a good way to practice syntax and thinking critically about a problem. I also looked at how other people solved the problems; it was neat seeing how others approached them (though some people’s approaches were admittedly overly complicated, in my opinion).
  • I went through devdocs.io and read the documentation for arrays, strings, functions, etc. It’s good to understand how everything works, what parameters each function takes in, what you can do with arrays/strings, etc.
  • Reading Eloquent JavaScript chapters 1-6. The chapter on functional programming was important.
  • I read and studied important concepts through JSisSexy, including Javascript Variable Scope and Hoisting ExplainedUnderstand Javascript Closures with EaseUnderstand Callback Functions and Use Them and Understand “This” — Closures and Callbacks are pretty important to understand

Less Directly Useful for Hack Reactor Application, But Educational

  • The rest of Eloquent JavaScript. None of those topics were covered in particular during my interview, but it was a good read!
  • I read JavaScript: The Good Parts – this is a book I would probably read again, as I didn’t understand everything fully the first time. I also wouldn’t recommend it for JavaScript beginners
  • I coded Phase 10 in JavaScript – I didn’t really finish, and I didn’t formally learn JavaScript before making this game. I made it by looking at other people’s code and reading some JQuery tutorials. It was fun, but now that I know much more about JavaScript, I would probably write this game completely differently if I did it again.
  • I went to a Hack Reactor algorithms meetup. It was really fun and I met some cool people, and solved an interesting problem regarding Monte Carlo algorithms. I also got to look around the space a bit too.
  • Studied Regular Expressions: RegEx Crosswords for Practice and Decipher Javascript RegEx in Humanized Form
  • Looked at the underscore.js documentation for funsies

In general, before I wanted to apply to Hack Reactor, I had some basic programming experience in Python, HTML/CSS, PHP, Java, and the teeniest bit of JavaScript and JQuery. The results of self-teaching :) But now I am excited that the months of self-teaching in my free time are over! Hack Reactor and programming full-time ftw, yay!

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