Foundations

How This Course Will Work

Foundations Course

Introduction

The Odin Project is an open-source community dedicated to providing the best information sources to take you from zero to a full-stack developer.

In this unit, we’ll learn about how the web works and start thinking about the basics of computer and web programming.

Each of the following sections and lessons covers essential baseline knowledge. Even if you have no intention of becoming a web developer, this material should help you gain a useful understanding of the moving parts involved in creating and serving content on the web.

We will start by getting familiar with the internet and your own computer. Next, we’ll set up a development environment and learn about Git and GitHub. Then, we’ll go over the basics of front-end technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript before stepping into the back end with a brief foray that covers the basic concepts of back-end technologies.

By the end of this unit, you should not only understand how the web works but also be able to identify and differentiate between all the technologies that you will use to build your own web applications. You will be able to build a basic webpage, style it, and add minor elements of interactivity while working comfortably from the command line.

This section intentionally covers a very broad range of topics. It’s silly to go diving straight into server-side programming without having a context for what it is and why it’s useful (and why you should learn it!).

How it works

This curriculum works by aggregating the best content from across the internet to teach a specific topic. In each lesson, we’ll introduce the topic and try to provide some useful context before pointing you to external resources made by others.

Most lessons will contain questions that you should be able to answer before moving on. Some lessons will include exercises for you to complete. In addition, we provide several projects throughout the curriculum to help you grow your understanding by actually building things.

Try not to think of The Odin Project, or programming, as a class in school. It’s not material you learn all at once to take a test, and then pass or fail. You can think of it as a snowball. You, yourself, are a snowball. You’re rolling down a hill full of snow; the further you roll, the more snow will stick to you. Sure, snow will also fall off you, and you’ll forget things often, but that’s just part of the process. Don’t worry if you reach a project and feel like you haven’t retained or memorized anything. That’s natural and happens to everyone. The information will come back to you as you start solving your problems one at a time, relying on Google and the Odin Community for help.

A note about tools

We often get questions about why this course does not cover a language or a tool.

The truth is that once you complete this curriculum, you will not need a course like this or any sort of “tutorial”. The Odin Project’s goal is not to teach you any standalone skills and it is not a tutorial. The main idea is to teach you the why and change the way you think.

One of the most difficult parts about this course is adopting the right mindset. An even bigger challenge is learning the core ideas of programming. It isn’t just about coding, it is about problem-solving, asking the right questions, and doing enough research. Getting into a position where you are comfortable with the skills will mean that you will also be comfortable at expanding your skill-set. Once you have a solid base, it will be simpler to expand upon it. This is exactly what The Odin Project is about: developing these skills.

After completing the course you will be in a position where you can simply jump straight into the documentation for anything you are trying to learn. Reading the documentation is the best way to learn any tooling. But it takes skill to master. Many people feel intimidated by the technical jargon, which is understandable. People who write documentations usually assume a background in programming. This is exactly why we give you plenty of material to read on your own.

The skills you will gain from completing The Odin Project will be the foundation that you will be building upon for years and decades to come. If you come out of the course thinking that you need another course like this one to learn something like Python, then you either don’t believe in yourself or you haven’t taken away the important ideas that are covered in this course.

The skills you learn here are transferable to various contexts. Once you know the idea and that it is possible to do something, actually finding out how to do that thing becomes significantly easier and is simply a Google search away most of the times.

A note about human language

The Odin Project attracts people from all over the world who aspire to learn how to become developers. Please be aware that this curriculum is written in English and maintained by English speakers who are not able or expected to translate it for you. As you develop into a programmer, you will find that the world you are entering into is firmly rooted in the English language. This means that the syntax of your programming language, the documentation that teaches you how to use it, and the majority of the people in the community are all expecting to communicate with you in English.

If you are a non-English speaker, or English is not a primary language for you, this fact is not meant to discourage you, but to prepare you.

As another part of this preparation, we highly recommend spending extra time on topics and terms that you do not understand right away. We also encourage you to seek out additional resources that teach about these topics in your own native language so you can understand them more fully.

In addition to this, you might also consider using a translation dictionary in your own language alongside our curriculum so you can readily reference it as you go. We do not have any recommendations on these since there are such a wide variety of languages spoken throughout the world, finding one may perhaps be a good first step in learning how to find useful tools online by searching. This is a skill you will utilize and improve as you progress in your learning to be a developer.

What comes next

Once you’ve completed this course, you should feel comfortable with the building blocks of web programming but itching to dig deeper. Though we spend a fair bit of time digging into each of the major topics in this course, it’s really just a taste of what comes next (and all the cool stuff you can do with it).

The last lesson of this course will give you an opportunity to choose between a Full Stack JavaScript and Full Stack Rails path, both designed to further develop the foundation established in this course. Each path will focus on taking these raw building blocks and honing them into a highly functional skillset.

The Odin Project is maintained by professionals. We have chosen some of the best resources available and curated a guide on how to go through them. If there are no good resources, we write our own. With that said, know that everything in the curriculum is intentionally included and vital for you to become a successful programmer.

As you move forward in the curriculum, each portion is built on everything that came before it, so skipping things will create pockets of non-understanding in your knowledge that start to affect your ability to solve problems and understand the task at hand.

Additional resources are the only thing that is considered optional unless explicitly stated. These are here in case you feel like you need or want to dive deeper into a topic to get a better understanding.

DO NOT SKIP ANYTHING!

Assignment

  1. Learn more about The Odin Project by reading its about page.
  2. Check out the frequently asked questions section.

Additional resources

This section contains helpful links to related content. It isn’t required, so consider it supplemental.

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