the Moment it “Clicks”

Tips and tricks to achieve the euphoric feeling of understanding while learning how to code

Daniel Chan
4 min readJul 15, 2022

If you are like me, and have made the difficult decision of changing careers into software engineering, I will personally tell you that learning how to code is no easy feat. I am currently approaching the last phase of the software engineering program at Flatiron and it has been anything but easy. Nevertheless, I have gained invaluable skills that will benefit the career switch. Whether you are in the midst of deciding on enrolling in a coding bootcamp, or learning how to code on your own, here are a few tips and tricks to help you get your “click” moment.

  1. Be comfortable with not understanding
frustrated coder

Learning any new skill is going to be tough. But learning how to code is like learning a new language. Be prepared to not understand the many different concepts which are introduced in the material. As intensive as it may be, realize that it is okay, and be comfortable with it. Learning takes time and patience. As long as you continue to put in the practice and stay consistent with writing code, all the pieces will eventually all fall together.

2. Do more than just reading sample code

As a coder, you WILL refer to other sources of code to learn. Instead of just reading from the source you found, find a way to practice applying it. When I first started learning a concept, I personally found it that I thought I understood a concept while I was reading about it. However, once it came to applying it to a code challenge or project, I suddenly realized I didn’t know as much as I thought. Sometimes code is like that. You will think that a concept isn’t very difficult at all, until it surprises you in a way you have never seen before which really tests your knowledge. To combat this, actually tinker with the code and develop the understanding on what goes on.

3. Talk to yourself (or a rubber duck), or pseudocode when writing code

cute ducky on desk

Familiarize yourself with explaining the steps while writing code. Talking to yourself helps you make sure you know what is going on, and further guides you to figure out what you need to do next. There is a technique for coders called the rubber duck technique. When stuck on an issue, the coder should explain the code line by line to the duck or other inanimate object on the desk. Doing so helps coders to get past what we call coders block. This can also be accomplished by pseudo-coding. Pseudocode is a text-based description of the steps required to complete a problem/algorithm. So if you have trouble talking to yourself, or a rubber duck, feel free to just write down your steps! Either of these is better than to only work through a problem in your head while you are stuck.

4. Understand when you are tired, and take a step back from coding

Trust me, if you are going to listen to anything I’ve written in this blog, this is the one. A tired brain does not do any favors while learning a new skill, especially coding when it is so technical. When I first started out my bootcamp, I found myself staying up late to complete lab materials, only for them to completely blip out the next day. Your brain needs to be alert in order for it to retain any information. That is why, when you are tired, make sure to take a break. You may find that even those 15 minutes of rest can lead you to figure out a problem you spent too much time stuck on.

5. ASK for HELP and HELP others!

Following up on spending too much time being stuck. Give up that pride. You do not want to spend hours being stuck on a piece of code. If you are in a bootcamp, you have instructors or cohort mates you can rely on! In the same way they support you, you should also return the favor. Helping others while learning how to code helps you personally drill down new concepts. More practice is never bad, especially when you will get exposed to different bugs you have never encountered.

6. Mix up the content you are consuming while learning

From class modules, web documentation, blogs, and youtube videos, remember the internet is available for you to use! If you are unable to figure things out through one method of learning, there is a world of content out there for you to reference. Sometimes just hearing or seeing a different example is all you need for things to start registering.

As a coder, you will always be a student because there will always be more to learn. As a student, you will always encounter roadblocks and obstacles in the pursuit of knowledge. I hope that by applying some of these tips and tricks, your coding journey will have less bumps in the road, and that it helps you gain the momentary euphoria after solving each coding problem you run into. Thanks for listening and feel free to share! 😄