3 Major Keys to Forever Sucking at Coding

Even though I’m fresh off the newbie boat people who are interested in programming think enough about me to ask about how I learned how to code or “is coding hard?” These questions will never go away and nor do I want them to. They’re totally legitimate questions which demand anyone who has stuck with learning how to program long enough for those weird symbols and letters to actually make sense.

If there’s one thing I want to get across, even if you decide to stop reading at this point, it is saying learning how to program is a big misnomer. I repeat, LEARNING HOW TO PROGRAM ISN’T EASY! Caps just show so much passion don’t they?

Why do I feel this way? Because coding requires most people to reprogram the way they look at problems. Example, a simple task like brushing your teeth isn’t something you think about in steps. Yet, with programming, simply getting up and brushing your teeth becomes…

function brushTeeth(toothBrush = null, toothPaste = null) {
if (toothBrush === null && toothPaste === null) {
return "You need to go to the store!";
} else if ( toothBrush === null || toothPaste === null ) {
return "This is like having peanut butter with no jelly!";
} else {
return "Yay! You can brush your teeth!";
}
}

I’m pretty sure your brain is very confused right now, but believer it or not, you can actually use the function above in a program and it’ll actually do something.

But clearly, we can see the hurdle of just knowing what some code is doing can be difficult and, at times, quite intimidating. Yet, we haven’t even gotten to actually writing the code and testing it!

However, with some will there’s a way! Coding may be tough, but it does get easier with time but in order to make sure you don’t forever suck at it (because you will suck at it) you have to make sure you take heed to my 3 major keys (DJ Khaled voice) to forever sucking at code…


1. Don’t Commit the Time

If you want to get better at programming you have to commit the time to it. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it!

Programming is a tough skill to pick up but the pot at the end of the rainbow it provides is well worth your time. It’s going to be easy to hit your first bump and give up. You wouldn’t be the first and won’t be the last. However, overcoming your first hurdle is key to moving forward because the bumps don’t stop, they just get bigger and bigger.

A major part of programming is accepting failure and learning how to overcome it. You have to keep pushing through your hurdles when you don’t think you can. Tough problems come a dime a dozen in programming and the more time you commit to learning how to solve those problems the easier those problems will become to solve.

2. Copying and Pasting Code

…of a copy, of a copy, of a copy…

People copy code. It happens. I’m not going to say it doesn’t happen. I’ve even found myself doing it a few times. I can’t say it’s a best practice but it’s a way more common practice than people care to admit to.

When you’re starting to learn to program copying code is probably going to be one of the worst ways to learn, if not, the worst way to learn. Coding is more about context than it is about content.

In the beginning, you will find a lot of tutorials holding your hand and trying to hide you from all the monsters secretly hiding around the corner, but just know, someday you will have to encounter those monsters. From dependencies to compatibility issues and let’s not forget versioning. They will all rear their ugly head out.

When you’re reading code always understand there are a lot of things going on around it than what your eyes are telling you. If you copy code into an app and something breaks you’re going to be in for more of a headache than you bargained for. Don’t just learn the code, understand there’s an environment the code is surrounded by which makes it work the way it’s supposed to.

3. Don’t Ask Questions

I don’t know how much I have to reiterate the importance of asking questions. No matter how stupid they may be.

I’m pretty sure you don’t want to keep sucking right? Well, if you can’t figure it out on your own than chances are you need to find out from someone who either A.) has the experience or B.) has a fresh perspective on the problem you’re dealing with. Truthfully, option A is all you need, and you can find plenty of experienced people around the net.

Pride and ego are a terrible thing to have when you’re learning to code. Not only does it hinder you from learning, but it also keeps people from wanting to help you.

Programming is one of the most intellectually humbling things I’ve ever had to learn. Nobody comes out the womb knowing how to program. A natural propensity to be curious has more to do with people advancing their knowledge of programming than it magically making sense to them.


Are there any other major keys to perpetually being terrible at code? I’m sure there are and I would love to hear what you guys think below.