I’ve picked this one. Pick anything.

Day 18 of Learning How to Code on Free Code Camp

Thoughts on Starting Something as a Complete Novice

Learning English Before Learning How to Code

I am a 24 year-old Korean guy who couldn’t speak a word of English 4 years ago.

Now, I speak fluently with confidence, and write my blog daily ‘in English’ with competence.

I am proud that I’ve achieved this feat without studying abroad and breaking my parents’ bank, which a lot of my Korean fellow friends do and will do.

I am proud because this is something that I’ve picked and chosen to start, and taught myself, motivated myself, improved myself, over the long haul, until I achieve the goal that I set, for the first time in my life.

But, this post is not about this “humble” brag of mine.

This is about taking the lessons learned through my English learning and running with them, in order to successfully learn how to code and get good at it, which is my new learning challenge.

The important mindsets or lessons were learned through the long-term process of getting after one thing with patience in the face of the drudgery work, which I didn’t have when first starting out on my English-learning journey.

I once came across a quote like this:

“If you can master one thing, you can master anything, since you know the process of it all.”

As a learner of English as a second language, I don’t know about mastering this thing, but I think I deserve to say ‘Yeah, I’ve done it!’.

And, I understand the quote above.

Also, I am sure the teachings from the process of learning a new language will be carried over 1,000% to any learning projects I will take on later.

I feel empathy for this guy in the picture.

(I’ve taken the new learning challenge: Learning to code and program.)

By the way, I wish I had known the stuff that I know now when I decided to study intensely the international language, called English.

I didn’t know anything.

So, I basically dumped out the most precious resource, aka time, on the dumb shit.

I researched to death on the things that didn’t really matter, starting out.

I worried about the things that would take care of themselves in the later steps.

I wrote off some of the important stuff that could’ve saved my ass and shortened my learning curve by miles. And I picked it up way way later.

I regret some of the stuff.

So, I don’t want to make the same mistakes.

Below are the mindsets or tenets that I am reminding myself in order not to waste time on dumb shit, which is really easy or even inevitable in many ways as a complete novice.

Researching is another big project, if you go deep.


I didn’t research to death this time around. I just googled which book to start with. Some minutes into it, I got to know there are such things like free online courses and bootcamps. It sounded legit and awesome. So, I picked one among many: Free Code Camp.

I don’t know if it’s the right way to start this way or not.

But, the thing is that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to start right when embarking on a new and unknown journey, since we have no background knowledge as beginners.

Thus, it’s important not to waste time and energy on finding good initial material to study with at first by researching minimally.(If you had a friend whose expertise is what you want to learn, you are lucky. Ask your friend. But, the only smart friend that I have is just Google. So, I did that.)

Everything starts sucky, and gets better later.


the next thing that I did is ‘start crappy as I am, and adjust as I gain some basic knowledge’.

I started.

I started to learn the real shit in a very inefficient way, which is OK.

Below are the quotes that I want to tattoo all over my body.

“Start now, and adjust later.”
“Start impatiently, and keep on going patiently.”

But, for many people, it’s the other way around. Right?

They start very patiently by researching thoroughly, and quit very impatiently.

Don’t be one of them and Be the anomaly.

Boring but worth it.


I am just trying to focus on gaining some basic vocabulary of this art. Not anything else. And I don’t worry about anything else. Just building up the basic vocab is my focus.

I don’t want to be worried sick like I did with English about how slow I am when I just get started.

It should be slow, because I need to plow through this labyrinth of jargons and slangs in the coding world.

All I am doing these days with studying code is looking up the coding slangs, jargons, difficult words.

It’s such a slow and boring drudgery.

Sometimes, I don’t know a few words in the definition of the word that I was looking up. To understand one term, I have to go through multiple definition searchings.

But, Seth Godin says…

“Quitting something when the going get tough is the loser’s game.”

So, I keep on doing.

And, from my previous experience of going zero to something, I know when I get these smarty terms for beginners down, the momentum will pick up.

I know I will be able to do some further and advanced research on things, and adjust or improve my learning strategy later, since I am gonna be literate in the field, with all the words that used to be fancy and hard, under my repertoire.

As of today, it’s been 18 days of studying programming without skipping a day. I didn’t know a thing before this day streak. I feel I know some now.

I am getting warmed up!

“I am saying to myself this…(You may want to say to yourself this as well.)

Research minimally, stop the preparation, and actually start.
Start sucky as you are right now.
And adjust later.
Learn the bare-bones fundamentals and basics, especially the vocabulary that is used in the field and you don’t know.
Look up the words.
It’s boring. But, you have to do it.
And, it’s going to be worth it, after you’ve done it.
When you know some, adjust and improve.
Lastly, keep going”

[Follow me on Twitter. I post the photo of my day streak record to hold myself accountable. You may want to do the same.]

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[If you are a beginner, and don’t know how to study, check out freecodecamp.com. I think it’s cool.]