How To Rapidly Progress When Learning To Code

And Use Your Skills To Successfully Freelance

Joyce Akiko
Feb 26, 2016 · 5 min read

You’d think coding would be simple.

Learn a few languages. Get the concepts, the syntax, tie it all together. Type up some code and get your desired effect. Or don’t, and fix it.

It’s rather easy sounding, isn’t it?

I think that’s why so many non-technical people look at an application and ask for a checkbox. Then they get upset when they’re told the checkbox will take two weeks to build.

It’s not just a checkbox, people.

I mean, where do you want the information in the checkbox to go? What do you want to do with it? Are you also going to want a dashboard of the checkbox responses? Because that’ll be another two weeks.

I digress.

Well, if you’ve spent any time trying to learn how to code, then you know that it isn’t easy.

It’s hard. REALLY hard.

That’s why I reached out to Quincy Larson, Founder of Free Code Camp

Free Code Camp is an incredibly thriving community of hundreds of thousands of coders intent on helping nonprofits solve real world problems. And they do it, with great success.

In other words, Quincy knows what’s up with learning to code.

And I wanted to ask him, how does one rapidly progress when learning such a difficult topic?

During our conversation (which you can listen to here), Quincy shared some of his most positive life experiences with me — like being a teacher who lived in China for about 5 years, meeting his wife in grad school, and having a little girl that they’re teaching to speak Mandarin.

He also shared that back when he started learning to code, he didn’t take the best route.

How was that?

He sat at a kitchen table with a stack of books and a bunch of different courses, and proceeded to bang his head against his desk when he wasn’t progressing the way he’d wanted.

And he did this. For months.

All by himself.

He had this vision that the grass was greener on other side. So he jumped from one technology to the next, searching for “The One” that would help him code better. Faster. Easier.

Except he just ended up taking even longer to reach his goals.

He went to coding meetups and tech talks to see what others had to say about coding. To see what he could learn.

And what did he learn?

Probably the same thing you already know.

Many people who teach code don’t give actionable advice. They don’t tell you exactly what to do to succeed in coding.

That’s why so many people get started with learning to code by banging their heads against the desk.

Well not anymore, because Quincy doesn’t want you to go through the same difficulties he did.

That’s why Quincy created Free Code Camp. He wants to make sure no one learned to code like he did.

Many people who teach code don’t give actionable advice. They don’t tell you exactly what to do to succeed in coding.

That’s why so many people get started with learning to code by banging their heads against the desk.

During our conversation, Quincy shared two of the most important aspects when learning to code.

Want to hear them?

Do these two things and you’ll find that you’ll learn code faster and with more ease.

#1. Code every single day.

Like any routine or regimen, you want to be consistent.

This means taking time out of each day to code, helping you gain the experience you need to continue to progress, or to progress at a faster rate.

What is the other thing you need to do when learning to code?

#2. Spend as much time as possible with other coders.

By working around other coders, you feel accountable to each other. This creates a network effect.

You stay motivated to progress, and if you get stuck, you can reach out to someone else close to you, someone who understands your struggles, for much-needed help.

One option for doing this is to go to in-person events that are coding based. You can find them on sites like Meetup.com or Eventbrite. Or you can check out your local Free Code Camp chapter.

These events allow you to meet other coders at a local place and work together. They give you people you can demo your projects to, and make deep meaningful connections that ensure greater success.

Now, what if you want to freelance with your coding skills?

It helps to have certain qualities. Qualities that make becoming a freelancing coder almost second nature.

Quincy reminds us that, if you don’t have the coding skills yet, you can acquire them slowly and steadily. Persistence is key.

You also need sales skills.

Take Bill Gates, for instance. He is an incredible coder, but an even better salesperson.

Did you know that he sold Basic before it even existed?

That’s right. He had to create it afterwards.

That’s how you want to be when it comes to sales. You want to be able to convince others that your work is so spectacular that they want it without even seeing it.

Admittedly, it helps to have an established reputation beforehand, but you get the idea.

In the end, freelancing isn’t just about coding. It’s about your ability to get others to see value in what you create.

In the end, freelancing isn’t just about coding. It’s about your ability to get others to see value in what you create.

So what did we learn today? Let’s recap.

The best way to rapidly progress your journey of learning to code is to:

  1. Code every day.
  2. Spend as much time as possible with other coders.

And the next time you get stuck, remember: Anybody can learn anything. As long as you’re persistent and consistent.

When you have these two things, you have what it takes to become a great coder. The rest will come.


Joyce helps driven people who ache for freedom and flexibility by giving them accessible education on how to build profitable freelance businesses so they can work from anywhere, travel the world, and make more money doing meaningful work that they love.

Check out her 3-week course, Freelance On The Side, and enroll today for free.

You can also get a copy of her book, Freelance Your Way to Freedom: The No-Fluff Blueprint to Being Your Own Boss, Earning More Money, and Doing What You Love because if a book has a title that long, it must be good.

Joyce has been featured in Lifehacker, Skillcrush, MatterMark Daily and dozens of other sites, and her courses and articles have helped thousands of people across more than 80 countries in the last year alone.

Joyce Akiko

Written by

I help people build successful, profitable freelancing businesses so they can be their own boss and experience freedom and flexibility every day.

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