Learning new things can be hard and that’s ok

A few weeks back I was talking to someone who was told by another new developer that they were finding learning CSS and JavaScript easy. This is ok, but what upset me the most was how this person felt after hearing this.

Learning something new is not always easy. Particularly learning 2 new programming languages at the same time. What upset me the most about this was that the person said they felt rubbish for not feeling the same way as this other new developer did. It upset me that they now felt all the hard work they were putting into learning these languages was not enough.

So I am asking you now, please do not ever tell someone who is learning something new that what they’re learning is easy. Learning something completely new, particularly a new programming language, is not easy. Back last year I tried to teach my 24 year-old housemate to ride a bike. Riding a bike is easy for me as I do it on a daily basis, but for her it was really difficult. It would not be helpful me telling her that riding a bike was easy because it really wasn’t for her.

Regardless of what experience you have with something, saying you found something easy can make someone feel extremely bad about the efforts they are putting in. What one person finds easy someone else may not, and that is ok. Everyone learns in different styles and at different paces.

We should be celebrating that someone is dedicating hours, possibly outside of their work hours, to learning a new skill.