My Approach to the #100DaysOfCode Challenge: Remembering the Human Side of Coding
The important thing is focusing on building a positive coding habit. Whatever that means for you.
100 Days of Code is a challenge that’s part of the “100 Days of X” Self Improvement Project created by Alexander Kallaway. The idea behind these challenges is to build a positive habit through repetition and encouragement.
The “100 Days of” challenges are a fun and powerful way to build habits because you publicly commit to them and check in with a community each day via a hashtag. The community cheers you on and keeps you motivated throughout the 100 days.
So far, I’ve done two rounds of the 100 Days of Code challenge. One when I was completing the front-end Techdegree and one after. It was a great way to make my coursework a priority and something I did every day instead of something I needed to do every day.
The official rules of the challenge are:
• Code minimum an hour every day for the next 100 days.
• Tweet your progress every day with the #100DaysOfCode hashtag.
However, I choose to see it as a flexible and customizable challenge. “Code for an hour a day” can include anything you want, and you can choose to share your progress or just keep a personal journal. No one is going to show up at your door to yell at you if you don’t follow the rules to the letter.
The rules are just guidelines to get you started, and the important thing is focusing on building a positive coding habit. Whatever that means for you.
I think as developers we work with logic so much we tend to take rules literally. It’s good for us to remember the human/emotional part of coding, too.
Taking breaks is important and doing so doesn’t mean you failed. There aren’t many people out there who can put aside everything for an entire 100 days and code every day without interruptions.
I did the 100 Days of Code challenge because it kept me from making excuses like “I’m too tired” or “there’s so much unwatched material on my Netflix account right now.”
When I felt like I had someone expecting me to “check in,” I was more likely to make time for learning instead of letting procrastination get the best of me.
I also loved having a way to look back at my progress when my impostor syndrome was raging. There are going to be times when you’re frustrated and just not getting something and it can bring you down.
Having a way to go back and see how far you came from when you started is a great way to stay confident and fight that inevitable frustration we all face once in a while.
What worked for me was to create a daily reminder in Google Calendar that poked me at the end of each day to tweet my progress. And I kept a little template in Google Keep that reminded me of what day I was on.
This challenge helped me start to overcome my visibility issues, too. Growing up female in the Midwestern part of the United States, I was taught not to be too loud or to brag too much.
That sticks with me as an adult, and being a naturally shy person I really need to work to put myself and my work out there to be seen. I’d much rather hide behind my computer screen, and tweeting what I was doing every day helped me be visible in a safe and supportive way.
Because the 100 Days of Code community is so welcoming and helpful, I recommend committing to the challenge publicly and tracking your progress where others can see it.
But if you’re shy like me and you’re not ready for the spotlight, that’s cool too. You can track your progress in a notebook, on a private Trello board, in a spreadsheet, or in your favorite note-taking app.
Maybe you do one round on your own and if you find it helpful you do a second round and step it up a bit and start tweeting your progress next time.
The 100 Days of Code challenge is just one of the many ways we can push ourselves a little bit to be better than we were yesterday. It’s going to mean something different for every one of us and that’s great. So if you miss a day, it’s okay! Just pick up what you were working on the next day and carry on.