The subtle art of not losing focus as a beginner in tech.
Learning to code is one of the most interesting and fun things to do. From the first “Hello World!” to the other awesome new things you would learn, it is a beautiful love story but one that comes with it’s own ups and downs.
Coding as a newbie requires a whole lot of patience, focus, passion and determination. At some point, it begins to seem very overwhelming and this is where a whole lot begin to opt out but that shouldn’t be the case.
I, as an absolute beginner has had my fair share of this “newbie attack” but i have managed to scale through so far and continue my journey just as in the beginning.
Here are the things I and other newbies have done so far while learning to code and some important tips to get you feeling motivated and ready.
- Believe in yourself: This is an important step in your journey as a programmer.
“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
A lot of people wrongly believe you have to know mathematics before you can excel as a programmer but this has been debunked already. According to Pau Pavón, you do not need to excel at math to learn how to code. A lot of different scary rumors about programming have been thankfully debunked also and you can do this even without having a CS degree. Anyone with the right will and passion can be a programmer. All you need to is to make up your mind to take that step.
2. Stop trying to cram everything you see: So many new programmers try to cram every topic they have come across and then panic when they forget anything from it. Programming doesn’t require you to do this and that is why a lot of awesome communities, documentations and article are made available so you can easily get almost anything you are looking for.
Notable communities and websites you should keep at your beck and call(feel free to add more in the comment sections)
There are many more websites that are ready to help smoothen your journey and you can further google about them.
3. Know what works for you: Everyone have different learning method and by now, should have deciphered what works best for them and I advice they stick to it. There are many mediums to learning how to code which includes Videos, PDF, books, practice-on-the-go etc. Every programmer have one that works for them and it is upon you to discover this. I personally use the practice-on-the-go method which sites like FreeCodecamp, Codecademy, Udacity and many others provide. You learn by practicing which works great for me but then might not give the same impression to others as it has to me.
If you prefer videos, There are many awesome channels on YouTube which you can discover by doing some little google search. There are paper prints for those who prefer that and eBooks for the others who chooses to learn that way. There are many options for everyone.
4. Take Breaks: Breaks are important. You need time to rest the mind, eat and drink enough water and relieve stress. Stress and Overloads prevent effective knowledge acquisition and the age of awareness has a medium article about that which you can find here.
A lot of newbies tend to try to finish everything at a go but most times, the body is not ready for that. A lot of things covered at that moment fail to stick and frustration begins to set. Learn to take breaks (brain-breaks) in between learning.
5. Challenge Yourself; Do it by practicing: One unique thing about programming and learning to code is the fact that you need to practice. Programming is practical oriented in most cases and the most effective way of getting what you have learnt so far to stick is by actually practicing.
How do you practice? I set up a challenge for myself and I try as possible to meet up. You can set up challenges yourself or use sites such as codewars and hackerranks.
What to do when you’re losing focus and determination.
It is a common thing for anyone to go wool-gathering but it is very important to fall back in line as soon as possible. Many thoughts about your capability and the worthiness of what you’re doing begin to come up. Here are some ways you can get back on your feet.
- Admire what people in your field have done, get excited: Sites like codepen.io have gotten me back in track so many times after I visit and see how many awesome pens and project people who have learnt what I am currently learning have published, I get excited and rejuvenated and I get a good sense of motivation to keep going. Things like this can help anyone who is struggling with concentration and lack of self-belief. Other good sites anyone could visit are — Github, StackOverflow, JsFiddle, Plnkr and so on.
- Join the community and engage in meaningful conversations about your field: Twitter, discord, slack and other social media are places where you can meet people in the community who are willing to mentor, help you learn and network with you as you go about your coding journey. It is important but differs with so many people to have people who will constantly motivate you by encouraging you, discussing relevant topics that would boost your coding morale and ready to collaborate with you on topics and projects you or they are working on.
- Join public challenges like the #1ooDayOfCode challenge on twitter: This kind of challenge is designed to make sure you code everyday for 100 days and tweet your progress as you go either encouraging others or for accountability sake. This also indirectly make you form a coding habit, you meet like minded people and broaden your knowledge as well.
- Attend Conferences and Meetups: This is also a very great way of getting back your lost commitment and focus. Meetups are places where like minded individuals convene and discuss about the community, new ideas and solutions and also a means to connect with your peers and friends and enhance your experience. There are many meetups each year in the tech community and you can attend as many as you can.
- Speak to a Mentor: A mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. Speaking to such person will enable you learn about their experience and how they have managed to become who they are today while passing similar experiences as you. It is important to talk to someone who understands better and willing to assist you.
Overall, Coding is a very fun career path and or hobby. There are also very great benefits for becoming one. The average programmer earns around $59,000 to $112,000 per year. A programmer’s life is also very flexible as you can choose to work from home as a freelance, maintain less-than-regular work shifts, as long as the projects you are assigned are completed on time, and so on.
There are so many benefits plus the fact programmer have the most loving and accommodating of all communities in the world. It is a beautiful place to be.