Failing at Free Code Camp

As you may have guessed, this post is not another success story like the one we usually read.

In these stories, we read how different types of people (young people who had never worked, people with frustrating jobs and low wages, people with solid careers and good income levels or wages that wanted a fresh start), after a few months of starting to learning to program on platforms such as Free Code Camp, Coursera, Udacity, etc. achieved “the dream” of the first job in the tech industry.

Housewives, lawyers, truck drivers, former poker stars, managed to become web developers. Many of them, even acknowledging that they had no prior knowledge.

Those stories, which I believe are true, inspire us. Let us believe that what we are doing, the path we undertake is not in vain. And that somewhere along the way, we will reach our first goal: our first job as a developer.

But this story is not one of them, I must say with sadness. Because I’m failing FCC.

I know. It sounds very hard. But this is what is happening to me. I clarify that I am writing “I am failing” and not “I failed” since I refuse to give it as final.

I’m failing. I am in that process and, at least until now, I have not been able to reverse it or even to stop it.

Like all problems, it is necessary to accept it in order to start solving it. But first, I will give you some information about me so that everything is more understandable.

I’m 36 years old. I work since I was 19, after finishing high school. I had some attempts to continue studying, but different problems made them not thrive. So I continued to work.

Today I have a wife, two daughters, 5 and 11 years old. A very frustrating work of ten hours a day with a “not so bad salary”.

My wife has a grocery where she works very intensely.

In 2015 I started to study a three-year career related to computers and data networks. It is more related to systems management. I approved the first two years. I have only the last year left.

I must admit that it has not been easy to work 10 hours from 8 am to 6 pm. And then from 6:30 pm until 10 pm attend classes.

Computers have always been my passion. From childhood.

I discovered the web development almost by chance, through the asignatures “Programming I and II”. And I loved it.

So, after finishing the second year of my career, I decided to investigate a little about the different options. I started at Code Academy and then I discovered Free Code Camp.

Every night, after my daughters went to bed, and helping my wife close her store near midnight, I sat in front of the pc to follow FCC lessons until almost 2 am. I wake up at 7am in the summer, and at 6am when my daughters go to school. So you will imagine the tiredness that I began to feel quickly.

I advanced with some speed to the first challenge: the tribute page.

It took me some nights but I managed to finish it.

Then came the personal portfolio. And everything stopped there.

The fatigue of the few hours of sleep, the long working days, added to the responsibilities of the home (quality time with my daughters, washing, cooking, taking them to their sports, helping my wife) have become real “obstacles” to progress in my learning.

Sometimes it’s not just a matter of time. It is also the impossibility of achieving the appropriate “environment” for learning and practicing. I mean that “bubble” of silence, quiet and peace where I can focus and focus on my ideas, thoughts and problems proposed by FCC.

Coding is an activity that requires concentration. Especially when you are learning. The ideas are not clear, and you know what you want to achieve, but you have no idea how or through which tool.

So, it’s being about three weeks ago I can not sit down and work at FCC. In fact, I hardly touch a computer at home.

So that is the description of the process in which I am involved. And that I still can not reverse.

What is the end of this story?

I do not know yet. I hope it will be a happy one.

However, there is something I want to tell you who have read this far:

1 — FCC does work
I attest that FCC really teachs you. If you keep a steady pace, you learn.

2 — FCC does not have all the answers
Despite following each lesson, you will inevitably have to turn to Google and look for information and examples on other sites.

3 — Time
If you do not have the time or you can not devote quality time daily to learn and practice, do not even try it.

Learning to program is similar to learning to play a guitar. At first it is slow, maybe even boring. You want to play songs. Your mind knows the song, but you do not know how to play it. Instead you end up doing exercises for your fingers, practicing postures and chords. It takes time to play a simple song.

Coding is the same. At first, you know how the page should look, where each element should be. But you have no idea what html or css element to use. You go through pages looking for examples and information. Of course, in doing all this, you learn. And with the passage of time. You start writing code by your own means.

Success requires almost exclusively of time. No matter how smart you are or if you know a lot, little or nothing at the beginning.

If you are very smart or have previous knowledge, you may need less time. But you should definitely devote quality time to learning.

If you are not brilliant, or have no knowledge, surely you should dedicate more time. But if you are constant you will eventually achieve the same level as the smart guy or the guy that had previous knowledge.

Time. Time is the key.

So that’s my advice. If you are going to start the journey to become a developer, make sure you can achieve these two things:

* Dedicate quality time to learn and practice every day
* Be perseverant

If you can achieve those two things, it does not matter if you are very intelligent or not, if you have previous knowledge or not. You will succeed.