Learning To Code

Learning to code is not easy. At least not to me. And unless you’re some kind of half-robot cyborg I imagine learning to code has it’s challenges for everyone. But I think given the correct circumstances way more people have the potential to learn than we realize. Everybody obviously has different styles of learning and I feel like I have dabbled with quite a few.

Previous to attending the Flatiron Bootcamp I worked at a very small web development company. At first I was hired on as just a designer, creating web layouts and various other small design projects. Because the company was so small I was able to take on more of a front-end developer role by teaching myself in my spare time. I used tools like Code School, Team Treehouse, Lynda and a whole bunch of Google. What I liked about some of the online classroom resources was that everything was very straightforward and objective. They more or less gave you the exact steps to complete a particular task. I also liked the freedom of working on my own time and pace. If there was anything I didn’t quite get I would just go over that section again. It offered a certain flexibility that I needed to operate around my work and personal schedule.

Of course there are many disadvantages to learning on your own. As nice as straightforward objective tasks and tests are they don’t really mimic how fluid real web design and development can be. Not every website is going to have the exact same structure or functionality as that one particular example you worked on. And as much as I like the freedom of learning on my own, I reluctantly admit that on some occasions I forgo the idea of self-discipline. You also don’t get the advantage of another person who can answer more specific questions and help work through small things you might get stuck on. I can’t count the amount of hair I’ve pulled out of my head over something as simple as a comma being out of place.

Me weekly.

I can say that I learned the most simply by doing. I was lucky(or unlucky) enough to be in a position where I just had to get the work done for clients. I was in a unique spot at the company where I was really the only one who knew CSS and responsive design. So they relied pretty heavily on me to just figure things out. Again, I often would be pulling out my hair, but once I solved the issue it made it that much easier the next time. Over time it all became second nature.

Now I am a little under two weeks into a coding bootcamp. It’s a lot of material in a short amount of time. I thought this style of learning incorporated all the ways that I had learned previously. It has a certain aspect of completing objective problems, working through more complex real world examples, all while having that huge advantage of an instructor to keep you on pace. While you do lose the flexibility and freedom, you have far less opportunity for those oversights in self-discipline.

So I guess at the end of all this rambling my point is this: if you want to learn to code you may have to try a few different ways to get it to stick. And the more you practice and just do it, the better you get every time. Through my previous experiences things that seemed very difficult at first, now take basically no thinking at all. Jake the Dog from Adventure Time puts it a little more eloquently:

So real Jake. So real.

I keep that thought in the back of my mind as a struggle through this bootcamp and learn new things. It keeps me positive as I work through inevitable challenges of learning to code.