Learn to Code: Setting Your Goals and the Golden Circle Rule

In this series of stories we will be explaining some of the Web Development principles and techniques that our team of experts and mentors has found to work particularly well for those, who are just entering the fascinating world of coding. As professional developers with 7+ years of experience in multiple stacks including Java, Ruby, Node.js, and Python we’ve all had to go through the long and trying process of learning how to code, and we hope that these articles will help your journey into tech be as smooth and efficient as possible.

Golden Circle Applied to Code

Throughout this Learn to Code series and beyond we will apply the golden circle theory. This approach, if you really apply yourself to it, can be a great way to always have an eye on your goal, which can sometimes be difficult, considering how demanding and frustrating learning to code can (sometimes!) be.

In this article we will look at the :

  • Why — your purpose
  • How — your process
  • What — your results

Answering these questions can be paramount on your path to learning code, since you will have a better understanding of which technologies you should focus on according to your needs.

If you look at the Golden Circle graph below, imagine that we stand at the center of the circle and work our way outwards.

The Golden Circle

Getting Started

You are at the start of your coding adventure, but there is a massive amount of information out there. So what to do? If you are looking to launch your own project, or even a business, you probably want to be able to put together a Full stack application.

Full stack basically means that you know a stack of technologies, from back-end to front-end, and can develop a functioning web application by yourself. This approach is the backbone of our Full Stack Web Development Bootcamp at Elium and of other comprehensive coding courses out there. But let’s take things one step at a time.

If you want to be able to put together a web app by yourself, the next question is: how do you learn what you need to learn to put together a web application according to your specific needs as an entrepreneur, developer, tech manager, etc.?

The Why Mindset

In order to start learning the right way (and the right things), you will need to adopt a certain mindset to be effective in your learning. We often get people asking us things like: “What language should I learn to make money fast?” or “How can I learn programming in 3 months?”

These questions are missing the point. They are an attempt to short-circuit the process of learning code, but the truth is that with that mindset you are more likely to get burned by that short-circuit than succeed. To gain critical skills or build something, with coding as with everything else, you need to start asking the right questions before investing your time into learning programming.

There’s really only one question you should ask yourself when deciding to learn how to code, and that is:

Why do I want to learn coding?

This may seem trivial but it is powerful. If you understand truly why you are doing something, you are more likely to be successful because you are driven towards achieving your goal.

If you want even better results, you’ve got to dig deep with your answer. Try using what we dubbed the Why technique. Ask yourself: Why [do I want to learn how to code]?, until your answers boil down to your real feelings. For an example of this, see our developer’s answer on Quora.

You are probably not used to questioning such a universally positive drive as the desire to learn. Learning is perceived as something beneficial in and of itself, but trust us on this — learning without a clear goal and a motivation quickly becomes a chore and rarely leads to tangible results. The moment you find real reasons to learn code, you will discover things about yourself you haven’t even thought of before. It is an extremely powerful technique which you can also use to find meaning in many other areas of life.

Next Step: Turning Why into How

If you’ve answered the why question for yourself, you are most likely done with the hardest part, so cheer up!

In the next article, we will dive deeper into the web technologies market. Because now that you know why you’re learning, to turn the Why into a How, in other words, to find the right framework for your learning should be much easier. And once you understand what’s out there, all that’s left is to actually start doing. But worry not, we help with that too!


Learn to Code is a series produced by Elium Academy that aims to equip you with the knowledge, strategies, and resources to help you begin your journey into programming.

By liking and sharing this post, you can help others begin their coding journey.


Originally published at blog.elium.academy on November 17, 2016.

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