6 Mistakes I Made When Learning to Code

Learn From My Mistakes and Celebrate as You Will Avoid Them in the Future

Sanjay Priyadarshi
Mar 2 · 7 min read
Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

Coding is tough and so are you.

You made mistakes in the past and you will make some mistakes in the future. You are not a born genius. When you say this to your mind great things happen. You start looking for mistakes made by others.

You learn from the mistakes of others and grow.

When I started learning to code 5 years ago. At that time I did not look for a mentor. I told myself that I can figure everything out on my own. After so many years, I realized that this was a mistake on my part.

Avoiding these mistakes can save you a lot of time and energy. Especially if you are a programmer teaching yourself to code.

1. Doing a Lot of Research Instead of Writing Code

This is one of the most common mistakes almost all beginners learning to code make. Doing some initial research is good, but overdoing it is bad.

Think about this, you are going to learn to program. Initially, you start to do a lot of research on what would be the best programming language to learn.

You start reading articles on the Internet. Change from one article to another. Then switch to watching videos on youtube. In these videos, people compare different languages based on their experiences.

You watch so many videos that you get confused about which language to start with. So you make a random decision and start with any of them. Once you are done with which language to learn. Start researching what technology to learn about.

The same cycle of exploration of different technologies begins again. You start to compare blockchain, artificial intelligence, web development, or cybersecurity. Which is the best to learn as a beginner.

Between your research, you begin to compare frontend and backend development. You start to think if you should start with Python or Javascript.

Which of the front-end frameworks should you learn. You should start with React.js or Vue.js.

You have invested 2 to 3 months in your research phase. In these 2–3 months, you have not written a single line of code. Once you start writing code. You realize that you have wasted this precious 2–3 months on excessive analysis.

So it doesn’t matter how many articles or videos you have watched. You will learn to code only when you actually write code.

I am not asking you not to do any analysis. I ask you not to analyze too much. Over-analysis will cost you a lot of time that you can use to write code.

2. Trying to Learn More Than One Programming Language

You are learning to code for the first time. Instead of starting with a programming language. You started learning two programming languages at the same time.

I mentioned earlier about the over-analysis phase. While you researched, you were excited to learn to code. You choose two languages to learn at the same time.

If two languages include Python and Java.

Initially, when you started learning to code, you had no trouble learning them. Initially, you can write code in both languages. You were able to follow your instructor easily.

As the days went by, you started with concepts like classes and inheritance. You began to get confused about the syntax of both languages.

I was in a similar situation when I started learning to code.

I started learning two programming languages at the same time. Due to this confusion between the syntax, I once wrote a function that consists of code from both languages. It seemed like I invented a new language.

When you are first learning to code, start learning a programming language.

3. Thinking You Are Writing Code

After your excessive analysis phase. You decided with which programming language you are going to start.

You decided to start with Python. You start watching Python tutorials where an instructor teaches you. You’re watching all those videos where the instructor is writing code on her computer.

While watching the videos, you are not writing any code on your own. You are thinking because the instructor is writing code and you are seeing it. It looks like you are writing the code together with the instructor.

Let me tell you that watching programming tutorials is not called programming.

When you write code with the instructor and create something together with them. This is also not called programming.

If you are trying to redo the same project on your own or trying to add more features on your own. This is called programming. You can add functions in that same project by taking the help of websites like StackOverflow, online documentation.

4. Sacrificing Your Health

You start to enjoy learning to code. You spent 2–3 hours of your time writing code every day.

You start to enjoy building new things. You start showing your projects to your friends and family. They start to appreciate your work. Their appreciation motivates you to build more things.

You start investing 5–6 hours to build new things. You got too involved in writing code and attending tutorials. You start skipping all the other activities of your day and start spending hours learning to code.

You stop hanging out with your friends. You stopped doing any type of exercise. You are hunched over for hours in your chair.

When this happened to me. It started to give me back pain. The pain was so disturbing that I couldn’t sleep at night. My bodyweight increased greatly. I met the doctor, he told me that increasing body weight can lead to other diseases. He suggested some remedies to me. He asked me to exercise regularly.

When you start spending all your time learning to code. You start avoiding all other physical activities. Lack of physical activity can lead to various health problems. These health problems can decrease your productivity as a programmer.

5. Doubting Your Knowledge When Encountering a Repeated Error

You are spending 2–3 hours a day learning to code. Suppose you are creating a dating app like Tinder.

In that app, you have added a swipe feature. The swipe feature works well. You are happy because the swipe feature works well. As you progress through building the app.

You need to add more functions to your application. You need to add a feature where if two accounts swipe to the right, they should get a match. If there is a match, the chat window should be open.

While writing the code for this function. You are getting repeated errors. You cannot correct it. You try checking for that error on stack-overflow and other websites. But you cannot solve that problem.

You are continually looking for a solution to correct that error. 3–4 hours have passed but you are not getting any success. At that point, you start to doubt your skills and knowledge. You have thoughts like “I’m not qualified enough”, “I don’t have the right skills.”

Doubting your skills and knowledge when you receive a continuous error message is a common problem.

I used to face such problems when writing code in my early days. In my early days, I used to get angry after facing many error messages. Also in my early days, I was not good with debugging. Once I got good at debugging. I started to enjoy the process of writing code and receiving error messages.

If you get a lot of error messages, try to understand them. Try different remedies to fix them. Read the documentation and ask other developers for help. The tech community is helpful and you will definitely find some way.

Simply doubting your knowledge and worrying about your abilities won’t solve your mistake.

6. Running after online certification

The tech industry values your skills, knowledge, not the certificates you’ve earned online. Today thousands of websites sell courses online. Some of these online courses can be life-changing.

There are many websites that ask you to pay money to get a certificate for an online course. They ask everyone who takes the course to get certified. According to them, these certifications will help you get a job.

I used to run after this type of certification. When I was a newbie, I used to not understand the mindset of making money from these courses. These kinds of certificates are worthless if you doesn’t have the necessary skills.

One of my friends has taken hundreds of these certification courses. He has one of the best resumes I have ever seen. He doesn’t have any skills. He just copies all the assignments and passes the tests in some way. Even if he has so many certifications, he can’t find any job in the tech world.

If you are good with problem-solving skills and want to learn new things. Those things can help you get a job instead of the certificates you got online.

Conclusion

  • Avoid 2 months of lengthy research to start writing code.
  • Start your journey with a programming language.
  • Write code together with your instructor and add more features.
  • Stay healthy and exercise.
  • Learn to debug your code instead of doubting your skills.
  • Problem-solving skills are more important than certificates.

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Sanjay Priyadarshi

Written by

Software Engineer | Traveller | Join My Newsletter — codertoentrepreneurs.substack.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +788K followers.

Sanjay Priyadarshi

Written by

Software Engineer | Traveller | Join My Newsletter — codertoentrepreneurs.substack.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +788K followers.

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