Examine How You Learn
Something many code newbies struggle with is figuring out how they learn, which leads to jumping all over the place consuming every resource. When I discovered web development I went down the rabbit hole 🕳️ of every blog post, YouTube video, and bookmarked every tutorial/Udemy course/bootcamp I came across 📱📰 💻 🎥 📚.
I started with one free online bootcamp (Frontend Masters), then switched to another (freeCodeCamp) because learning started getting "hard", then I was doing them both at the same time. When I started freeCodeCamp, part way through...aka several weeks in, I realised I wasn't retaining the information and forgot most of the concepts previously covered. Combine this with consuming alllll the things via blog posts, YouTube, ebooks, podcasts, and you get 4 months of jumping all over with no progress. It took me 4 months to realise I wasn't remembering many concepts because I wasn't actually coding or really understanding what I was learning 🤦🏾♀️.
Now don't think I'm saying these 2 bootcamps aren't good, because they are great resources. I still use and recommend them both if you're just starting your journey. What I am saying is:
Figure out the best way that you learn and find a resource to match your learning style.
It will be tempting to grab every free or low-cost resource that says "Learn Web Development". Don't. You don't need them all. Pick 1 or 2 that makes you code along - not just write a few words or lines. Bonus: Pick resources that give assignments to ensure you practice the concepts you're learning.
It may be tempting to juggle multiple resources at once. Don't. Focus on 1 and complete it to help cement your knowledge and understanding.
Examining how you learn may not happen overnight, but it's definitely important to do. Some people learn by reading content (blog posts, ebooks, course materials), some by visuals (watching tutorials/YouTube videos), and others by doing (building projects and breaking code). This last one is the way recommended by most developers, but also triggers imposter syndrome and fear of failure into many newbies, myself included 😬😨. Believe me, I know. Little by little I've been challenging my imposter syndrome by picking the resource that works best for me right now and completing the assignments provided.
A few other things I've learned along the way:
Never take on a project that doesn't help you achieve your goals, especially for free. Some people won't understand your reasons for wanting to go in a different direction and will try to keep you boxed in.
Find a developer community that you feel comfortable in and reach out to other devs who have experienced your struggles/you can relate to.
Ignore the number of hours you should spend learning to code being thrown around. Go at your own pace. Tutorials have video/information hours included, but a tutorial isn't just watching the videos. It's actually coding - during and after. Have you ever counted how many times you paused a tutorial to code along, or replayed a section because it just doesn't click in your head? 🤔 Neither have I. I'm more concerned with being able to do the thing and understand it.
Learning to code isn't easy for everyone, so don't let the obnoxious smarty pants or gatekeepers fool you. The great and supportive developers will help you along the way and encourage you to keep going 😊, but examining how you learn is the start to helping whatever you learn better stick.
Until next time 👋🏾