When you want to quit

1 June 2019 · Riga, Latvia · comments

I regularly meet young programmers who, after failing to complete a coding course, lose faith in themselves, and think that programming is not for them. They want to quit.

When I started programming, I considered quitting several times, but luckily, I didn’t. You shouldn’t give up, too. When you are beginner, everything looks hard, and programming is not an exception. Here is what you can do to get through hard times:

  • Surround yourself with other students. It’s hard to learn coding alone. When you surround yourself with people who struggle like you, learning becomes easier. It’s also more fun! For example, you can find a friend who also wants to learn how to code. It will add a competition element and will motivate you to make progress. Or you can join a community. For example, free code camp has a forum, where all students hang out.

  • Find a learning style that works for you. There is no single right way to learn coding. When I was in college, lecturing never worked for me. Before I learned to appreciate my uniqueness, I always felt frustrated, because I didn’t show good progress. You are unique, so your learning style is. There are different online courses, offline coding schools, and programming books available. Some courses fit one people better, others another. Find a learning style that works best for you. If the current learning style doesn’t make you happy – ditch it.

  • Start building something. Piano players learn by playing piano, not by reading a book on how to play the piano. Coding is a skill that you master by coding. If you are learning how to code without coding – stop immediately and start coding. Nothing motivates better than seeing the results of our efforts. If learning does not lead to results, you’ll lose motivation soon. Are you learning web development? Build a simple web project. Learning mobile? Build a mobile app. It doesn’t matter if you know only basics. To accelerate learning, see your progress, and reward your efforts, start building things immediately.

  • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It shows that you have guts to admit that you don’t know something and want to learn. Many experienced developers are ready to help, especially if you formulated a question and Googled before asking. freeCodeCamp has a forum where beginners can ask questions. StackOverflow is a great place, too. You can ping someone directly on Twitter on Instagram and ask if you are on the right track.

  • Establish a daily routine. Establishing a daily coding routine is essential. It’s better to code for one hour every day, than to code for seven hours on the weekend. If you write code every day, it becomes a habit. If you don’t establish a habit, your mind will find millions of excuses to postpone coding, because coding is hard. And because coding involves concepts that continuously build on each other, if you go several days without coding, a fair amount of knowledge will be lost.

  • Empty head, dirty shoes. Sometimes pushing yourself can feel smart and productive – until you’re exhausted, overextended, overwhelmed, and ready to kill. Coding consumes a lot of brainpower. It’s important to give yourself a break. If you have lost motivation and feel tired – close your laptop and take a break. Go for a walk. Fly somewhere for a week. If you are tired, learn to rest, not quit.

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