The Surprising Way To Avoid Failure Learning To Code As An Adult

11 Jul 2020 - Andrew McCall

an adult learning

A Personal Story For Those On The Journey

Learning is hard. Really hard. Especially when you already have a busy job, career, family, or bowling league (I kid) that requires your daily attention. These are a few of the things that lure you away into existential despair, meaninglessness, cruelty, manipulation and absurdity. There are so many other distractions out there. Netflix anyone? Maybe you decided to take up trading stocks on Robinhood. You have too many friends? There are so many distractions and, on top of that, you have decided to learn to code for fun or profit.

A Brief Guide To Learning How To Code

The simple answer: practice, practice, practice. Repitition is the ultimate way to learning how to code as an adult. As we get older it becomes harder for us to learn things and generally takes more time for concepts to sink in and information synthesis can occur. I am learning this constantly as I continue on my journey. There are a few things that have seemed to help me a little bit.

A Few Tips To Help The Learning Process

  1. Learn in small chunks
    • Take concepts and break them down to each part
    • Create micro projects that are exclusively for the purpose of learning a new concept
    • Repeat. I will usually try and make at least three micro projects with the new concept before I move on. Sometimes, I will make a half dozen projects or use a new concept for several production projects to solidify my understanding
  2. Ask for help
    • I am stubborn. I do not do this often enough. Instead, I toil away hoping that I will eventually stumble upon the solution. You will be different. You generally want the lifestyle and you do not want to wait around to get it. If you are stuck on something just do yourself a favor and ask for help.
    • Find local coders using such tools as facebook, reddit, discord, meetup, your local bulletin board and make a few friends. If you get stuck use those friends as a resource. They will help you fill in the knowledge gap and connect the pieces that you are not quite getting yet.
  3. Take a break
    • Your mind has a way of working in mysterious ways. If you are hitting your head over the computer keyboard it is time to take a break. Walk the dog, spend time with the wife/husband, make your fifth cup of coffee for the day. Do anything! When you come back you will have a refreshed attitude and new perspective to view the problem with.

How To Deal With Frustration Learning How To Code

You will want to give up. Your significant other will wonder if you ever plan to spend time with them again. Your friends will think you fell off the face of the Earth. You are stuck! You aren’t progressing. You haven’t finished any projects. These are all the signs that lead to frustration. The simple solution is to keep up your commitment. Remember, learning to interact with computers is supposed to be fun! If you do nothing you will never achieve growth. When frustration grows it is time to remember what your motives are and what aspects you actually enjoy. Try and remind yourself everyday but also try and remember that you will never learn it all! It is impossible to learn every aspect of computer programming so stop trying to! If you feel like you are not learning something fast enough then step back and learn a related concept first.

Conclusion

Learning to code is hard. I feel stuck or frustrated on a daily/weekly basis and find myself searching for the simplest things on stackoverflow. These are just a few of the things that have helped me along the way and I would love to hear from you if you have some other great ideas that would help.

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Tags: javascript, learn to code, web development