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Mistakes & Lessons - Learning To Code

Start Shipping Projects And Make Learning Fun Again

2 min read
Mistakes & Lessons - Learning To Code

I fell into the analysis paralysis state and lost the joy of learning to code.

In 2021, I decided to learn to code and paid for my first online course. It would take me 4 months to complete. Fast forward 6 months to the end of 2021, and I had only completed 2 out of 5 projects. I doubted myself and my abilities to learn and felt stupid.

I learned that I approached my way to learn the wrong way.

Start to ship small projects

If you don't learn by doing, you will become distracted like I did.

Coding is a skill that requires continuous practice. To make it valuable, we need small wins and finished projects. If we are derailed from the daily practice and spend time over-reading and over-planning, we waste valuable time without having anything to show.

No projects on Github, nothing to showcase, and most importantly, nothing to be proud of.

We will go through 4 steps to move from being a distracted learner to becoming a focused builder in your learn-to-code journey.

1. Define what success looks like (for you)

Stating your success criteria will enhance your motivation to keep going. Without a clear vision you will end up chasing other people's metrics.

Keep it small, simple, and achievable:

  • Build a web page
  • Read and summarize a key chapter of a programming book
  • Complete coding challenges on Hackerrank

2. Setup a (weekly) project with daily goals

Without a clear, time-framed goal, your accountability will be hurt.

  1. Split your project it into daily tasks
  2. Morning check-in: what will I accomplish today?
  3. Check out and ask yourself: what went well and what can I do differently tomorrow?

Ensure you have daily tasks identified that you can complete within a day.

3. Capture gaps and reflect

If you are unaware of your weaknesses, you will never progress.

  1. Identify the knowledge gaps and where you need to spend more focus
  2. Write them down in your preferred note-taking system
  3. Identify actions for how to fill them

4. Take action and iterate

If you don't approach your next day with a plan, you will react to others' plans and agendas.

  1. Do the work required to fill the knowledge gaps
  2. Note down the learnings/summaries of those actions
  3. Go back and apply the learnings to your project

Don't worry about what you don't know, and stop chasing fancy certificates and start building real projects.

Photo by Gabriel Vasiliu / Unsplash

ProgrammingLearn-to-codePersonal Growth