Being fluent in a programming language is becoming more and more important as technology develops within our lives. While important, this doesn’t mean it is an easy skill to acquire. Here are some tips on how to succeed as a student of code.
If you have ever set out to learn a coding language you probably know that just as with any language there is a learning/confidence equation that one must consider. In the beginning there is a motivated assurance that while you don’t know the code, you are certain that you will be able to figure it out. But as you move through the process your skills may rise but your confidence shrinks more and more. With every line you type, you feel that there is just too much to learn and that you may have bitten off more than you can chew. Before you know it you have positioned yourself as the lost tourist, frantically searching through their code handbook, searching for the prompt to help them find the bathroom. Ok, maybe that is an exaggeration, but you know what I’m getting at.
You are not alone. Most individuals have felt this way at one time or another and according to Viking Code School this is just part of the process. Like puberty, this lack of confidence is just a phase and if you can make it through what they call the “desert of despair” you will soon find yourself on the “upswing of awesome” on your way to “job ready”.
Let me explain: Viking has broken the path of code learning into four phases, each with their own part to play before your skills become proficient:
- The Hand-holding Honeymoon
Sounds sweet right? Well it is because you don’t know what the next phase is yet. This is the motivated “I can” phase. As you barrel through the basic syntax you feel really good about how much you are accomplishing. Go you!
- The Cliff of Confusion
This is the phase I was warning you about. Phase two is the moment you realize that there is a LOT more to learn and while swimming in symbols and letters you panic because this is much harder than you imagined it to be in phase 1. You know that you need answers but at this point you can’t even form a question, but it’s okay, it does get easier.
- The Desert of Despair
Phase 3 is not when it gets easier, but it is the phase that will make or break you as a coder. If you can make it through this desert you can make it through any code that comes your way. Like a man searching for water, your code tends to frantically dart from one direction to another and more often than not, in circles. Have faith, you are almost to the good part.
- The Upswing of Awesome
Woo hoo! You made it! There is water and your thirst is quenched. In phase 4 you have broken through the learning curve and the missing puzzle piece has fit. It is all coming together and you see the big picture of the language. Your confidence is rising again as you code yourself into a frenzy, with results! Your site is running and your friends are impressed, but there is one more step in your path to ninja coding. You will need patience in this phase because the only way to get to “job ready” is practice, lots and lots of practice.
Tips on how to make it through the drought:
- Use a variety of resources. Books, classes, websites, try them all to see what works best and if at any point you get stuck, try them all again.
- Work with a friend who is trying to learn too. By teaching each other and working together the chance that you will retain the information is much higher.
- Look at other coders’ work and try to think as they did. You will most likely find that the answers are there along with the questions you should be asking.
- Start small and build on your skills. Everyone has to start somewhere! The where isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you started.
- Make a goal and avoid any distractions along the way. Don’t try to learn everything all at once.
- Follow best practices whenever possible. Getting from A to B is awesome, but not if you have to sift through C, D, E, F, G to get there.
- Develop strong basic fundamental skills, even though they might not be fun and exciting.
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