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Cody Shaner
Cody Shaner

Posted on

How to start your coding journey

So you've just started your journey into the vast expansive world that is web/computing technologies. Maybe you read an article about how the job market is booming or you tried your hand at some on-line tutorials, or maybe you just have a new found interest in learning something that as of yet you are unfamiliar with..

The reason you are deciding to learn coding and the like doesn't matter. The purpose of this article is to offer insight into what I went through, as-well as what I see in others to give you a leg up and hopefully keep you from stalling or getting too overwhelmed during this learning journey. And believe that this will be a journey, hard pressed you will be looking to that point in time when you've 'arrived'. There is always things to learn and skills to sharpen in this realm.

I am a coding boot-camp graduate (full stack web) and now instruct a full-stack web development course. There are few common patterns that I've seen in myself and others, that you would do well to be aware of and avoid.

-1
---Handling Frustration
This stuff can be daunting. It doesn't matter what your are looking to learn, the fact remains that the subject will be deep and there will be a lot of moving parts you will need to deal with. This has a tendency to bog people down, get them uninterested, like they can't do it or they aren't smart enough. You will find yourself getting stuck on seemingly everything having to try and figure out what your doing and how to get something to work.. This is normal, especially for an absolute beginner. You are dealing with tools and concepts that may very well be completely foreign to you. Start leaning somewhere, re-enforce what you understand and continually move forward. This process will never change but your adaptability and transferable skills will increase. You won't understand everything at first, which brings me to the second point.

-2
---Black Box Learning
This is a concept I hadn't heard of prior to instructing myself but it is essential to make true progress in the discipline. Black Box Learning is the idea of not really know what and why you are doing something a certain way, or maybe you have boilerplate code that doesn't make sense but you just know that is what you need to get 'this' to happen. Be okay with that. There is nothing wrong with deep diving subjects and concepts and you indeed should do that but early on in your learning you will get stuck from the anxiety of having to figure what and why for every little thing. There is a difference between a high level understanding and deeper intimate understanding. Both are useful, do not get caught in the trap of paralysis by analysis.

-3
---Learning method
Tutorials, books, in person teaching.. these are all great resources and methods to learn but it won't trump hands on learning and experimentation. Try to build things, do your own research, figure out a question that you have and find the answer through experimentation in addition to referencing the web and literature.

Take passion in the craft if you really seek to become proficient.

-4
---Don't get complacent
There is nothing wrong with being pleased with yourself for knowing how to build something or having an understanding of some tool but don't get complacent in your learning. The industry moves fast and new paradigms/methods/technologies are being considered all the time, whats used today might be different in a year.

Stay nimble and hungry

Best of luck on your journey

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