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Alejandro Sanchez
Alejandro Sanchez

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A letter to anyone learning to code

Learning to code? Welcome!! 🤩👏 My name is Alejandro and I'm writing this letter after years of teaching code and changing lives. Please I beg you to read until the end, I will try my best not to bore you!

What you already know

You are here to develop your coding skills to a point where you can be useful to society:

  1. Get a job.
  2. Create your own company.
  3. Adapt better to the new world.

What you didn't know

You need spiritual help to achieve it, and I say this in the most pragmatic way possible.

The biggest wall to become a developer is not in the syllabus or content but your mind.

You need to change the way you learn, the way you approach problems, the way you sell yourself (therefore see yourself), tearing down old misconceptions about yourself, others, and your professional life.

I'm here to tear down the 💻 3 Walls Towards Code

Wall 1: Confidence 🥺 (Impostor syndrome)

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At some point in our lives (some more than others) we all have thought we are the most stupid person in a room if we keep thinking that for a long time and we don't get comfortable on any skillset, we may even think that we are not that smart. BULLSHIT! The fact you are here in and reading this is proof enough you are smart enough to make a living as a developer, you need to believe that, especially on tough learning times!

If a particular exercise or project is hard, instead of thinking you are not good at this, look for new ways of absorbing the content. Talk to a mentor, watch a video, etc.

Every average person can learn to code to a point of being useful, coding gets more complicated when you specialize further in your career (Like A.I., Robotics, etc.), but you can make good money without having to study Math, without being good at numbers or without learning as fast as others (we may be able to fix that, by the way).

📝 Recipe to avoid losing confidence

  1. Avoid being stuck too long: Coding is tricky because you may be very close to solving a problem but you are stuck and you don't realize it. Or maybe you don't know how to start a problem but a quick 5 min talk with a mentor will clear the way. You need to ask for help no longer than 1 hr after trying on your own.

  2. Talk to other students: You may think you are the only one that does not understand, but if you talk to a couple of classmates you'll see they are just like you, it will give you the confidence to ask questions.

  3. Talk to the mentors: A voice of experience is always effective, you have twitter, senior devs, and teachers that struggled before and are also struggling right now! They can help you during dark times, we are not only talking about giving you coding solutions but giving you strategies to succeed in your (coding?) life.

Wall 2: Follow and Trust ✝ a method:

During all your life you've learned the same way, the educational system has put you in a box and trained you to learn slowly, limiting your ability to adapt to the new world of skilled fast-learning and self-learning professionals.

Have a new method and stick to it! Learn how coding bootcamps do it and copy it:

- Learn in public.
- Follow a syllabus.
- Every day.
- Find a mentor.
- Repetitive exercises.
- but also non-repetitive projects.

Wall 3: Inactivity 😴

It does not matter if you are studying on a full-time or part-time way, you need to set the boot-camp mindset and work every day. The Human brain absorbs 80% more when it feels challenged if you idle for a day the brain relaxes and it's proven that you usually forget 60% of recently acquired information in just 1 day unless you use it again and again for a sequence of 7 days (at least).

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These are not small numbers, 60% in a day, and 90% if you don't practice for a week. You are wasting your time don't take it seriously!

📝 Recipe to avoid inactivity

  1. Talk to your spouse, partner, lover dog, and family: You need a break from anything else, support! Rewards are endless. Everyone needs to fall in line! Try opening up the most time you can, having a private desk to work without distraction, etc. Your home has to be in sync with this moment of your life.

  2. Don't miss a day: The #1 deterrent to your motivation, missing two days in a row is the perfect storm. You will need to have double the hours to catch up.

  3. Get involved: There are lots of events happening right now online, Twitter is an amazing source of motivation and as well! Contribute to open-source projects, mentor other people (it teaches you a lot). Nothing gets me more excited than attending an amazing event full of energy and smart people.

That is it!

The 3 walls of code can be torn down with passion and determination. That is why the smartest developers I know are not the ones making the most money or most successful. You need to be resilient, passionate, and play your cards right.

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