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How to Have Time To Learn Programming as an Undergrad Student

Learn to code requires a ton of time and effort.

Even to people graduating in a IT field, they usually don't have time to do something they like to code, learn a programming language or whatever they find interesting.

These advises can be useful regardless of what you wanna learn.

So in this post I'll give some advice of how approach this problem without flunk in college or getting a slow score.

First of all let's split the advice in 3 parts:

  1. Dealing with time
  2. Don't overthink
  3. Share it

Dealing with time

You probably said many times "I don't have time" or "I'll do it eventually" or even "Maybe that's not for me".

The thing is you make your time, so stop giving excuses, have you thought how much time you waste in social media or watching series ?

You should rest to not burn out, but sometimes you're just being in a comfortable zone, not willing to make enough regarding your dreams.

What you must to do is to commit to at least 10 min to learn the thing you want, it looks a tiny amount of time, but let's make the math, in one week you have 70 min, in a month 280 min, in a year 3.360 min.

That sounds boring, right ? what we usually seek is an overnight change, unfortunately that's not how things work.

People who have achieved greatness are constantly improving, that's not something i figure out by myself, you can see these ideas in a quote below from an amazing book by James Clear:

“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”
― James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

The Atomic Habits book, is about doing a big everyday, the author says if you focus in get better at something 1% in a daily basis, at the end of the year you got 37% better, rather than get worse.

The secret is to do a bit everyday. the minimum is 10 min, but eventually you'll spend more time and get more excited about it.

Don't overthink

I wish i could have known this before suffering so much. Make plans and goals but once you've decided it, just jump for it.

There's not right or wrong. Each individual starts in a different way, path and in a different pace.

You can follow roadmaps and guidelines, however you'll notice that even the guys giving advice in the around the internet, haven't learned the way they're telling you, actually it's an ideal path created if he/she were starting over again.

When you have a idea, after having enough information do it, because even if you fail you'll learn something in the end.

Therefore, choose and go for it, there's any perfect path to follow, start to execute.

Share it

In university you'll have a ton of pressure from your professors, so it's a good idea to have some kind of pressure in the other side.

When you choose the technology/tools/programming language to learn daily, it's time to find some projects and share to someone you trust about it.

You can set up goals, but what's better in the mindset that you're not only solving algorithms, you're becoming a programmer.

It can be go to a broader extent, rather saying you wanna learn to play a song, you wanna become a musician. Instead of saying you gonna write a article, you wanna become a writer.

In this way you just focus in get better everyday, because when you achieve goals what usually happens is that you don't care about anymore.

The efforts you did were just some sort of waste.

The goals can be tools to give some pressure, like going to a Hackathon,though.

One key thing is to balance the equation, sometimes you can go and make projects and other times is just fine to do the basics, but you'll handle it, what matters is to not give up of your passions.


Times is something a lot of people struggle with, but it's something we can control.

Doing a bit everyday eventually add up in the long haul.

Prefer making some mistakes, instead of overthink and planning in a unhealthy way, there are many ways to learn things.

Share your ideas with someone you trust in order to have some pressure to achieve your dreams.

Focus in become something, create a system, rather than just having goals.

Did you like the post? Please share with your friends, it's my first post at DEV community. I have a blog with a friend of mine about Programming and Advises for Undergrad Students where you can find more post like this one

The link to the blog Learning Loop

Do you want to discuss? drop a comment, also we have a discord channel Discord Group

Top comments (1)

jfeijo profile image
João Antônio Feijó

Very cool post! I can relate to some of the issues you first mentioned. What worked best for me until now is:

1) Not to overthink your whole carrer path based in a short period of study/practice. Respect yourself and respect the process.
2) Do not underestimate the weight of the concepts that are in a 20min video thus - don't get frustrated with spending a few days to absorb them.
3) When learning programming from internet/external sources and not from a formal college, the whole idea that some people eventualy sell, is that 'programming is easy', and it can be very deceiving. You have to respect your time and never expect to master some language in a "x" period of time, and pay more attention to that if you don't have a computer science background.