When I first started my self-learning journey I would try to memorize everything, from every HTML tag to every use case of every CSS property. Because of that, I felt like I was making no progress. Every time I would try to code something I could not think of the exact code off the top of my head and I thought:
- I am so stupid.
- This is not for me.
- Why can't this just stick?
Little did I know that my learning approach was completely wrong. It wasn’t until I completely shifted my learning approach that I started to make significant progress.
In this article, I will show you why memorizing is not the right approach in learning to code. I will also share some quick tips to help you shift your learning approach.
You do not need to memorize everything. Even the best software engineers still Google and copy and paste from stack overflow. If there were perfect engineers there wouldn't be software updates every few months. If you know how to Google properly and use the correct keywords to find what you are looking for you are set. Instead of memorizing focus on problem-solving skills practice by building projects and going on websites to practice algorithms and data structures.
You can reference the muscle memory phenomenon and use it to help your learning process.
“Muscle memory is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition, which has been used synonymously with motor learning. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed with little to no conscious effort.” -Wikipedia
Programming is a completely different way of thinking. Most brains are not programmed to think this way. You have to teach your brain how to think like a programmer.
When you are studying and writing out your notes make sure they are properly structured so that it is easy to go back to them. You will always have to revisit your notes. This is one of the reasons why I like having digital notes. I can easily search and find what I need.
When you are coding talk to yourself and explain every step. Why are you using a specific CSS property or what is your function doing.
Especially when you are stuck on a bug this is the best time to learn. Talk to yourself through the problem. Go through every step.
There are a lot of different approaches you can take when learning to code. It all depends on your learning style and what works best for you. I hope this was helpful.
If you are even a bit intrigued and are interested in learning to code lets connect! I would love to help in any way I can.
Photo by Jesse Martini on Unsplash