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Discussion on: What are your struggles as a beginner dev?

krkd profile image

Someone pointed out that a significant problem was finding high-quality resources to get into a certain technology stack, or into programming in general. I'd like to agree on that, but for a different reason. I think the overwhelming amount of resources available to beginners poses a problem.

When I first got into technology around fifteen years ago as a teenager, the landscape was relatively barren. You had two or three tech-stacks that you could pursue in learning - you had the world of Java or C#, you had the "modern" scripting languages such as Python or Perl (yes, Perl was still relevant back then, whereas Ruby wasn't) and you had the "grumpy greybeard administrator"-stack of Bash / C.

A non-insignificant part of the resources were available solely in English, and outside a few standard books that "everyone" read, there wasn't a lot of resources available. If you wanted to learn something, there was a semi-defined part that you could walk on, once you stepped outside of that you were pretty much on your own.

Now we kind of have the opposite problem, there's an overwhelming amount of technologies available, all with similarly overwhelming amount of documentation, tutorials, blogposts, messageboards, chatrooms and so on. Finding what's actually any good is a challenge by itself, making it significantly harder to start out, because you have to avoid falling in a perpetuating cycle of acquiring / sharing of dangerous semi-knowledge.

What poses an even bigger problem for me is: Time & discipline.

I'm very much interested in programming as a hobby, and I'm experienced enough as someone working in a pretty much strictly IT-job for the past ten years to be able to skip over some of the basics (learning about what control structures are, understanding how package managers work, and so on) and jump directly into learning the language I'm interested in.

However, I also have an IT-job. And an unfortunate semi-medical need for exercise. Combine that with the other responsibilities that come with having to pretend one is an adult and you'll end up with a very limited amount of spare time.

I'm not going to lie, more often than not I do not possess the mental energy to sit down and try to crack another difficult problem, as rewarding as it might be once I actually solve it. Videogames are much more attractive on these days, which is perfectly fine. But sometimes I catch myself mindlessly watching random videos because I'm too tired to even play a game.

"Happy" isn't the term I'd use to describe how I feel about that situation. I'm hoping that I'm finding some remedies for it that allow me to keep some spare energy left for the evening, so that I can enjoy a (to me) meaningful hobby.

kimberrleigh profile image

I'm so with you on the time and energy front. It's not that I don't want to learn or learn something new, I crave it. But I only have so much mental energy by the time I get to free time and only so much time to sit down and focus enough to basically be self taught. And if I wanted to go the instructor led type course route like GA, making finances work even with tuition reimbursement (reimbursement is the key... gotta pay up front!) is hard with a family and house and loans and such.

cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth Author

Totally get you. I have the same struggle as you outside of work and family, if I want to learn a new technology, it's so hard to peruse through the loads of resources out there. And it quickly becomes overwhelming. So like you, I end up watching mentally easy videos/shows to just let my brain rest. 😖

I think back then, like you said, we had a low amount of resources for learning. Today, in the information age, we have way too many. How can we dial back to just right? 🤔