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Persistence is a Skill

madeline_pc profile image Madeline ・2 min read

If you're a beginner, you've probably heard that persistence is an essential developer trait. "Try to solve it on your own. Don't just copy from Stack Overflow. Don't let yourself get stuck in tutorial hell. Build stuff. Practice, practice, practice." Certainly good advice. Yet it can be intimidating.

I know it intimidated me. As a beginner, I reached a problem in my code. I had to look at the solution video. I wondered if maybe I wasn't cut out to be a developer, since I gave up so quickly.

I have continued coding for 7 months now. When I started it was hard to force myself to work through a solution, because of how much easier it was to look it up. But I realized something had to change, if I was going to prepare myself to solve real-world problems - problems that don't have a solution video that I can run to when I get stuck.

Persistence is a skill. If you are not persistent now, that doesn't mean you can't become a persistent person. Like any skill, you need to exercise your persistence.

Here is my tip for becoming more persistent. When you feel like giving up, extend your work a few minutes beyond that point. But don't just try the same approach over and over hoping for it to "just work." Try to see the problem from a different perspective.

How? Write the problem out. You can scrawl a sloppy bullet list. You can vent your frustration in all caps. Whatever format you choose, articulating the problem forces you to actually figure out what the problem is. Once you know the true issue you are facing, you can tackle it and overcome it.

How is this related to persistence? Writing out the problem gives you something tangible to put your energy into when you feel like you're wasting your time glaring at an unforgiving computer screen. You will turn your frustration into a visible accomplishment. You will have a record of your problem to start with in your next coding session. But you will also have a record of not giving up to prove to yourself that you are becoming a more persistent programmer.

Positive reinforcement of a persistent attitude will give you the courage to try it again next time you encounter a road block in your coding journey.

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madeline_pc profile

Madeline

@madeline_pc

I am a wife, mom of 3, musician, and teacher, learning web development technologies in my "free" time.

Discussion

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Great advice! Love the "extra few minutes" tip. It is such a doable goal - we can all spare just a couple of minutes more at a time. This also works when you suddenly get the urge to look at your phone during work or open Facebook, etc... if you push through that nagging feeling for just a few minutes, you will get back in the flow without you even noticing.
Keep it up! :)
~AD