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Renan Moura
Renan Moura

Posted on • Originally published at

Do you suffer from TSTC: Too Scared To Code? 5 symptoms and a cure

Originally published at

There is this weird syndrome some people seem to have that I call TSTC: Too Scared To Code.

This condition can come in various forms.

It makes you avoid coding in any way, you doubt you will be able to remember all those lines of code you saw in that tutorial online.

You don't know where to start and you feel afraid that you will fail and feel helpless.

If any of that makes sense to you, check some of the symptoms and a cure for your condition.


These are the most common symptoms, be aware that you might suffer from some variation of these listed here.

Symptom 1: It's confusing!

Coding feels very confusing.

Variables, types, loops, conditions, recursion, inheritance, data structures.

You get crazy trying to tie all these concepts together to build your program flow.

It doesn't make any sense to you and the frustration hits you hard.

Symptom 2: It's overwhelming

There is so much to learn.

Dozens of languages, frameworks, architectures.

Every day a new faster, better, shinier solutions appear, and you have one more thing on your long list of learning topics.

Symptom 3: You feel you are not learning fast enough

You thought you could master JavaScript and 3 months later get some sense of Python or maybe Java.

It has been 3 years and you are still learning JavaScript.

Everybody is advancing faster than you and you are lagging behind your peers.

You are disappointed that you are not learning as fast as you think you should and you are making mistakes.

The learning curve is too steep.

Symptom 4: You feel you gonna be dependent on tutorials

The scary thought that you will forever have to rely on tutorials.

You watch the video or read a walkthrough thinking: "How the hell am I supposed to know that line goes there?"

Symptom 5: You have to google... a lot!

Whenever you do something just a bit different from the usual, you have to run to google to look up for syntax, solutions, tutorials (Symptom 4).

A Cure

First things first: coding is hard!

Like any new learning topic, it will feel confusing at first glance, every complicated subject is confusing when you are a newbie.

You don't have to learn everything at once, pick one reasonable language and stick with it for some time, build projects, you need the trial and error to advance, there is just no other way to master it.

If you keep thinking about the whole picture, it will feel overwhelming.

Break the big problem in small pieces, attack each one at a time and slowly integrate them.

Tutorials are good for some very specific tasks, but they usually lack "whys".

Most tutorials are the equivalent of learning an isolated phrase in some foreign language, but without the proper vocabulary and base knowledge, that is all there is to it.

Learning the most common 20 phrases in Japanese before your long-awaited travel to Japan doesn't make you a Japanese speaker.

Get used to reading the documentation and solve problems yourself.

No cheating! If you get stuck, keep thinking and trying new solutions, it will take some time, but the reward is worth it and you are gonna build the confidence you need to keep going and face anything.

You don't have to remember any syntax you are not actively using, you can google things up as they come.

Programming is about problem-solving, writing code is a minor detail.

If you don't feel like advancing, try to change the language you are using, maybe Python is the way to go, maybe JavaScript, get a sense of what makes you feel more comfortable.

Try and solve fun problems that pick your interest.

Focus on fundamentals, the only difference between experts and beginners is knowing how to better handle the tools at their disposal.

Finally, if you can, find a mentor to help you and guide your way.

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