First, I have to warn you that I am not a seasoned programmer giving you advice. I started learning to code at the end of 2018, and am pretty much still a newbie. But, no one is better than a newbie to understand another one right? I am proud of all I have learned so far, and every day I am closer to my goal: Being a badass developer!
So here are the 3 things that have made my journey a bit easier:
1. Having a mentor
My older brother is a Senior Developer in Brazil and he knows his code. Once he decided to help me learn to code, he was all in.
To this day, he tells me what I should be focusing on and gives me exercises to practice.
Since he is also my older brother, he is great at scolding me lol . What is annoying but helpful when I procrastinate or start losing motivation.
So my first piece of advice is to find yourself a mentor.
Somebody that knows the #programmerLife and is excited about sharing what they know.
It may be even more helpful if this person is friendly but intimidates you a bit.
Also I have to confess that My wish to make my older brother proud of me helps me a lot!
2. Find the right resources for your learning style
There are A LOT of courses out there, in every topic.
I recommend finding in which way you learn better. Is it video? Reading? Doing?
Hands on resources like CodeAcademy and FreeCodeCamp are great. Using them WITH the video courses on the side is even better.
When choosing your courses, don't go and buy something just because of the reviews or recommendations. See if you can watch some material by that professor beforehand .
While the content was great The teacher's method just didn't reach my brain and I almost gave up on learning JS! And that was a very famous course, with tons of awesome reviews. It was not the professor’s fault. It was just that his teaching style didn’t match with my brain.
3. Take the time to learn and but don't burn yourself out
Once I started learning, my brother would actually tell me to not study more than one hour a day. Which was very difficult for my curious self, but most of the days I did that.
Nowadays I study 1 or 2 hours a day, some days more, some less, but I always take a break when my brain gets foggy.
On the other hand, I have my study time consistent.
I know that I work better in the morning, so I wake up early, get ready for the day, and study for an hour or so.
I kept this routine almost every day for the first year I was learning how to code. I am not as consistent now that I have a job in tech, but I do plan on getting back to it.
Could I have studied for longer hours when I got started? Probably. But that was what worked for me at that moment, and I respected my body and brain’s signals and stopped when they told me to.
Find what works for you, but start slow, respect your time and your mental health.
Starting to code can be intimidating, wild, but also fun!
Creating something from zero with clear code is one of the best feelings, especially in the very beginning.
If you choose the self-learning route I high five you!
You can do it, freeeeeeend!
You totally can :)
I would love to know what helps YOU to deal with self-learning better, so please comment, especially if you are a newbie like myself.