We all arrive new to coding with expectations. You know it won’t be easy and you’ll have to work hard. You’re prepared to spend a lot of time at your keyboard with the goal of being able to create something awesome. But what are some aspects of learning to code that you might not expect? After years of teaching our students, there are a few “secrets” that we’d like to share. Below are the 4 that we think every aspiring developer should keep in mind when they’re new to coding.
You’re going to be a lifelong learner
You’re a student learning to code right now, but you also need to get used to being a learner as you move forward with your career as a developer. Technology is constantly evolving, which is what makes the industry so fascinating to be a part of. Programming languages will update, new ones will be released, what you can achieve with code will expand infinitely. But all of this happens at a fast pace, and to be competitive in the tech industry, you need to stay ahead. The way to do that is to constantly set yourself new learning goals and keep growing your coding skills.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
Get comfortable with breaking things
As a developer, you’ll build things, but you’ll also break thing (don’t worry, every developer does). There will be PLENTY of times when everything will be running smoothly and then suddenly there’s an error in your code. When that happens, don’t panic! Rest assured bugs and errors happen to developers at every stage of experience, even the experts. Instead, you’ll need to learn to embrace the problem-solving side of coding. Rise to the challenge and embrace the rewarding feeling when you successfully debug your code. Every time you overcome one of these situations, you’ll learn something new and grow your knowledge.
“Learning is a journey. View every misstep as an opportunity to learn and move forward.”
Don’t learn in a silo
If you’re learning online, it can sometimes feel like your learning experience is isolated, especially when you’re new to coding and struggling with the dreaded imposter syndrome. From the start, it’s important to know that the tech community stretches across the globe and is overflowing with support for one another. With so many others learning alongside you and talented individuals out there willing to help, it’s important to embrace the opportunities to connect with them. Whether it’s in online forums like the Treehouse Community, or local in-person Meetups, make time to talk to other developers, ask questions or for help, and build your network. Then, when you’re the expert, pay-it-back by helping the next wave of aspiring developers (there’s also a lot that can be learned about coding by helping others).
“The expert at anything was once a beginner.”
Be dedicated to your learning
As you make your way down your learning path, some parts will be easier than others. There will be times when you’re overwhelmed and frustrated, and honestly, you’ll just want to quit. When you feel that way, try some of these tips to help get you back on track. If you stick with it and make coding a part of your daily life before you know it those frustrations will be much more manageable to overcome. Dedication to your learning will also help you progress towards your career aspirations faster and once you’re officially calling yourself a developer, you’ll agree it was well worth all the effort.
“There will be days when you will have no motivation or inspiration to code anything. You will start to doubt yourself when your progress stalls, but when that happens just remember why you started this journey in the first place.”
Jim Syphokham, Web Development Director
Those are just a few of the aspects of coding we think are important to share, but we’d love to hear your thoughts! What would you add to the list?