We all know learning a new skill isn’t easy. It takes dedication, patience, determination and self-discipline. When it comes to learning to code, there are some challenges you’ll face that are unique to becoming a developer. Over the last few months we’ve had the opportunity to speak to some of our inspiring students – who are now full-time developers – about their personal experiences learning to code and how they overcame challenges along the way. Here is some of the most valuable advice they shared for all the aspiring developers out there.
Priscilla Luna was a full-time mom of young twins when she began learning to code. Balancing learning and family wasn’t easy, but imposter syndrome was a greater challenge to overcome. Nonetheless, Priscilla worked hard to build her self-confidence and skills, but it paid off. Today, Priscilla is a full-time contracted front end developer for Interflora. What was her number one piece of advice for beginners?
“Don’t let anyone (even if that anyone is yourself) tell you that you’re not “the coding type”. If you love it and you have the desire to learn, then give it your all and go for it.
Apply your coding skills.
Jeffrey McKim was stuck in an unfulfilling service job and desperately wanted a change. Although people told him he was crazy for thinking he could become a programmer, Jeffrey was determined and channelled his energy into learning to code online in his free time for 18-months. Today, Jeffrey has a successful and rewarding career as a full-time developer. So what helped him achieve is career change success?
“The advice I would give to anyone learning to code is to take the training wheels off as soon as possible. Finished a course on how to build a website? Great. Now go build one by yourself. That was the scariest part to me. It can be intimidating working on projects with your own code editor, but it has to be done.”
Learn by teaching.
Jennifer Nordell is a Treehouse student, our top moderator and valuable member of the Treehouse Community, where she has helped answer hundreds of students’ questions. Jennifer has an incredible drive to learn and has racked up over 100k points since learning with us. With so much experience learning and teaching others to learn to code, we asked Jennifer to share what she wish’d known before when she first started learning to code.
Having answered over 2500 programming questions from other students, I can tell you what I’ve personally learned by helping others… It’s also not enough to be curious about programming. You must stay curious constantly, so if you truly want a better learning experience, take a look at questions that are outside of your current knowledge base.
Remember coding is fun.
After 9 years of serving in the Marine Corps, veteran Billy Le was introduced to programming, which immediately felt like the right career fit. With the help of non-profit organization, Operation Code, Billy learned to code in 12 months and is now a part-time freelance front end developer for a software company. He now also teaching others by building a local community that teaches people how to code. We asked Billy what he wish he’d known from the start of his coding journey.
Don’t give up.
Chris Dabatos was an audiovisual executive assistant with limited future prospects. He knew he needed a new career direction, but one that would allow him to control both his career and his future. After 3 months of dedicating himself to learning to code, Chris landed a junior developer position at a processing company. Less than a year after that, he became the main developer for the company. Today, Chris also has his own YouTube Channel where he shares his experience of life as a developer and encourage people to follow the same path. With a lot of experience speaking to aspiring developers, we asked Chris for his single most valuable piece of advice.
“My #1 piece of advice is to not give up. Know your value. I actually signed up for Treehouse 3 months before I began to take it seriously. I decided it would never happen for me so I canceled. But afterward, I had this inkling feeling telling me, “Chris, if you don’t go all in and learn how to code, you will regret it forever.” So, I signed up again, went all in, and became a developer in 3 months.”
Now we’d love to hear from you! What is the most priceless piece of advice you would share? Comment below.