If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already decided why you want to learn to code. But whether your goal is to level up your existing career, embark on a new one, or simply work on a side project, you’re probably going to need to fit learning to code around your 9-5 job. This can seem like a daunting task, but after talking to Treehouse students across the world who have learned to code, I can assure you that it’s incredible what you can accomplish by committing as little as 15 minutes a day to learning.
So if you’re ready to make the commitment, how should you factor learning to code into your 9-5?
Decide when you’ll learn
The first step is to decide when in your schedule you can facilitate learning. Choosing the best time to learn will vary depending on your daily routine, but here are a few suggested times to consider.
- Early Birds: If you have a busy household or work long days, try learning in the morning before work when your mind is fresh and undistracted. Depending on how you get to work, there’s also always the option of continuing to learn on your commute.
- Use Your Breaks: If your work schedule allows for it, another option is to make the most of the breaks in your working day. I’d even suggest discussing your learning goals with your manager. In many cases, they’ll likely on board with your commitment. If they are, take it one step further and discuss a learning budget with them? A great example of that in action is at MailChimp, the world’s leading email marketing platform, where employees are encouraged to dedicate time each day to sharpening their coding skills with Treehouse.
- Night Owls: If you’re less of a morning person (like myself), then spending time learning in the evening is a great alternative. The caveat is that it can be challenging to find the motivation after a long day at work. But, provided you can establish a routine and keep the end goal in mind, it’s a productive way to spend a part of your evening.
- BONUS: Catch up on the weekends: Regardless of which time of day works best for your schedule, I’d also recommend dedicating sometime during the weekends to your coding (you’ll be surprised by how quickly you find yourself hooked on it anyway). Even if it’s just an hour, that extra boost is a great way to keep your learning pace or make up for any coding time cut short during a busy week.
Decide where you’ll learn
Once you’ve decided on the when it’s time to establish the where. The environment is important when you’re learning. Try to base yourself somewhere you’re comfortable and if possible, free from distractions. If you do find yourself learning in a busier setting—like your office, in a coffee shop or on a commute—I’d recommend creating an awesome playlist to drown out the background noise and help you stay focused (check out the Treehouse Stereo series for some inspiration).
One of the benefits of learning to code is that all you need is a computer and an internet connection. Make the most of the flexibility and try out learning in different places till you find the best learning environment that works for you.
With these important decisions made, you’ve successfully created a framework for your learning. Now you’ll need to set your learning goals and establish a routine. Tune in next week for another post that will guide you through those final prep steps and propel you forward into your learning.