IndustryFind (and Keep) Your Motivation to Code

Ashley Harpp
writes on August 23, 2016

So you’ve decided that you want to learn code.

You’ve signed up for Treehouse and understand who does what in the tech industry. You’re confident and ready to begin your quest into the unknown.

It’s true, learning to code can be an exciting venture. Not only are you learning a new language, but you’re discovering how technology works. Soon, you’ll be building your own websites and applications, and the sky is the limit.

But what happens when the initial excitement wears off? Don’t get me wrong, coding is exciting but there will be challenges — how do you deal with these problems and stay motivated to continue learning?

Start learning to code today with Treehouse.

1. Connect with the culture

One way to stay motivated is to be around others who are. Reading articles from well-known developers is a great way to learn new tricks, and avoid rookie mistakes.

If you’re taking a course on Treehouse, you can follow your instructors on Twitter or find articles they’ve written on the web. Why not follow them on Twitter and see what they’re up to?

A lack of motivation doesn’t make you a bad person, you may just need to be inspired. Chris Coyier and Hampton Catlin are two popular developers who are active in the tech community.

Another way to connect with the culture is to be active in the Treehouse community. You can ask questions or help other students with their struggles in learning code. Connecting with other developers can be both encouraging and rewarding.

Read books that inspire you and help you to think like a developer. Critical thinking skills are imperative when coding because you never know what problems may come up. This is why having a solid foundation is important.

There are tons or resources out there, but here are a few books I recommend:

Read books that inspire you and help you to think like a developer. Critical thinking skills are imperative when coding because you never know what problems may come up.

2. Celebrate each win — even the small ones

There’s never a win too small to celebrate when you’re learning to code. I remember learning from Treehouse how to create a Random Number Game with Javascript. It was a huge accomplishment to me, and I celebrated by showing everyone I knew.

Don’t hold back from sharing your accomplishments with others.

A great place to share your success and be inspired is Codepen.io. CodePen is a coding playground for front end developers. If you’re just learning the ropes and want to test your code this is a great place to do it.

You can create your own pens, collections, and view the work of others if you need extra motivation. Why not create a pen with your newfound skills and see how many likes you generate? This is just one of the many ways you can share your code with others.

Contributing to an open source project is another great way to get experience and have find success.

It’s true, coding can be difficult starting out, especially if your background isn’t technical. But celebrating wins (even the small ones) will build your confidence to continue learning.

This will give you the motivation needed to keep going when you face challenges that make you question if learning code is worth the effort. Remember, there’s always a benefit as long as you remain consistent and motivated.

3. Set Realistic Goals

While learning to code has many advantages, it can be overwhelming. If you’re new to the tech world, you may wonder:

“Where do I start?”

“How much time do I need to dedicate to this?”

“I have a family, is it possible to learn code in my situation?”

Those are all valid questions. If you give your circumstances an honest evaluation, you can set realistic goals that you’ll be happy with. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of coding languages, and it’s difficult to know where to start. Treehouse gives you a solid foundation by helping you decide just that.

Finally, consider the following when setting your goals:

  • If you have a family or other commitments and can only dedicate one hour, or 30 mins a day to Treehouse — don’t be discouraged.
  • Focus on the end goal and keep a positive attitude. Write down your goals on a calendar, or use an app to remind you.
  • Instead of thinking, “one hour a day won’t teach me anything” think about what one hour a day equates to after a month. For example, the Rails Track on Treehouse is 32 hours long. If you dedicate one hour every day for a little over a month you’ll complete the entire track! Now you can set a goal to learn Rails in month’s time.
  • Write down your goals, and jump into action. Eventually, you’ll look back with amazement at how much you’ve learned.
  • All of us need inspiration in one way or another. Don’t let a lack of motivation keep you from accomplishing your dreams of learning code.

There will be challenges along the way, but there’s always a benefit. Stay motivated by connecting with the culture, celebrating wins, and setting realistic goals.


Anyone can be a developer. Challenge yourself to prove it with the Techdegree Program.

Imagine What You Can Do in a Year: Ashley Harpp’s Story

8 Responses to “Find (and Keep) Your Motivation to Code”

  1. I think you may have just motivated me to give coding yet another try. I always start out strong but then end up giving up because I feel like I’m not getting anywhere and get demoralized. I think I might give it another try but this time try some of the things you suggested, especially #1. Talking to people, especially other beginners, seems like it could really help me stay motivated.

  2. I’ve thought alot about motivation. And here is what I do.
    Every thing I feel interested in, which recently is reading about american history. So say im in the library reading my fav book on an interesting american president. I say, man there is some way this could be easier and more fun with a computer! By making an app of all the fun facts i learn, by making a website devoted to my love of histroy, by this or that or this.
    I also love food and I think of apps that would be so cool and useful if I knew how to code I could make interesting apps that would make the food I want easier, and mabye even find me better more healthy food.
    just extrapolate that to any of your interests. But.. the BEST feeling is when you’ve fianlly sat down to code and you love learning just for the sake of learning something interesting and useful, coding can be like a fun game or puzzle to keep your mind sharp, irregardless of the tremdous usefulness and infinite possibilities.

  3. Thanks for this great article Ashley, I find motivation as the biggest factor.
    Whenever I complete a small milestone and I share it with my friends to keep myself motivated and it also inspires me a lot.

  4. Thank you for this article! As a current student of Treehouse, this was a very timely reminder in keeping the motivation going for coding. With daily life, coding can sometimes be placed on the bottom of to do list, especially when a person is in the learning stages. Implementing the advice of setting goals of celebrating the small wins is just wanted I needed to read at the moment. Thanks again.

  5. Mathew Vrsansky on August 24, 2016 at 11:11 am said:

    Amazing article!!! Thank you so much 🙂 . Good job.

  6. I like the article and all but I did have an issue. Coding is a problem solving tool, I am not driven by a motivation to code I am driven by a motivation to solve problems. No one would write an article for carpenters to help find the motivation to keep hammering.. And success is not found in the motivation to begin, but in the discipline to keep going.. Disciple > motivation

    • Faye Bridge on August 25, 2016 at 2:54 am said:

      That’s a great point, Derrick. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Self-discipline and perseverance are also key to succeeding when learning to code. They’re also essential qualities to have when you’re a developer as you’re constantly learning and growing your skills.

  7. Thanks for mentioning HTML5 Foundations Ashley! 🙂

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