So you’ve decided that you want to learn code.
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?
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?
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:
- HTML5 Foundations by Matt West
- HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites by John Duckett
- JavasSript and JQuery: Interactive Front End Development by John Duckett
- How Software Works by Spraul
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
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.