Jonathan Puc

@jonathanpuc

The difficulties of teaching yourself how to code and learning to prioritize.

The amount of technologies, frameworks, languages and information served on a platter to those in the programming world is truly amazing. It is something we are fortunate to have as developers in this day and age.

But, it can also be a detriment to us, especially to those who are new and wanting to join the programming space.

I’ve begun reading ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller, and I find that it makes so much sense in the context of programming as well.

The book begins with a Russian proverb that goes ‘If you chase two rabbits…. you will not catch either one’.

Just like a beginner who wants to learn their first programming language and is stuck between learning JavaScript or Ruby. They try dabble into both and end up moving everywhere but going nowhere. I’ve even had individuals message me asking which text editor they should use when they haven’t even grasped the fundamentals of HTML.

I’m not saying the road to learning code is a clear cut and narrow path, it is far from it. But if beginners become aware and filter out the noise, things they were perhaps misinformed about or led to believe were important — they’ll find that their journey isn't so vast or scary at all.

Don’t mean to open Pandora’s box with the whole self-taught vs bootcamps vs computer science degrees debate but here’s why I think the bootcamp and college route is a good option.

They have structure. Plain and simple, there is zero noise as there is a clear cut curriculum that has been created by the institution, a curriculum that aims to turn newbies to job ready candidates. Furthermore, these faculties provide support for these learners, providing feedback along the way, which can make such a big difference. I’m a self-taught developer with a non-related degree and sometimes wish I had discovered web development earlier, so I could’ve taken a different route.

That isn’t to say you cant have structure when taking the self-taught route, it’s just that it may be a longer and more difficult journey, especially when first starting out. There are so many resources out there to get started but can often place beginners in the Buridan’s ass paradox, where the donkey can’t choose between two options and ends up choosing none at all, dying of hunger.

You may find yourself creating a todo list of things to learn and the problem with that is that in itself. It should be a success list, not a todo list. The difference? Gary Keller’s main message in the book is that not all things are equal, some have more weight than others in determining success.

Your list should persist of things you should do as opposed to things you could do and it is often hard for beginners to tell the difference with which is which, in a self-taught environment.

This is why I’m planning to write a guide catered towards absolute beginners who want to learn how to code. It’ll be a simple yet helpful, step-by-step guide on where and how to start.

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