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Does everyone struggle to learn code?

Ninjakid

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All my life, people told me I was smart. Teachers had high expectations of me. I was the brain of the family. I even started to believe it.

And then I started to learn code...

It took coding to realize how dumb I really am.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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All my life, people told me I was smart. Teachers had high expectations of me. I was the brain of the family. I even started to believe it.

And then I started to learn code...

It took coding to realize how dumb I really am.
This is the disillusionment stage that brilliant ppl go through when they find something that actually takes effort.

You’re not stupid. It just takes effort.

You’re NOT stupid. This just isn’t easy.

You’ll be probably be awesome at it if you don’t let your ego get in the way. Tell your pride to stfu, buckle your big kid seatbelt, check your mirrors, and learn how to drive.

There’s like fifteen forums where coders help each other. Search Reddit.
 

Jon L

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Yes. Coding is very difficult, if you want to be good at it. Simply setting up your development environment is enough to make you crazy.

Some people are naturally gifted at it, but their giftedness usually comes about because they spent years banging away at it, starting at a very early age.

Edit: No matter how good you are, there will be things that you bang your head against the wall on, for many hours on end (sometimes days or weeks). Once you figure them out, its usually just a few keystrokes that fixes your problem. My lead developer has 20+ years of professional development experience. He's worked on complex systems with thousands to millions of users. Just today, he called me up and said, 'I've been trying to figure this out for almost three hours now. Why is SQL Server giving me this error message?' I only knew the answer to his question because, a year ago, I'd spent 6 hours googling to figure it out.
 
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gemurdock

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javascript is terrible and should not be a first language. Python is a much better first language.
CS Major here. That is terrible advice. Javascript has a huge market actually and is worth learning. Python is also good, but is not necessarily better than JavaScript. What you really need to focus on spirit is learning to code in general. You can do that with any language. Once you learn one language all of the concepts and ideas will transfer to another language. Languages like Javascript or Python will be the easiest ones to learn. You do not have to do anything like memory management for example.

Javascript is used for front end development like VueJS, React... ect. It is also used on the backend with Node. If you do anything with the web you will have to learn it. PHP is also very popular for the backend.

Python is also a very good language and while it can be used for web development most people would never use it for that application. Frameworks like Django make you into a lazy coder and are not that well documented. You could use it for web dev, but there are better choices. Python is great for scripting, data science (python is a must for this), web scraping, and more.

If I were you, just pick a language that is not dying and learn it. The first one is always the worst. Use resources like stackoverflow, coding form for the language you are learning, build projects (this is a must) in the language you learning, and try solving problems on About - Project Euler to gain skill. It just takes practice.
 

Ninjakid

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This is the disillusionment stage that brilliant ppl go through when they find something that actually takes effort.

You’re not stupid. It just takes effort.

You’re NOT stupid. This just isn’t easy.

You’ll be probably be awesome at it if you don’t let your ego get in the way. Tell your pride to stfu, buckle your big kid seatbelt, check your mirrors, and learn how to drive.

There’s like fifteen forums where coders help each other. Search Reddit.
I don't consider myself to be brilliant. If I am being objective, I'd probably rate my intelligence as just above average, but not genius.

I know people who are actually have genius level intelligence. They can understand calculus, physics, and other scientific stuff with little to no effort and they're star academics, and excellent in school.

One thing I've noticed though is these same people are very lazy. Everything comes easy to them, so they never have to try. With little effort they already outperform almost everyone else.

The only thing I was blessed with is obsession. I tend to get obsessed with something I'm interested in, and pursue it to a high degree. But being good at something still requires a ton of effort and frustration on my part.

So yes, I'm accepted the fact that anything worth pursuing take a level of effort and discomfort.

I haven't spent a lot of time on Reddit, but maybe I'll check some of those sub-reddits out. Thanks :smile2:
 

SamRussell

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Everything that is worth learning is hard.

I see this with guitar students a lot. They struggle with something, and worry they're stupid and they're crappy players.

If you're struggling, all that means is that you are at the very edge of your ability envelope, and you just have to keep wrestling with it. Maybe the breakthrough will come in an hour, maybe it will come next week... but if you keep wrestling with it, it will come.

I think this sort of thinking comes from event vs process thinking, a belief in natural talent, and not knowing what learning really is.

Learning isn't reciting a bunch of bullshit, like we're taught in school. It's sitting with something for a week thinking "wtf is this", and using trial and error to try out several different angles before you figure out what's going on. And then making a mini prototype in a different scenario to test you actually got it.

So the short answer - stop worrying and just keep chipping away at it!
 

GIlman

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It’s like anything in life, there are no absolutes to any question you ask. Some people will find it really easy and some incredibly hard. Coding is the one thing in life that always came super easy to me. I taught myself to code Basic at 6, C at 10, and have learned other languages usually with less than 20-40 hours of practice to be proficient enough.

From talking to others, I don’t think this is typical. For whatever reason for me that was just my one gift in life.

But, then there are tons of things a lot of people pick up easily that I really struggle with. I’m not the most social person, and for example one on one sales has always been extremely difficult for me. I don’t read people that well, and that creates a lot of difficulty for me in various scenarios. But...even though I struggle with this, I'm am still continuously working to develop these skills as much as possible for me.

The key is to find your aptitudes and play to your strengths. I’ve done extremely well for myself in business over the years by focusing on the things that I can do well, find work arounds for the things that I can’t do well, and on occasion getting others to do the things that I simply don’t do well and can’t find a work around.
 

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Vegvisir

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I'm currently doing Codeacademy also and its starting to remind me of my math journey. In my K-12 education I always excelled at math and it came very easily to me so I choose engineering in college. Then came along Calculus 1-3 and Differential Equations. It was a real eye opener to what type of effort it takes to learn and understand technical skills like coding and mathematics. I had to use the free tutors our college offered and youtube videos to make it through.

Heres the bottom line, theres a reason STEM people get payed good money. Its because it takes persistent sustained effort and practice to understand those skills well enough to know what your are doing. For some people this comes naturally because they are interested in it which makes learning so much easier or they have been doing it from a young age. For others they have to rely on brute will to make it through, I'm in the later camp when it comes to coding but its a skill i need for a business venture so I refuse to quite till i get it, you need the same mindset.

Utilize all your resources when doing codeacademy. Download the PDF cheatsheets at the end of each lesson, google areas you get stuck on, look at examples of the element being used in other code on google images, take good notes on your own, and lastly you can post here and I'm sure other more advanced people can help too.

Good luck and keep at it.
 

kelvinfernandezm

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Whenever you get stuck remember this two things.

1. You never really learn coding. Coding is always changing. Focus on the abstract concepts and try to map them in your brain.

2. Bill Gates bought the software that would later become Windows from another programmer because he didn't know how to do it and it was just easier to buy it.
 

Jeff Noel

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People don't always realize it, but coding requires creativity, a lot of it.

You need to find THE language that gets you all excited. The one where you keep searching for more stuff just for the sake of it. The one that gets you coding side-projects just because you want to code even more.

Once you found it, it's relatively easy to scale up your learning process and assimilate more related knowledge.

For me, it was Javascript... BUT, I had some experience of .NET (C#, VB.NET) and PHP beforehand and was already doing web development as a job when that happened.

Then I had to switch my main coding language and lost ALL motivation.
 
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neoswarm

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I'm a "software architect" (a glorified name for a programmer). I even have a CS degree so I'm no slouch. We are currently re-architecting/re-writing our $30+ Million/monthly recurring application and for the first time in years I'm a bit lost. I know I will find the promised land -- as I've done it before many times. The tools change, the languages -- it's never "easy" building & learning something worthwhile. It's funny -- just today I felt like quitting my job :) But I know better than that.....I'm in the best spot in my life to build my business (I work remote and have 'unlimited' time off).

The struggle is real.....even with veterans.
 

Ninjakid

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stack exchange is also invaluable. Check out Quora and do a search for questions about programming, in particular the mindset of top level programmers. Its really interesting to hear from people that are at the absolute top of their game, and have been doing programming for many decades.
Oh yeah, stack exchange is my go-to place. Super helpful to the programming community in general. Even top-level programmers use stack exchange regularly. I'd love to get to a point where i know an API so well that I don't need it, but I don't know if I have enough brain power for that.

This so much. My best friend from like 1st grade. He was this gifted guy and a few others. Literally slept through classes and destroyed everyone. There is a certain genetic gift that makes people good at this type of naturally stuff. Logic, Physic, Math. Anyone can do it, but if you ain’t gifted like these people, you gotta compensate hard with struggle and time.

It is better to bet on your strengths. My friend I was talking about is not an entrepreneur, but a software engineer. Life is easy for him because he bet on his strengths.

Not gonna lie, find something you are good at. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Don't try to make a weakness a strength.
I also noticed people tend to gravitate towards skills they're good at and pick up easily.

That said, I honestly believe hard work beats talent. Obsessive people do incredible things.
 

Dr. Fastlane

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Python is also a very good language and while it can be used for web development most people would never use it for that application. Frameworks like Django make you into a lazy coder and are not that well documented. You could use it for web dev, but there are better choices. Python is great for scripting, data science (python is a must for this), web scraping, and more.
Django is not well documented? What?
It's one of the best documented web frameworks across different languages, not just Python. I generally don't participate in debates about one language against another as it's futile and subjective. But documentation is very easy to debate, you either have it or don't. Django clearly does.
 

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Yes you will be lost for a while. It's totally normal. First you need to get the hang of syntax of your language. But you don't know the grammar, the structure and logic of how it flows, so it's still bewildering. Once you get the structure and logic of programming, then it'll all click. I like to learn languages by creating simple games.

Once you've done that with a few languages, then learning any programming language is a breeze. They're all the same in essence.

Except PHP. F*** PHP.
 

Never1

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This thread is a breath of fresh air. I’m reasonably competent in HTML and CSS, know some JS and I’ve concluded that my web app / SAAS concept will be primarily built using Angular with a mix of other frameworks in later versions/feature upgrades.

right now I’m balls deep in learning it. I’m crawling along, but slowly things are coming together and I’m actually retaining things, but yes, it’s a grind. But I’m actually really enjoying the process.

Thank you for this thread. The replies have made me feel much better about the snails pace of my “education”.
 

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Haha I'm literally dealing with the same feeling.

I'm 2.5 months into daily Python practice starting from almost no coding knowledge.

I was cruising through courses until I got into an intermediate data science course. All of a sudden the code stopped making sense.

I realized I didn't have enough base knowledge to build on yet so I went back to a more beginner course and am working through it. Thankfully it makes sense again.

Coding is one of those things that makes it really clear when you don't know what's going on. It's actually a good thing.

I've learned a lot of other skills where it wasn't so easy to know why I wasn't successful. With coding it's obvious when I can't understand a syntax that I need to figure out what the hell I'm reading.

It's def nice to hear others expressing the same thing. It cements in my mind that it's natural to struggle with this just like learning any other language.
 

Ubu_roi

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I'm a complete novice, but I suppose the requirements for the application would likely dictate what languages and framework to use, for current iterations and future 2.0+ versions of the finished product? This would render the "which is best" comment war pointless. Case by case subjectivity above everything.
It's not (always) that simple: yes, sometimes the requirements dictate the language and framework: for example if someone asks you to create a Wordpress plugin, you definitely have to stick to php.

But there's a lot of overlap for the most common scenarios. For example if somebody asks you to create a web application for an event (enroll, see the program, download speaker's materials etc.) you could choose among dozens of languages, frameworks, and architectural patterns.

Answering @Brewmacker question on an alternative route to php, I suggested Firebase and .net Core, which I think are the "best" tools to create full stack applications: one very easy, the second very complete. And by "best" I mean those that can create a reliable and maintainable software in less time than their alternatives.
 

André Casal

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I'm learning JavaScript on Codecademy, and so far I've been understanding most of it. However, I'm currently completely lost on an Advanced Objects project.

Does everyone struggle to learn code? I feel really dumb right now, and not sure if I should just look up the solution and skip ahead.
Being a computer science tutor for more than 14 years I can tell you with certainty that if you don't understand something, it's not because you're dumb, it's because whoever's teaching it doesn't understand it well enough to explain it simply and clearly.

Do you want to make your doubt explicit so I can help?

I'm doing a full course on HTML, CSS and JS after I'm done creating the VS Code course btw.
 
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spirit

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I'm learning JavaScript on Codecademy, and so far I've been understanding most of it. However, I'm currently completely lost on an Advanced Objects project.

Does everyone struggle to learn code? I feel really dumb right now, and not sure if I should just look up the solution and skip ahead.
 

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Tourmaline

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@Brewmacker ASP.NET. The best and fastest websites in the world run on .NET. Yes PHP can make great websites too, but I see zero reason to bother with it if you have a choice. Plus there's a gigantic developer base across the world for help and hire.

ASP.NET can make any complexity of backend and make MVC or whatever variant desired for a clean secure frontend.
 

Remiremi

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In a nutshell :
Yes it's hard, keep practicing.

P. S. : code has an exponential learning curve, you can start and only observing tiny progress for several months to a year, then boom, it clicks. Then you will keep getting noticeably better and better every hour you spend grinding the skill.
 

csalvato

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Yes, it's hard. Mostly because we aren't wired to learn math and engineering the way we are wired to learn things like language.

It's a difficult process of purposefully hitting a wall, taking a break, and going back to the wall again (and realizing the wall isn't there anymore).

Everyone learning coding needs to read this book, even if they are not struggling:


This will be a very rewarding exercise for anyone learning, though.
 

MoreValue

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I don't consider myself to be brilliant. If I am being objective, I'd probably rate my intelligence as just above average, but not genius.

I know people who are actually have genius level intelligence. They can understand calculus, physics, and other scientific stuff with little to no effort and they're star academics, and excellent in school.

One thing I've noticed though is these same people are very lazy. Everything comes easy to them, so they never have to try. With little effort they already outperform almost everyone else.

The only thing I was blessed with is obsession. I tend to get obsessed with something I'm interested in, and pursue it to a high degree. But being good at something still requires a ton of effort and frustration on my part.
This so much. My best friend from like 1st grade. He was this gifted guy and a few others. Literally slept through classes and destroyed everyone. There is a certain genetic gift that makes people good at this type of stuff naturally. Logic, Physic, Math. Anyone can do it, but if you ain’t gifted like these people, you gotta compensate hard with struggle and time.

It is better to bet on your strengths. My friend I was talking about is not an entrepreneur, but a software engineer. Life is easy for him because he bet on his strengths.

Not gonna lie, find something you are good at. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Don't try to make a weakness a strength.
 
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Ubu_roi

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Yes, everyone struggles when learning to code.

I've taught coding to thousands of people, and every single one struggles at some point (and not just for my teaching skills, or lack of). I also struggle when learning new frameworks and languages, but it gets faster and less frustrating with time.

So keep calm, and keep coding.

Javascript is great to start:it's flexible, and makes short things that in other languages are much longer. And generally speaking, in programming short is good. The only downside, it's definitely not the easiest to debug. Which will give you a lot of experience.

Two small tips:
1. Something that generally helps a lot are the great examples at JavaScript Tutorial. You'll find some on Objects as well.
2. 'use strict'. Always.

And I must totally agree with @Tourmaline here: I hate PHP. So happy I'm not alone in this world.

Everything else, go for it!
 

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