The Relicans

Cover image for 3 tips to make Self Learning work for you

3 tips to make Self Learning work for you

First, I have to warn you that I am not a seasoned programmer giving you advice. I started learning to code at the end of 2018, and am pretty much still a newbie. But, no one is better than a newbie to understand another one right? I am proud of all I have learned so far, and every day I am closer to my goal: Being a badass developer!

So here are the 3 things that have made my journey a bit easier:

1. Having a mentor

My older brother is a Senior Developer in Brazil and he knows his code. Once he decided to help me learn to code, he was all in.

To this day, he tells me what I should be focusing on and gives me exercises to practice.

Since he is also my older brother, he is great at scolding me lol . What is annoying but helpful when I procrastinate or start losing motivation.

So my first piece of advice is to find yourself a mentor.

Somebody that knows the #programmerLife and is excited about sharing what they know.

It may be even more helpful if this person is friendly but intimidates you a bit.

Also I have to confess that My wish to make my older brother proud of me helps me a lot!

Severus Snape from Harry Potter, telling the class to open the book on page

2. Find the right resources for your learning style

There are A LOT of courses out there, in every topic.

I recommend finding in which way you learn better. Is it video? Reading? Doing?

Hands on resources like CodeAcademy and FreeCodeCamp are great. Using them WITH the video courses on the side is even better.

When choosing your courses, don't go and buy something just because of the reviews or recommendations. See if you can watch some material by that professor beforehand .

The first JavaScript course that I tried was terrible for me.

While the content was great The teacher's method just didn't reach my brain and I almost gave up on learning JS! And that was a very famous course, with tons of awesome reviews. It was not the professor’s fault. It was just that his teaching style didn’t match with my brain.

But after that I found another one, that had me falling in love with JavaScript and programming. It makes me actually excited to watch the classes and I look forward to the exercises.
Student bored on classroom

3. Take the time to learn and but don't burn yourself out

Once I started learning, my brother would actually tell me to not study more than one hour a day. Which was very difficult for my curious self, but most of the days I did that.

Nowadays I study 1 or 2 hours a day, some days more, some less, but I always take a break when my brain gets foggy.

On the other hand, I have my study time consistent.

I know that I work better in the morning, so I wake up early, get ready for the day, and study for an hour or so.

I kept this routine almost every day for the first year I was learning how to code. I am not as consistent now that I have a job in tech, but I do plan on getting back to it.

Could I have studied for longer hours when I got started? Probably. But that was what worked for me at that moment, and I respected my body and brain’s signals and stopped when they told me to.

Find what works for you, but start slow, respect your time and your mental health.

porcupine chilling while floating in water

Starting to code can be intimidating, wild, but also fun!

Creating something from zero with clear code is one of the best feelings, especially in the very beginning.

If you choose the self-learning route I high five you!

You can do it, freeeeeeend!

You totally can :)

I would love to know what helps YOU to deal with self-learning better, so please comment, especially if you are a newbie like myself.

Also, I stream on Twitch almost every day, talking about live in tech and learning to code, so please follow me there and stop by to say hi and chat, any day!


Pachi C.

Discussion (3)

xomiamoore profile image
Mia Moore

I love the point about finding the right resources for you! I tried a course on Python that really didn't work for me. Instead of realizing it wasn't the right fit for me, I blamed myself for not working hard enough, which isn't helpful for anyone. It wasn't until I tried a different course that I realized the first one wasn't right for me. I wasted a lot of time trying to make it work and beating myself up instead of pivoting to something else.

pachicodes profile image
Pachi 🪐 (she/her/ela) Author

YES. Sometimes it is just not a match to our brains wiring lol

lelepg profile image
Leticia Pegoraro Garcez

I'd also give another tip that helps me a lot: have a clear project goal. When we talk about goals, most people thing about goals like " I wanna be a frontend developer", but that is a problematic goal. I've been reading a little about SMART goals, which are goals that must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based (therefore the name SMART), and setting SMART goals is really awesome. So, a clear project goal as I said earlier would be something like "I want to create my version of linktree using React in one month". With this kind of goal you can focus on learning everything you need to achieve it on that period of time, and then you can set another goal to a different project, that uses everything you already know about the technology you are learning and something else that you have to learn specifically to that project. This way, you can use projects to see your improvement, create a portfolio, keep yourself motivated and learn new things at the sime time. It's a win from all sides. :)