- Some concepts can be confusing, especially if you are coming from another language.
- It’s hard to find the time (and sometimes the motivation) to learn.
- Once you understand something, it is very easy to forget it again.
- The tooling landscape is so vast and constantly changing that it’s hard to know where to start.
1. Don’t let future decisions stop you from moving forward
One way to help break out of the trap of indecision is to create a road map for what you need to learn. For example, your road map to becoming a front-end developer might look like this:
Breaking this down further, you can build a functional web page with just HTML and CSS. By looking at individual steps laid out in this way, it becomes easier to see what to focus on now so that you don’t waste time worrying about things that should come later.
2. Don’t Let Confidence Trick You To Forgetting Things
When you read something and it makes sense, it can be tempting to move on to the next thing right away. Maybe you figure out the next thing and then move on. But soon, you will reach a point where you will realize that you have forgotten some of the previous things you have learned, so you need to go back. You give a quick look back and revisit the previous concepts to refresh your memory. But now you have forgotten something else. You keep repeating this back-and-forth dance until you reach the point where you realize that you are completely lost. You get frustrated, take a break, and forget everything when you try to come back.
Fortunately, there is a simple two-step cure for this problem:
- Limit the amount of material you learn at once.
- Practice for real – actually write the code.
When you learn a new concept, be sure to try it, play with it, get comfortable with it, and even combine it with other concepts. It’s very important to actually type the code in any of the examples you’re following, because that’s what helps you absorb it. Also, limiting the amount you learn at once will help you retain material, for the simple reason that fewer things are easier to remember.
This process seems like it takes longer to just read things and move faster, but it actually takes much less time because you won’t need to backtrack as much. I learned this the hard way on several occasions.
3. Approach Practice with the Right Mindset
Try this mindset shift:
With a more playful mindset, you’ll learn much faster, you’ll remember things longer, and you’ll have more fun.
4. Make Time to Code Using the Facebook Trick
One of the most common problems people have is that they don’t get the time to code. Often the same people will spend hours on sites like Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia or Reddit. Whether it describes you or not, there are still some lessons to be learned here.
I’ve certainly had times when I only wanted to look at Facebook for a short time, but I ended up being there for hours. How does this happen? This happens precisely because I did not intend to go there for a long time. Getting started on something is the hardest part, so I find it much easier to jump in by keeping the initial commitment small. If someone asks me if I am ready to spend hours on Facebook, I will refuse because I don’t have that kind of time. However, I’m more receptive to the idea of checking just one thing quickly, and that’s how I get sucked.
The good news is that you can use this same psychology to your advantage when learning to code. Try not to commit to several hours of coding because then you will never get the time. Just tell yourself you’re going to try some code for three minutes. You will never struggle to find time again.
5. Think Slow and You’ll Learn Fast
This one seems counterintuitive, so I’ll explain it with a story.
“Catch!” I said. “Slow down, and walk me through each step of this.”
My friend gave me an overall summary of what was happening in the code.
I stopped him again. “You’re still running. Try again, but this time, I want you to study each line of it literally and tell me what’s really happening in each line.”
This time, my friend was better able to explain what was going on in the code. The key was that he took the time to step through each part of it instead of trying to understand everything at once.
In cases like this, slow thinking really helps you learn faster.
6. Write complex code in simple language first
If a piece of code is going to be complicated or unfamiliar, write it in plain language first. That way, you can figure out what you want the code to do before you actually write it. Here are two benefits of this approach:
- Your code will be easier and faster to write because you won’t have to constantly stop and think about how you want it to behave.
- You’ll catch bugs before they happen because you’ll have a clear idea of what the code should be doing.
learn programming languages fast
- Stop worrying about future decisions and dive into it.
- Make practice fun by treating new skills like toys.
- Take the time to code by making only small commitments with sites like Facebook, YouTube, or Wikipedia.
- Slow down, take small steps, and you’ll learn fast.
So how do you go about learning? Do you have any tips or tricks that I haven’t covered here? Or maybe you think it’s all bullshit and that the only way to move forward is to put in twelve hours a day. Either way, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.