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3 typical challenges when learning to code

#1 It’s intimidating to begin

Programming syntaxes look like an alien language. For an absolute beginner with no prior background, it’s indeed intimidating. What if I start learning and still don’t understand this gibberish?

To the rescue: Everybody experiences this when they learn something completely new! Imagine if you have to learn how to dance and sing! It can be overwhelming to a lot of people. The key is to be ready to get lost. Be explorative. Embrace the baby steps. Celebrate every small win! Help yourself visualize your success. For example, once you learn basic HTML & CSS, build a silly website for your dog!

#2 I am stuck with this annoying “bug”

Once you take the leap to learn to code, you will soon face your first challenges. You’re stuck on something (probably a software bug) in midst of lessons! There can be multiple reasons. You didn’t read the instructions completely. The instructions don’t fully match your computer’s working environment. Coding is a dynamic environment where different computers might experience different things at different steps. And, the development tools we used are being changed and updated every day! It can be a mess! Sometimes, the bug might just be a result of your spelling mistakes.

To the rescue: Solve one thing at a time, and don’t be afraid of multiple nested problems. When you are solving problem A, it might be telling you that you have to solve problem B first. And, when you try to solve problem B, problem C occurs. This already sounds frustrating, but it’s normal! We, developers, experience this every single day. Get used to it with the help of mentors. If you are a persistent person, you will eventually find the answer through Googling. But, experience really helps here. And, mentors are here to help you “debug”! Even experienced developers might, every now and then, spend hours or days to solve a silly bug. This is why they can help you solve bugs in minutes because they have seen it all and suffered the pain.

#3 Am I too stupid to code?

People tell you that coding is “easy”, and it turns out it’s not. Is it because coding is actually hard? Or, is it because “I am too stupid”. This is a typical mindset we’re seeing right now.

To the rescue: Like learning anything, some people learn faster, while others learn slower. Think of it as learning how to run. You are not going to run a marathon on Day 1. And, when you compete, you are competing against your yesterday self and trying to beat your yesterday’s records. At the end of the day, people are good at different things. It comes down to how much you really want it. If you truly want it, you will get it eventually.

Here are similar questions people also have:

Am I too old to begin?

See #3

I am afraid that coding will be hard and difficult.

See #1 and Why coding looks scary

How long does it take?

See #3

It’s taking me a lot of time to learn something. Maybe I am not suitable for this.

See #3 and Learn to Code: It’s Easier Than You Might Think

How do I figure out if I have it in me to learn to code?

See #3

I don’t know how to begin at all.

See #1 and Read this before you learn to code