It has only been about six months since I starting taking coding seriously as a career pursuit. During this time I have done things that have helped to advance my learning to code and I have also made mistakes that have hindered it.

Regarding the latter, there are two things that come to mind that if I could do things over, I would do differently. Also, in talking with other CodeNewbies, they seem to be mistakes that many others make.

TOO LITTLE OF TOO MUCH

I learned HTML and CSS. Next, I tackled JavaScript. Then the coding world seemed to open up. It was like……..oooh jQuery, ahhh static sites (Jekyll), oooh Ruby……Rails!…… I got to a point where I knew very little about a lot. And the problem with this is when you start to move on to other things, since you were not grounded in the previous, you forget it.

In addition, since you have a surface level understanding of many things, your websites and applications suck. They are amateur. You start to make up solutions to float issues, column widths (that come back to bite you later)….you start to copy code from other places because you just do not remember how to navigate the DOM with JS, etc., and basically you do not truly gain any ground in coding.

Looking back, it is better to identify your career goals and pursuits, and stick to one language at first. I should have stuck exclusively with JavaScript for this entire six months (especially since JavaScript is in high demand currently). Actually, one can make a great living out of knowing HTML/CSS and JavaScript.

Try not to learn every language at first. Pick one (or two), and dig deep into that one exclusively. There is plenty of time in the future to learn others.

THE PERPETUAL LEARNER

The other mistake I made was convincing myself that I must keep learning more and more and more. Let me try Treehouse. Let me try Codeschool. Let me try Treehouse again. Oooh Udacity has this thing that sounds nice, let me jump there.

Now we all have to be constantly learning. What I am getting at is there must come a point where one is ready. If you are always in a learning mode, when can you begin to contribute back? At some point one has to look up from all the learning to code and build something, break something, and put all of this learning to practice.

I love Treehouse and Codeschool and still use them. But I also need to practice what I am learning and not thinking that I need to learn more before I can accomplish that.

Conclusion

These are two mistakes that, in retrospect, did nothing but hold me back.

Do not try to grace every language’s kiddie pool with your presence, but get in the deep end with one or two and swim for a while.

Also, be proactive in recognizing when you are under the spell of perpetual learning. Those who are successful create things (and break things) while learning to code.

What other mistakes did you make (have you made) as a CodeNewbie? 

Travis Rodgers

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Hi, I'm the Travis in Travis.Media. I'm a self-taught software developer, blogger, and YouTuber, sharing everything I'm learning along the way.

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