To Aspiring Programmers: There’s A Secret to Escape Your Coding Anxiety Trap
Let’s be honest, learning to code is like riding an emotional roller coaster. You will feel the burst of motivation and excitement at the beginning, which soon becomes discouragement and frustration when you hit the “dip”. Scary as it may sound, it is still an inevitable part of the journey. As you cannot prevent yourself from “going down” sometimes, the best way to deal with coding anxiety is knowing how to keep your motivation afloat especially during those moments.
So, how can we make our path to become a professional software developer less stressful and more enjoyable? How can we make the steep learning curve seem less intimidating and more encouraging? How can we keep our spirits high when we’re failing?
Hear me out.
Tip #1: Understand that your feeling is totally valid.
I guess when it comes to your emotions, the very first thing you should do is being able to call them by their exact names. Are you disappointed? Nervous? Jealous? Insecure? Doing so can help you dive deeply into finding where those feelings come from. We explained 4 root causes of anxiety that software developers often experience in “To Aspiring Programmer: Feel the Coding Anxiety but Don’t Let It Take Over You”. Those issues happen to almost every single developer, whether they have already had some years of solid experience under their belt or just recently started typing down a line of code. That means you are definitely NOT the only one who is struggling.
How you feel about your own journey matters. If it is impossible for you to keep up with 16 hours of coding, don’t do it. It’s very easy to fall into the peer comparison trap that you’re being left behind by everyone. But life isn’t a competition. Your success in programming isn’t mutually exclusive to successes of your fellow coders. Aim for daily goals, take a break every now and then, and don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Tip #2: Learn one programming language at a time.
Tech industry is always in flux, which means things will never stay constant. And because of that, people are often left being overwhelmed at the enormous amount of knowledge they need to constantly update while refreshing and maintaining what they have learnt so far. If you are new to programming and feeling like there is a lot to learn, there is.
While many will disagree with me on this, I personally think coding newbies should focus on learning a particular language and keep practicing until they know it like their mother tongue before moving onto the others. The hardest part of programming isn’t learning the language itself, but understanding how to solve the problems. If you manage to build a strong foundation and know how to break things down into smaller pieces of code in one programming language, you will find it so much easier to learn any of the others. Pick one option and give it a really hard push. It may be tough at first but once you get through the difficult part, you can enjoy that “compound effect” to level up your chance of success later.
Tip #3: Get yourself a personal mentor.
Yeah, we get it… coding is stressful. Things can get pretty tough that you don’t see yourself making any progress and have a strong desire to call it a quit. Sometimes you will look at your own insecurities, feeling extremely inadequate about how little you know and doubting all of your accomplishments. You need someone to remind you of why you started everything… A mentor…
Tip #4: Never learn to code alone.
They say: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It cannot be more accurate for aspiring programmers. Lots of people consider coding as a lonely career because your soulmate is your computer, your best friend is the keyboard, and nobody except for machines can understand what you’re trying to express. If you happen to be the first one in your family to learn coding, there will surely be countless moments when you have to internalise your hardships and bottle up your feelings because your parents are simply not “your kind”.
Find yourself a friend or a group of people who are also in the same situation as you. Learn together, check in with them regularly, and talk about the progress, difficulties, victories, or just day-to-day. Knowing that there’s always someone like you out there can help you avoid feeling discouraged by major setbacks and give you the motivation to move forward.
If you’ve recently experienced coding anxiety, know that you’re not alone and we’re all in this together. If you want to find yourself a personal mentor who was once in your place or a community of coding freshers, join us at The Hacker Collective. Or feel free to reach out to us if you just want to talk about how you feel and what you’ve been through lately. We’re more than happy to help.
Remember this: Coding is tough, but so are you.