Am I relying on hints and tips too much?

Hi guys,
I do not have a background in Computer Science but I am hoping to be MSc Computer course (conversion) or Junior role ready in the next few months.

I’ve been watching online tutorials on Youtube and working on FCC projects for a little while now. I definitely give the challenges my 100%. I am loving the experience as I find myself lost in coding for hours until I ‘have to’ eat/sleep/work. I know I want to be a Full stack developer but I am worried that I rely too much on the ‘Get a Hint’ tab of FCC challeneges. Despite sifting through all the resources provided, I keep making mistakes or not even getting close to the solution I am supposed to. After exhausting all the resources I have, I work through the hints and then the final solution and I’m like ’ HOW THE F**** DID I NOT GET THAT!!!’:exploding_head: I understand the solution explanation but I am worried I am not getting to the solution on my own.

Anyone else been here? Does it get better or is it detrimental to getting a SD job? Any advice (except quit now!) would be gratefully recieved. Thanks guys! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Yes, it gets better. The best advice I ever received was to just keep building things, don’t worry too much about not being able to build those nice clean solutions first (or second, or third…) time around. Look up the answers if you’re completely stuck, and internalise that. Copy the solution by actually typing in the code, play around with it, try to break it. Just as long as you understand why someone wrote a solution the way they did. Next time you build something similar, you’ll use that knowledge. You’ll forget bits of it, so keep your copy and refer back to it until you don’t need to. You can’t learn everything, but the knowledge will build upon itself. Keep going until basic stuff becomes muscle memory. It’s similar to playing an instrument. You wouldn’t be expected to figure out scales by yourself, or figure out how music notation works: you would practice scales over and over again until it becomes automatic, you would keep reading notation until you the time delay between figuring out the notes on paper and making your hands move to the right places drops close to zero. You would likely play other peoples music for a long time before you started writing music yourself.

The more you get into this, things like syntax, or remembering what built-in functions do what, they stop mattering as much, and you start just seeing patterns and structures. At the end of the day, all you’re doing is figuring out a way to take some data and transform it into some other data. That can get hideously complicated, but at the minute you are just learning how to manipulate the tools you have at your disposal - there will come a point where what you’re doing now seems trivial. You’re learning how to swing a hammer. It takes time to learn to do that properly, but once you can do it without thinking about how to do it, it just becomes one of many tools you can use to build things with.


Quit now … lol … Seriously it gets better though not necessarily easier eg you get better but want to build bigger projects using stuff you dont know and then have to figure out how this harder stuff works or you need to figure out how to do the bigger project and there is so much in it your wondering what do you do.

A lot of the times its not the code thats the problem as we can find snippets of code online for a lot of what we need to do and might just have to adjust the code we find to suit our needs, but the problem is not breaking down the project before we start to figure out what really needs to be done and where are the parts that are going to give us trouble.
A lot of people start a project by quickly looking at what they are meant to do and start coding and then get stuck at some point after coding some of the easy parts … then go try find solutions to something they are stuck at … then try to incorporate it into the there code and find they need to change some of the earlier code they wrote … which then doesnt work because they changed it to fix the problem they got stuck on and then it starts to become a bit of a nightmare.

A good start is trying to break the project down before you start … to lots of small pieces … figure out how to make the smaller pieces work and then when you understand how they all work you can code them and put them together.

A good way to improve would be to work with someone who is willing to watch you go through the process of doing a challenge (preferably someone who has completed it) and could highlight ways you could approach doing the challenge better and maybe give you some insights on how they approached doing the challenge … (notice how i didnt say highlight how you could code better … as i feel coding generally isnt the problem but understanding and breaking down the problem first generally is the problem)

This in itself is a problem eg trying to find a partner to work with … but others have posted looking to pair program here so maybe you could find someone. I have seen post but have never seen a post where someone wrote how the experience went eg was it good

1 Like

If you’re concerned about this, I suggest trying asking for help here on the forum instead of reading the hint threads. For the most part, the people on here who answer questions try to draw you into conversation to help you find the solution or just give you small nudges to point you in the right direction. Instead of giving you the answers and having you understand what someone else did, that means that you are practicing the actual problem solving skills yourself.

1 Like