Feeling Slow / seeking encouragement

Hi guys,
I just turned 34yo, trying to switch out of an old industry (construction). I dont have anyone to give any encouragement, so im blatantly seeing if i can find some here.

Im totally new to coding / programming / IT, so EVERYTHING is brand new. Im not finding it impossible, its just a time commitment which im willing to pay.

Im currently working thru the FCC JS module - im making a lot of silly syntax errors on the code challenges, which i have to debug. I know this process is a good thing as it will help me be a better educated coder in the long run plus avoiding the noob mistakes later will be positive. You see a lot of posts online for folks that “get it” and go zero-hero in months (they then forget to mention they have a degree in maths or something). I have a degree in a construction related discipline, so im not dumb, but this is all new to me, and its not easy. Simple, but it takes a lot of time to do it…

Im finding focus difficult, not meandering all over the place is extremely challenging. Im also referring to several JS books at the same time as i do the FCC JS learning modules. Im not racing to the end of the FCC JS modules, every slide im reviewing what i dont know and adding notes to a google sheets ANKI deck - for revision later. Although i know ANKI wont get me to be a coder, it will help my knowledge base, esp while starting out. Does this sound like a smart way to do things?


Hi !

What was your job into the construction field ? Maybe you have some relative “way of thinking” you could transpose to coding/web-dev ?
Ex : construction --> building --> lego --> order to assemble, step to respect, building with what for which purpose ?

I’m new to this field too and I also >30yo :wink:
I did few html coding few years ago in school (with lot of frames hahaha ! ) and some statistical programming with SAS…didn’t use those skills till last 3 months :slight_smile:

Did you think of the focus itself ? I mean, sometimes, it’s really cool to explore something but after a time, exploring only to explore can be “meaningless” and focus becomes difficult. I think a lot of people struggle with that point, you’re not alone :slight_smile:
How can you organize your day to add learning times in it ? Maybe think about “timing session” like 20 min or 40min an do the point after each one.

Did you work on responsive web design module before ?
I still working on an answer (and maybe more experienced people could help with that) but is it not simpler to learn basic html/css before learning javascript ?

What are your purpose using javascript ?
Is it to change your working field ? or for fun ? or…
What do you want to do with ?

Dude, forget about that spurious causation.
I know people with degree who are dumb as hell and who can be more dangerous than dumb people with no degree. And I know people with no degree who are smart as f***

Hope this can help you to think of your process :slight_smile:
Have a good coding day, keep it, step by step and day after day
Everybody deal with a day of only 24 hours

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Hi Mate,
Ive done the HTML and CSS modules on FCC already, including watching a lot of CSS videos and building my own ANKI decks to remember and revise. I wanted to move on to maintain interest. I was selected for a sponsored bootcamp (cancelled due to coronavirus) for webdev, so im learning that core cirriculum on my own instead, the place is held so hopefully my learning gives me a head start.
I have the book “flow” (i just remembered) on my Kindle, ill dig it out tonight for some flow/focus tips.

What do you think of using ANKI to remember and stay current with a new language?

I won a partial scholarship for a Iron hack web dev bootcamp in Amsterdam…but it was still really expensive so I started learning by my own too…

I didn’t know about ANKI so I looked quickly and if I understood correctly you set some cards with theoretical content ? then “test” your learnings ? Could you share an example of one of your ?

I prefer repeat the same code till it becomes a routine…even a routine of fails sometimes because, every day I find something I wrote as a pig into my code :smiley: so I can improve it stuck by stuck…maybe it’s slow process but I consider its ok till progress is done.

Did you try to do a kind of bigger project ? something where you can add all the parts you learn ? something different than FCC page challenge? ask others here or elsewhere about advices or something ?

I’ve learned the most about about physical tasks, like motorcycle maintenance and customization, or car maintenence, or home improvement and repair, by trying to do different things. Coding is the same way.

Rebuilding my bike taught me a ton about bikes. I imagine you weren’t born knowing everything about construction and you learned about construction by doing construction.

I’d find some things that you want to build. Don’t worry that you don’t know as much code as you “need” to build anything cool. You always need to learn something new for every project.

You’ve got this, and we’re here to help!


This is very true,

and this is also very true, coding makes me feel very dumb 15 times a day!

I learnt autoCAD by drawing in it a lot. I learned gardening by reading a ton but also by making a lot of mistakes and trying. I do know some things i want to build, but learning javascript i feel lost.
I guess ill have to stick the head down and just keep at it. Im learning to keep frustation on a tight leash while coding, cos the syntax and the logic has to be spot on. Its like nothing ive ever done before.
A lot of the tutorials and books ive read i feel like im missing a part of my brain already as some of them assume you have SOME knowledge of computers, programming or even another language - even those marked good for beginners, but, again, i reckon ill just have to go over and over it and practice to get good.

Thanks heaps for the encouragement. When i have ideas for a webapp etc, im jotting them down, but for now im just slugging thru the basics! :nerd_face:

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It helps me on the frustration to remember how stupid computers are. CS50 has a great video on how dumb computers can be:

I think Crash Course had some pretty good background info here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtNlUrzyH5r6jN9ulIgZBpdo


This right here. Anyone who knows their ass from their elbow can write a tutorial. Actual teaching is hard.


Thanks Jeremy,
I watched the PB+J vid, interesting. Realised before the end of the video that you would need to define bread, slice, freshness, spoon, knife, hygiene, spoonful, spreading, peanut butter, jam, eating… the list goes on.
Ive tabbed the CS course to watch later. Ive dabbled a little in some other CS stuff, but ill maybe try a bit of CS concurrently with JS. Ive realised today that most of my current problems are syntactical - so… tomorrow… onwards and upwards.

Ill second that, im surprised by some really highly rated books for beginners, they dive right in to advanced concepts and use their own terminology. A teacher has to have humility and dampen their own ego, not just teach to show off. Luckliy FCC is largely free of ego…

Anki is a way to learn based on flashcards and spaced repitition - spaced repitition is the best way to learn, if you remember the content the intervals between sessions slowly grow. The app does the intervals for you, you just have to take your own self made quiz daily.

google “ankidroid” app if you have an android device… or you can download the anki windows/mac app for your computer.
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Hear the words of Shia LaBeouf himself and you can do it.


Go to any tutorials about coding and programming.

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Lots of great advice above, just wanted to add my input as well :slight_smile:.

Programming skills are usually split into two areas:

  1. Knowing the syntax
  2. Knowing the concept

I’d compare it to playing a board game and knowing the rules of the game (syntax), and knowing how to play the game well(concept). Its one thing to know how all the pieces and rules work in chess (or board game of your choice :smiley: ) , its another to know specific tactics to play the game well. You could read the rules 500 times, understand everything about the game, and still lose to your friends, either due to bad tactics.

Programming is no different. You can study your cards to learn the language syntax, but it will only get you so far in “playing the game”. At the same time, programming is moderated by the computer, so if you try to do the wrong thing syntactically the computer will usually blow up in your face, or start acting funny. This could be due to your syntax, or due to mis-understandings of what your doing or a combination of both.

The fact you run into issues here and there is to be expected. Lets be serious, playing a board-game is vastly simpler then programming. There are infinite ways to do something, infinite ways to screw it up, and infinite ways to fix your screw ups, and infinite ways to not fix your screw ups haha. Programming is hard, but I believe anyone can do it.

I’d be careful with focusing on memorization when it comes to learning programming concepts and syntax. As I said before there are are basically infinite ways to do stuff when it comes to programming.

There is only finite syntax for a given language, so flash-cards can help you there except you don’t need to learn all the language syntax, and you always can look any unusual syntax up, or just play around with it.

Finally, I usually say that learning by doing is the best. Basically the more you program, the more issues, concepts, and solutions you will run into naturally as you solve problems while doing things. This will also force you to learn common concepts, solutions and solve common problems.
The issue with memorizing, and note taking is you don’t know whats important, and not important without context. Its one thing to try to digest, memorize and focus on everything thus far, its another to be able to run into a new problem, and find answers on the fly. If you run into the same problem 50 times, you will be damn sure you will remember how to solve/fix it. The same can’t be said for running into a problem 1 time and trying to memorize its “solution”.

PS. I’ve never taken notes, or tried to memorize anything programming related. At most I just try to keep up with changing trends, but at a surface level.
If I want to learn something, I try to use it and get to know it. If I run into new syntax, I read about it at that time and try to use it myself.
I build a lot of useless stuff just to get more practical practice in, as the best way to learn is to do.

Good luck! :smiley:


I was recently feeling the same way. I’m 32, I’ve worked as a teacher and in business development, so when I tell people I am a complete newbie, I really am, but I am very determined and passionate about coding. Currently learning JavaScript, and the concept is a little hard to understand. I find reading w3school documentation helps a lot and trying to not pressure myself with “zero to hero” posts. Somebody said it will make sense and to just keep pushing through. If other people have made it, so can you, so can we :slight_smile: Aside from meditation (this mainly to deal with stress), Pomodoro timer has helped me focus so far (I may have an undiagnosed ADHD so focus is hard), give it a try! Good luck to you, onwards and upwards!


As a software engineer with diagnosed ADHD, I’m not concerned about your potential to get through the material. However, I really like your personalized approach! You deserve more credit for taking learning into your own hands and learning a way you find maximally engaging.

Sure you may not be progressing through the tutorials they’ve cleanly lined up for you, but I want you to realize that “being able to complete the challenges” only signal a very very small portion of your progress. Learning isn’t a linear process, so every extra book, resource, and & tutorial you take elsewhere is a great way for you to build your initial foundation of knowledge.

Think of all of these new pieces of information like the leaves of a tree, whereas the structure of the trunk & branches represent knowledge. You can’t quickly grasp any new knowledge because you haven’t yet built up the fundamental framework of branches so most new leaves of information just fall right off.

You don’t realize it yet, but you’re subtly testing various micro-assumptions every day and building out the roots. There will come a certain time when you’ve built a solid enough foundation of roots that the branches will start standing up. Don’t worry about your progress not being visible during this period of deep, foundational learning.

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True, i know i learn by doing, i learn everything that way - however i dont feel i know enough of the basics to start programming anything. I dont know where to start! Any of my projects i can think off are super useful and nice and complicated. Im not really even getting some of the coding challenges on FCC Javascript basics just yet. After ive waded thru the basics of JS on FCC, ill maybe google a simple list of starter projects to try code some more, this will make learning more interesting as well.

i will look this up! Thanks! I also use the pomodoro clock. I also need to remind myself i really only started trying to learn JS 4 days ago, so maybe i need to settle down and stop rushing to know it all - rote memorization wont help me here (we in the UK love our rote memorization - where in the USA i think education is more based on problem solving / logic / creativity?). Thanks for your comment and good luck as well!! Its a challenge moving to a tertiary field, but the harder some of these courses get the more im inclined to dig in.

YES - so true. I see learning a new field from scratch like a lap of a racetrack that you have no map off, you dont know the shape of the track so you have to walk it slowly once to see what the track is like to see the full picture, then once you have come full circle, do a few more laps building up to driving to get to a level of usefulness thats acceptable.
The ONLY reason im using anki at all is to try retain foundational concepts, ill have to soon move off it to properly coding something, which is more engaging anyway. Thanks Mate.

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The projects your thinking of are probably to “big”. When I say project, it could be as simple as a small piece of JS code you shove into a jsbin/codepen to see how it works.
You don’t need to build a full webpage/web-stack to play around with the language. Heck you could install nodejs and just start writing JS code into a REPL interface to get instant feedback to code.

Sprinkle in a few API calls to get some dynamic input and your golden (either getting a value from the DOM input, the terminal via nodejs, or heck a file in the file system)

“basics projects” could be just having an environment to play around with and just seeing what happens. :smile:


Hey tommytucker,

Mate, you’ve got this. Silly syntax errors is exactly how you learn! Even the zero-hero types had to start somewhere, you didn’t see their journey, just the outcome.

Try not to measure yourself against others, you’re running your own race, just keep putting one foot (or keyboard press) in front of the other and it will come.

I’m saying this as a 36 year old who just completed the Basic Algorithm Scripting: Find the Longest Word in a String unit, literally 5 mins ago, it’s something that I never thought I would ever of been able to do, but I did it!

Trust in the process… just keep going and you’ll be able to do it too!!

Every time you see that big checkmark when you complete a unit your understanding grows, it may not feel like it at times but it does, we believe in you mate.


thanks mate. I think corona-induced cabin fever is getting to me :rofl:

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Hey Tommy, just a small message : You can do it, and you gonna do it for sure. Be proud failing, it’s the path to success !

One day you’ll re-read this post, and it will make you smile.

Take care!

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My advice would be to focus on baby steps! It’s easy to get frustrated in this field. Specially if you are always looking far in the future.

In my case, I come from an artistic background, filmmaking, so learning javascript wasn’t easy.

I had to do the whole javascript module twice, because the first time I didn’t really get it (I actually had to copy many answers from the solutions page). But the second time I had a better general understanding of the language so it was easier.

It’s after that module that you start to see some improvement, it’s very slow for the first months but then you start to see that you are able to build cool things and you start to enjoy it.

Good luck!!!


Hi mate,
Yes im finding its taking me a while to “get” some of the concepts, i come from Architecture originally and am artistic in my spare time. CSS is just another form of art i guess, but it has its quirks which must be learned.
I remind myself im building 100% new neural paths in my head as this isnt like anything ive done before - thanks!
The other thing im doing is cracking on and when i get frustrated, try something else for a bit then get back to it.