Finally made it to freecodecamp

Hi everyone, I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m 27 years old, I’ve always had an aptitude for computers but never made the plunge into full-on programming.

Right now I’m just trying to get a feel for the basics with the first module. What are the best practices for maximizing my chances of success? Right now I’m committed to coding at least an hour a day (I know more is better, but I’m thinking that easing into it might hedge against burnout). Thank you!

Code every day. If you get blocked, reread the instructions, check the previous lessons, google, check past posts on the forum, and if all else fails, ask the forum. It’s a friendly and helpful group. Long term - keep learning things and building things. That is your goal. The first 6 modules in FCC give you a great foundation of a MERN stack. And then you just keep learning new things and building things of increasing complexity.

1 Like

I’d say always go for quality over quantity. Twenty minutes of quality learning is worth more than two hours of unfocused and unproductive learning. It is fine to go longer if you get into a good flow but you need to pay attention to how you feel. Some people use break timers to force a break, or at least have it serve as a reminder to take breaks.

Don’t make the mistake of not taking breaks even when you feel like you are not tired. You might get into a flow and not notice the fatigue setting in and you just start getting less and less focused and productive. Easy problems can become hard until you take a break. When you come back from the break the solution can seem obvious. Sometimes you even solve them while not coding. That is, you actually solve the problem when on the break.

2 Likes

Thought I responded but I guess it didn’t go through. Maybe a dumb question, but how do you tell the difference between productive and unproductive learning? Like, I’m not really sure when to step back or when to push through.

Great question, and you will probably receive different answers from different people.

What I’ve learned over the last 6 months is that I can’t always force myself to just pay attention and read/code , whatever. You probably will get 2-3 hours of quality work time per day, so learning to recognize when you are at your – let’s call it optimal – state of mind, will help.

1 Like

I would suggest in the beginning you just limit the time. Do it every day for like an hour or so. Or break it up into two or three shorter sessions. Keep it short but consistent (daily), with some flexibility in the schedule.

I’m specifically talking about learning and absorbing new information. Most people have an attention span of about 15 to 30 minutes before they start to drift off.

When it comes time to implement the new information into projects you can go for longer periods. But the same rules apply, remember to take breaks.

How do you know when you are focused? Well, you have to pay attention and listen to the signals, but I realize it can be hard. We tend to overestimate our abilities, how quickly we can get something done, how long we can do something, and how many things we can juggle at the same time (multitasking is a bit of a myth).

People are different so there is no hard-and-fast rule that can be applied to everyone but mental exhaustion should be a clear indicator. It’s just like physical exercise, when you first start out you start small and slowly increase the sessions over time. If you do too much you can’t be consistent.

1 Like