Frustrated with algorithms

Hey guys,

I was hoping on getting some tips on how to approach algorithms or what the right mindset is to tackle them. I’ve been building projects for about a year and just now nearly finished with the Basic Algorithm challenges. The problem is some challenges can take me days to figure out and the ones I do complete relatively sooner usually take hours. If it’s taking me this long to finish just the Basic challenges, I hate to imagine how long it’s going to take me to complete the Intermediate or Advances challenges.

Does anyone else have this problem? I’m worried that the slow pace in which I am completing these challenges is a sign that my brain is just not meant for programming or that I am not good enough for a career in this industry.

Please, I’m not looking for politically-correct reassurance or feel-good cliches. I want your honest, cold hard thoughts on this issue.

Thanks everyone.


Hi evincebal, it’s easy to get frustrated sometimes… but same way you’ll feel very good when you get the rythm and take a step forward on understanding how to learn and how to search, gaining independence.

You’ll fear no challenges because you’ll feel confortable to know that you’re totally able to research / learn / tackle the solution.

I’m solving the advanced algorithm challenges right now, and I do felt the same as you before…but then I upgraded my way of dealing with the challenges… and started to get more confortable.

My routine to solve a challenge now is:

  • Read 2 or 3 times the challenge slowly
  • Open all the suggested documentation and read what the feature do, how, and why
  • Open the “Hints” item and read the hints
    (yes, free code camp does give you some tips of where to start :wink:)
  • Start trying to solve
  • When I get to a solution, then I try to refactor it, checking where it could be better.

Keep going!! We’re all learners, much of us coming from no computer science background, and trust the community… The forum helps a lot!


Also just finished the Basic Algorithm challenges. Congrats on your progress, hero!

So… depending on the day, I’m you. I get your doubt, I can relate. So, I’m gonna tell you what I tell myself: Keep going.

If you’re comparing your pace to how others are (or might be) faring, stop now. Bad.

You’re completing the challenges, right? Though you might be unhappy with your pace, you’re still completing the challenges. You know more than you did last week. You know much more than you did last month. I mean, what feels like slow progress to you is still progress, and that counts.

Focus on the task at hand, one challenge at a time – don’t let your mind wander towards anxiety thinking about the future, all those challenges ahead. You’re not there yet.

The cold hard truth: these things absolutely take time, and the amount of time they can take can really suck. Carve out a bit every day to practice and absolutely be okay with not performing 100% every single session.

And my friend, be gentle with yourself, it’ll keep you motivated a lot better than if you weren’t.


Thanks …I just read your post. I’m new to the camp… I was wondering if you could answer a question for me?
I just started the challenges and notice that the codes are already given to me and all I been doing is placing them in the correct place. Will I eventually be able to create custom codes for myself through the camp challenges?

Yes my friend!! Very soon!

Thanks @rossijonas! Those are some really helpful tips. I will take those into consideration.

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@gut-floral, yes you’re right, I do know more than I did yesterday or a week before. I need to have that mindset. I think I was just playing the comparison game way too hard and I need to stop it. I just get really impatient sometimes with myself. I really appreciate your insight.

Thanks to everyone for your feedback. Another reason why I love this forum :slight_smile:


Im full of feel good cliches… I know so many of them its its hard to resist. You have been warned!!! :joy:

The algorithms kick my butt too. But Im determined to kick it back so I keep on going. When I did the Basic Algorithms, some of them I was able to knock out a couple in one day, and others it took me a day or two. I spend at least an hour on a challenge before I give it a break and try again later. Same thing for the Intermediate Algorithms, finished those and on Advanced…and guess what…same thing!

The thing though is…the advanced algorithms do not feel any more challenging to me now than the basic algorithms . Even though the advanced is obviously tougher, I know more, so the actual amount of hard is the same… So dont judge how hard the future problems will be on how you’re doing right now…by the time you get to the point you’re worried about, you’d have progressively learned enough to be able to handle it. .

And yeah, you can do it too…you need to believe in yourself, the only thing that determines whether or not you are good enough to do this is the amount of effort you put into figuring it out so that you learn the skills you need so succeed. Are you good enough for a career in this industry? Well, no…not today. No one is when they first start to learn something…but one day in the future you will be. Unless you give up…thats the only thing that will shut the door on any possibilities. But dont even think about that…look at whats on your plate right now, the next algorithm… Worry about advanced when you get to advanced.


@cndragn, lol your reply really made my day :wink:

I totally get what you mean about Advanced challenges not feeling harder when I get there. If I was tackling coding problems today back when I started, I wouldn’t have imagined being able to do it.

Thanks for your encouragement!