Getting quite discouraged

This will be my third attempt at learning to code. I keep getting discouraged because no matter what I cant get anything to stick in my memory. Even just HTML and CSS Im constantly looking up the most basic things. Things that I think should be committed to memory by now. It really eats up a lot of my time and gets really discouraging. Anyone else have this problem, or am I really just that dumb? lol


I too cannot!

This is common, even I do. I think you should look at programming memes, then you’ll know it is ok, to look up basic things. Matter of fact, even experienced devs have to look stuff up all the time. When you keep using the same STUFF, you’ll get comfortable with it, or, if you already are; you’ll remember exactly what you need.
But, that happens automatically, so don’t go through the all STUFF and memorize it.

I do, I don’t think of it as a problem.

No, you are not!


Nobody can remember all that is encompassed by development. It’s just too much information. Learning to look up information is vital and getting good at it is part of the process. Instead of not wanting to look up stuff, you should get so good at it that it doesn’t bother you. Sure it can be a time sink to look at the documentation, but that is just how it is. You can’t get away from it, so I suggest you embrace it.

Memorizing is also not the point. You are not trying to become an encyclopedia, but a developer. Your main goal is to get good at problem-solving within your domain-specific field (and using documentation). If you learn it organically and use it often you will remember it. But you can’t expect your brain to remember information it never uses. That would be a waste of finite resources.


Hi @Moops !

Welcome to the forum!

I feel like a lot of people fall in this category.
Learning to code is hard.
Especially if you come from a non tech background like me.

I run into this too.
There are certain things that just stick the first time around and then there are others that take continually practice.

Just 20 minutes ago, I was looking something up in the node documentation because I kept forgetting how to do this one thing.
Even though I have done it a few times before :laughing:

I understand your issue.
But as the others have mentioned, the point is not the memorize everything.
It’s impossible.
It’s totally cool to look things up.

That’s totally normal.
I feel like for most beginners and junior developers that is just the norm.
The key is to remember that this stuff is all new.

It just takes time before things start to make sense.

Just keep learning and taking it day by day.
And know that there are plenty of people in the same boat as you. :grinning:


Trust me, you can do this! Similar experience…in fact it has been over 4 years and still going back and forgetting chunks of things. My gaps have been pretty big, kids etc, other passions I thought…maybe this isn’t for me and would just leave coding alone (esp faced with a challenge I find difficult.

I would suggest change your medium of work for a cool minute, maybe purchase a HTML/CSS book if you haven’t got one, turn off FCC for a wee little and let someone else do all the talking as you do all the reading if you get my meaning.

Everyone has gone through it, trust me.

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The weight we provide to our unsuccessful attempts is what discourages us from playing and enjoying. You have the power to cease giving weight to them and stop considering them as failures. If you are stuck, move on, try something else that you can do and come back to it after sometime with a fresh mind. Keep practicing though. Do not fall into the trap of negative self talk, you are not dumb. Coding is a collective and team effort and we have to learn to harness the best from each other and there are countless things each and every individual is not good at. There is a lot you are good at that many people may not be and it is only up to you to discover it. Best wishes!


That’s great! The only times I remember something is when I make a mistake!:laughing: If I’m stuck and the syntax is wrong…forget it. I just want to quit right there and then. But then I take out my mind’s chisel and I carve at the design or dissect the function. Analyzing every line of code. Viola! Just a typo, again! Just take comfort that you know how to find and figure out the problem. Have patience with yourself and take it a day at a time. You are not dumb! Maybe a perfectionist who pay too much attention to details and nitpicking until it looks flawless. (Oh, is that me or you.) Sounds like a software engineer to me :face_with_raised_eyebrow: By the way, hi.

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Hello Moops,

I know it’s discouraging but I think it’s a very common thing. Remembering means repetition so you’ll get good at it the more you do it. But seriously, don’t sweat about not remembering it all. I don’t bother to remember it all because it’s all just a google away. It’s more that you are able to apply the knowledge.

Half the battle is won if you can keep your spirits up. The first time I did web development, it took me 1 week to create a drop down list. ONE WEEK! I worked at it everyday for up to 4 hours a day, just figuring out how to do a drop down list. The day I figured it out, I almost cried for my sheer stupidity. But yeah, it’s frustrating but once you get it, there’s a feeling of achievement. Also, it gets easier over time.

So, keep at it, and keep your head up! You can do it! :muscle: :muscle: :muscle:

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I got here because I’m having the same issue , getting discouraged because I feel that after the 300 hours of content of the Responsive Web Design Course I feel like I still don’t know much and I find myself most of the time looking for code or other resources online.

The key it’s to not feel defeated and keep on trying !

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I probably don’t have too much to add, but I am very new to this too and I have definitely felt that frustration! I have been looking things up tons and seeking out other resources besides FCC that can help me understand certain concepts better. At first I questioned the fact I had to look everything up, but I think the more I read code and understand it and then write it myself (even if it’s exactly the code from an example) it’s helping me.
I just started a free course in Responsive Layouts taught by Kevin Powell. It’s a drip course, meaning you deal with one concept each day, but the reason is that he wants you to get practice with one concept at a time, play with it, and really understand it. I’m only on day 3, but I think it’s gonna be really helpful. It only takes 20-30 min a day. (His YouTube channel is really awesome too btw).
Just keep at it! I’m sure 99% of beginners feel the same way. I love how supportive this forum can be. These comments are so uplifting. :smiley:

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I have this problem too,It’s normal,You have to keep learning. There are some things that can be done to improve your memory, like do more exercises ,supplement omega 3 to recover your brain.Improve your sleep with melatonina. You need to pay attention to your habits. And the more important thing,be kind to yourself. ( I’m sorry for my English, Brazilian guy here).

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Thanks a lot for the replies everyone, I wasnt expecting that at all. Im going to keep going on this journey to learn, in spite of the frustrations haha.

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Old Guy Story Time
(in the guise of a Buddhist koan)

A monk sat in quiet contemplation with two acolytes. The master contemplated enlightenment. The senior acolyte contemplated the road to enlightenment, and its many obstacles.

The junior acolyte contemplated the time remaining till lunch, as his stomach rumbled.

The master opened his eyes and quietly asked, “Look out the door of the temple, toward the flagpole, what is moving?”

The junior acolyte exclaimed, “The flag is moving, master!”

The senior acolyte, ever serious, gently reproved him: “The wind is moving.”

With a gentle smile, the master murmured, “The mind is moving.” And the acolytes saw enlightenment.

end of old guy story time

You are dealing with a lot when you start down this road. You’re learning markup languages, programming languages, styling languages, fitting them together, building pages or components, meeting challenges in languages you’ve barely met. It’s a lot.

And like when you start a new job, you don’t even know enough to know what you don’t know! But like a new job, you learn the things you need to hang on to, the things you can things later, and the things you’ll ask for help on. You’ll try things, you’ll break things, you’ll ask questions. You’re moving the flag.

But as you go, you’ll catch glimpses of these patterns behind it all. You might notice “i did something like this before. Not the same, but very like. Is that a pattern?” Learning to spot patterns behind the language, and realizing that the language is just a vehicle for the pattern… That’s the wind moving.

And as time goes on, you’ll notice - below the patterns is this “meta-thinking”. We have these languages and patterns that we use…to explain to a computer the rudiments of how we think. In order to do that? We have to be able to examine, parse, and verbalize our own thought patterns. The mind moves.

That all sounds abstract, but here’s the point: don’t bog down in the language. The answer is likely “yes, we can do that in javascript.” How…is going from moving the flag (thinking in syntax) to moving the wind ( what’s the pattern behind the problem?)


Even I was in same situation, please try couple of things for 1 month and you’ll see the difference

  1. Learn with pomodoro technique ( google more about this )

  2. flash cards ( Try Anki App )

Rember that nobody in IT world knows each and every thing; everyone is googling most of the time.

You need to learn + remember basic syntax and other things can be googled, so don’t worry about remembering each and everything; it’s humanly impossible

I honestly wouldn’t bother trying to use flashcards or whatever to memorize syntax. That is the least important part of becoming a programmer. You can look up syntax you can’t remember in a particular moment.

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Oh, I just had a conversation like this with my friend (who’s a front-end engineer). She just told me, well, it’s always like that, but after 10 years of doing this, you’ll have no trouble. Do don’t give up halfway :slight_smile:
Additionally, in my current position, 6 months ago I was basically not understanding a word people were saying, while now I am teaching my colleagues that are newjoiners. So everything is really possible.

Think about that nobody was born learning any languages, yet we have at least one to communicate with right now

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