How do I learn without cheating myself?

Hey everyone,

I’m new to fee code camp, and loving it so far. I have a small background in coding (associates in software development) but still trying to get to the point of being employable.

My questing here is, how do I learn without cheating myself? I feel like I look everything up and can barely type any code without google searching how to do something. (This is all I did through school as well…)

I’m working through the front end course and just got to the the portfolio project. I don’t know jquery besides what we went over in the few beginner lessons. I wanted to add an effect using jquery for when I hover over thumbnail images to essentially drop the opacity, and pop up text for the tools i used to complete the project displayed in the thumbnail.

Basically I feel like I’m cheating myself by googling that, finding someone elses stack overflow, and re typing in the code someone answered with to make it work with my classes and id’s.

How do I do learn correctly and not just google everything and copy someone else’s code?

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Google is a programmer’s best friend, the fact you use it so much shows that you go looking for the answer instead of asking for it to be given to you. Practice makes perfect as they say. The more you work at it the easier it will become. That time frame is different for different people, but putting in the hard work now is only going to pay off later. Don’t be discouraged, web development is a vast ecosystem that makes even seasoned developer’s heads spin. When you do come across a stack overflow post that you have decided to use, I’d recommend not moving on until you understand why that piece of code is working. It can be incredibly painstaking but there really is no short-cutting the process. When you get down the community is always here to pick you back up.


The difference between beginners who copy & paste code and seasoned developers is, the latter will first try to understand how that piece of code solves their problem, not just copy and onto the next challenge.

Understand the code, the language, but most important, try to understand your problem. Searching for info in the docs is something we do everyday so don’t be worried about it.


Thats good! Please look up things! Its impossible to know everything. Its impossible to know anything without looking it up. Eventually you wont have to look up nearly as much because you will simply know at that point what you need to do. But early days. Look up whatever you need to look up. As a web developer, its your job to constantly be improving and learning. To keep ahead of the curve if you will. So if you get stuck? Trying to figure out how to do a specific problem? Dont be afraid to ask or look up the answer.


The fact you know what to Google, rather than asking someone to “give me code” shows you are successfully learning. Overtime you’ll be able to do more and more by memorization. I still look at MySQL’s documentation when adding a database user and granting privileges - despite the fact it’s a routine task it’s still something I have not memorized. Keep learning and happy coding :slight_smile:


I had somewhat of the same issue when I first began to code and I felt like I was an impostor. But the more I learned the more I realized that searching for the answer instead of asking someone to give me the answer was actually the right thing to do.

If you feel like you aren’t genuinely understanding the theory behind the action I would suggest that maybe you redo some courses or practice different projects. I’m currently going through FCC, a course on Udemy, and a course on edX simply because I feel like I have a harder time learning than most. It has honestly strengthened my grasp on the concepts and made me much more confident in my coding journey.

Much love and best of luck on your journey, keep at it!


There are a billion things to do in ComputerLand.

The advice I liked, that I heard, was to focus on doing exactly what you want or need to do.

I “dispatch” teach public Jr. High English in Japan. It would be nice to transition out of this career entirely.

But the low-hanging fruit for me is to figure out how to create worksheets and tests in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Random webpages are not blocked, but downloading new apps is a no-no, for one. Apps can come later.

So, I’m looking for some way to get this content onto a browser in the computer room, or on the tablets some schools have introduced recently.

Here, you can see how knowing code, but not being a “Developer” can be useful.

All the private schools want someone with a TESOL Master’s degree, but I HATE the content of Master’s degree courses.

I’m betting that a teacher who can help move their school more swiftly off the page and onto the screen will be seen as more and more valuable, as more schools invest in this equipment, but find they have no one who can properly use it.

Lots of careers will be needing developer skills like this.

What do you want to do?

And don’t forget to ask Jerry to show you the Money. It’s all about the Quon(sp?).

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The best but cliche advice :smile: is just, consistently PRACTICE. Everything will eventually become automatic like you don’t need to google it again and again.

You don’t need to memorize every code syntax, just learn the fundamentals first like defining a variables, functions, classes, making layouts/markups(HTML,CSS) and etc.

Once you feel comfortable then make it more complex and at the same time learn the best practices when building it because you need to make sure your codes is simple, readable and maintainable not only for other programmers, but also for yourself in the near future.

Progress your skills by creating another but more complex stuffs than the last you created.

Do more various SIMPLE STUFFS first and you don’t need to make it perfect. You will learn a lot in that process by just simply doing a lot.

I recommend to watch this " The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists " it’s not related to programming but it can apply when you’re learning something and anything.

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Saw this the other day, made me feel better about being on google 90% of the time.


Thanks for all of the replies everyone! Didn’t expect to get that many honestly. There is definitely some great advice here, and lots of suggestions. I think some of the big takeaway’s that keep being brought up are going above and beyond when looking the code up to actually understand it.

So I watched a few video’s on jQuery to actually understand the syntax better, and watched someone else type it, and then the code made a lot more sense to me. As a jQuery beginner I would copy the whole command left to right, and get confused typing it when you end up in the center writing a function and parentheses then curly brackets, and not closing your statement until were done.

After watching a video of someone writing things in vanilla JS (which made sense to me) and then doing the same with the jQuery library this helped. You write the selector, then the method, close the semicolon, and then go back and put the function inside there… This is way easier to follow now than having what felt like 20 open parenthesis and brackets haha.

Thank you agin everyone, I’ll try and start forcing myself to understand the things that I don’t completely get!

Good job! :wink:
Every hour of your intense focus on learning, remember to take some short break (5-10mins) and have some quick stretching, walking and also drink water. You need that to be more effective and prevent or at least lessen the anxieties and burnouts.

Don’t stop until you succeed :slight_smile:


when learning the price of copy and paste is at the back of your head, you know you don’t understand any of those things you just pasted. and this fear just keep accumulating. keeps soaring around your head.

the cure is to ask why. ask why a lot.

here’s what I do when I find a new snippet online.

  1. understand the idea of it, and what purpose does this code snippet has. what is it trying to do.
  2. understand the code itself. a.k.a I know all the syntax and method this code is using.
  3. re-create the same code snippet without any help (dont copy pasta everything, write it yourself)
  4. think of other ways of solving the same issue. a.k.a create your own code snippet that does the same thing, that gives you the same result. And know the diff between your code and the original one. Knows which code should you use under a certain scenario.
  5. after completing all those steps, congratulations, you’ve finished your job.