How should we judge what is/isn't an accomplishment?

The answer always seems to be “it’s subjective, the key being to build on each accomplishment…”.

But Say you complete the first module of JS. You had a real hard time with it, but you did it. You feel good cause your sense of accomplishment has been achieved. You take a break cause you’re brain-fried/winded/accomplished, and try the next part tomorrow/nextnextday. Objectively though, what did you accomplish? Did you accomplish anything at all??? I mean… did you just celebrate something as trivial as tying your shoes? With a ‘REWARD’ and fake feeling of greatness TOO??? How are we supposed to answer these kinds of questions when we don’t really have a bearing of how far down the rabbit hole we are? relative to other people? etc…

You have labels like “x many hours to learn this”, and “beginner/intermediate”. But I kind of have to question the science of those numbers: whether those are factual averages or just dopamine injections. The format on this website seems like one giant dopamine injection, u set the problems into small achievable short lessons divided into modules that give the appropriate weighting of ‘good job’ after each…

It still begs the question: What is an actual accomplishment? Going through the answers and various solutions… I’m starting to think the only accomplishment here is completing the full course. Which begs the question is there something seriously wrong with you if it takes you days or weeks or months to get through 1 module much less the entire thing? Or… is the format here such that it induces a false sense of accomplishment, creating laziness and apathy each time you ‘do 1 little thing’?

Should we be thinking about this? Or should we just loop back to the start and surround ourselves with subjective headpats? Can anyone grant me some perspective on this? I just have no sense of where the bar is or should be set. That’s probably more of a failing on my part, but the point of sites like this was/ is to teach something to someone…and being a good teacher means imparting a sense of where you are in the great Continuum.

I completed ‘grasshopper’ before trying freecodecamp. And I have to say as interesting as it was, it really imparted a false sense of the amount you actually learnt.

Likewise if I knew from the outset the only accomplishment here was completing an entire module, I’d set my goals accordingly…and then proceed to hit the brick wall that was ‘intermediate algorithms’ (took months of festering to finish).

Shouldn’t the lessons be structured with a sense of ‘time and effort’ at the forefront of the learning process? Not this… ‘accomplishment’ thing.

Any time you learn something you didn’t know yesterday, that is an accomplishment. Sure, some accomplishments are better than others. And your end goal is important, but so are the steps.

If you set off on a journey of 100 miles, every step is moving you forward. You don’t say, “I haven’t moved forward until I get to the end.” There are about 2 million steps in that journey and every one is moving you forward. And each is a valuable. Just keep moving towards the goal.

But unlike our our metaphor, the coding goal is going to move. Your perception of the end goal will change. That is fine - just keep moving forward and be proud of your steps.


This is correct, that’s why you used “always”, aren’t you? :slight_smile:

Do I understand correctly that you feel a disconnect between the “sense of accomplishment” (dopamine hit) that the format gave you and the real-world, practical applications of having the “Front End Certification” from a free website (ie, none)?

Well, I hear you… when I got my first FCC cert (okay, only one), it was a good feeling, but as time passed and I began to realize that no one cared and I certainly wasn’t getting a job with that “degree,” its true external value became clearer. True in that it was essentially zero…

But thinking about it, the truth is I knew a heck lot more about programming after doing the module than before it. I learned. And maybe my knowledge and job prospects are a joke to a CSS grad, they’re still better, if even a little, than they were before. Hey, I can make a responsive web page now! I can make a todo list! I can make a clock that shows the time in different time zones!

It’s a start–I got a taste. Where I want to take it now, that’s up to me.

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I mean… did you just celebrate something as trivial as tying your shoes? With a ‘REWARD’ and fake feeling of greatness TOO???

Learning to tie your shoes isn’t trivial to a four or five year old. Depending on the kid’s motor skills, it can take many hours of practice to learn how to tie shoes.

I’m in the middle of the JS certification. It took me three weeks to get through the basic JS challenges, and I still refer to them frequently to review/practice. I don’t feel like I’ve mastered all the material at all. When I do finally finish the JS certification, it will represent the effort I put into learning the concepts. I’m not sure how much a FCC certificate will prove my ability to solve real world problems that would come up in a work place. Maybe only actual projects can prove what I’m capable of. But that doesn’t mean I accomplished nothing by completing the certificate.

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This is an interesting take learning, development and progress. This post also mentions previous insight that is true, in that it is all subjective. Ultimately the idea of if something is or isn’t an accomplishment is focusing on the wrong thing.

At the same time freeCodeCamp is a free resource built on the backs of volunteers. Its not perfect, be all end all solution, nor is it a perfect full scope 0 to hero resource. Its as much a resource, as it is a community built around said resource.

This is done on purpose to “gamify” one’s learning so they stick around long enough to learn something useful. Its purposely done this way to teach you something regardless of how deep you actually want to go. It doesn’t expect you to learn everything, nor does FCC “only work” if you complete everything. Simply put, you can go thru a few challenges, learn like 1 or 2 things and freeCodeCamp more or less did its job in that you learned something. Does this mean you skipped over all the Python, and full stack certs? Yea, but that might not matter, nor would it actually be worth doing if they don’t align with your goals.

Does the fact what your doing is an accomplishment actually matter? Does the fact you go “win” some trophy for doing something matter because you get a trophy, or because of what it represents?. The answer goes back to the subjectiveness of it all, except I’ll go further and point out what matters are your goals, and what steps you take to accomplish them.

If your goal is to be a world class chef and your learning how to center a <div> in a <div> I’d actually question if your focused on the right thing. On the flip side, if your trying to be a full-stack dev, and just spent 4 hours debugging a tough problem to continue building a small web-app, then yea you accomplished something. Does this mean you get a badge, or a trophy? No, but who cares if you do, or ever do? As long as your moving toward your goal, I’d say your on the right track.

Most people who come to freeCodeCamp are looking to learn something. Usually to so they can improve themselves. With this sort of goal, learning anything at anytime to any depth is automatically an accomplishment. Does that align with what freeCodeCamp gives out as certs? Nope, but then again it doesn’t really matter much in the grand scheme of things right? If someone’s job is to start learning web development to get a new job, then the real goal is getting that job, everything until then is a means to an end.

The module is a group of tasks to help you accomplish your goal, it shouldn’t be the only overall goal, as it doesn’t actually mean anything. Even the freeCodeCamp certifications by themselves don’t hold as much weight as the experience and knowledge you gain by getting those certifications.

What bar? There is no bar. The idea of a “bar” when it comes to learning is so there are “people who are under it and over it” when in reality there is no bar. The fact you know something doesn’t mean your “closer to the bar”, as you could very easily not actually know it, or not know something else. You don’t suddenly magically “get over the bar” by knowing some level of knowledge. You also shouldn’t get to judge someone if they are “under the bar” because they could very easily know something else you don’t.

There have been talks about re-structuring the curriculum to be project based rather than challenges+projects. In the mean time the current curriculum is very much “gamified”. Again this is done on purpose to help people learn without getting bored or fed up. Not everyone will go through everything, nor is that the “right” thing to do for everyone either.

There is no right or wrong way do to freeCodeCamp, it all goes back to ones goals.

Focus on the right things, for the right reasons. FreeCodeCamp is setup in a way to be a means to and end, but its only a framework to learn.

Good luck, keep learning!

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Hey there,

some great thoughts here.

I think as human beings, we are always in some trouble, because we know that our human brain is very unique in its skills, while we underestimate how our brain works in daily life.

So there is always this inner fight of “logic vs. emotion”.

So “I’m a grown-up person and every dev knows beginner JS, this is why I shouldn’t be proud of it, because everyone knows how to do this.” seems reasonable. But there is a lot of empirical data about this, showing that this kind of self-criticising is worse than expected.

Human self-confidence, the feeling of “I am able to handle this.”, is very fragile. Especially in a globally connected world, where we only see winners, high-performers, e.g. on Instagram. So what’s so hard about going over to this stranger and talking to them? I mean every kid can do it, why not me? What’s so hard about looking healthy and lean? I mean every person on Instagram looks awesome, why not me? Am I weak? Lazy? Dumb?

So my approach to this is being proud after I worked for it, while keeping this stuff in perspective, e.g. by writing a daily log about my accomplishments.