How stupid am I?

I haven’t done any programming outside of trying this free camp, but how stupid do you have to be to not be able to complete the first project of this course? I have to imagine it’s pretty stupid. I mean, I just went through all these exercises, and apparently have learned absolutely nothing. I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing. It seems like someone in that position is pretty worthless and shouldn’t live. How can someone like that contribute anything? Given that everyone seems to think anyone can learn to code, and I seem incapable to remember lessons I’ve had in the last week, it appears I’m the exception to that rule. I hate being stupid, why am I alive?

It says create this element or whatever, and I have no idea what the fuck an element is. Is it normal to have to continually go back in the lessons to see wtf to do? I have to be dumber than dirt to not remember this stuff. Honestly, is this a sign coding just isn’t for me? Maybe I’m not smart enough, or my mind doesn’t work the right way.


Yeah, that whole “everyone can learn to code” is true in a way, but it’s not true that it will be easy, especially for most people if they have never done it before.


Plan on having to go back and check on things at least ten times before it sinks in. You can just repeat entire lessons! This isn’t highschool where everything is always going to be judged on the first attempt.

I just read this lesson in the Odin Project. It’s great.

Learning to code is hard work for most people. Either at first or later on. As you can see, there are so many totally new concepts. Eventually it will all sink in if you keep up with it. I se soooo many posts on the forum about the first exercise in the html course. Eventually you will get it.


Did you have to repeat lessons? It seems like it came naturally for you. If I weren’t stupid, I’d understand this shit. what the fuck is an element? div element? img-div element? I have no idea, I should know since I did the damn lessons, but no, I’m too fucking stupid. I want to get this since i hate being stupid and not knowing something, but maybe I’m too dumb. You might be smart enough to do this, but I don’t think I am.

@jonjames1986, the curse words do not help to get your point across. Take a deep breath and relax. Being able to describe your problem is an easier way to get a response and a resolution.

As mentioned, coding is hard but it can be learned. Some pick it up easier than others but at no point is it entirely easy all the way through. There are plenty of stumbling blocks.
Going through the lessons may seem easy but retaining or even learning from the lessons is not so easy. Do not attempt to rush through the lessons but rather, take the time to understand what’s being taught.

Terminology, there’s a biggie when it comes to coding. Here’s a few things that may help at this point;

HTML tags vs elements vs attributes

HTML tags

Tags are used to mark up the start and end of an HTML element. The following are paragraph tags.

HTML elements

An element in HTML represents some kind of structure or semantics and generally consists of a start tag, content, and an end tag. The following is a paragraph element:
<p>This is the content of the paragraph element.</p>

HTML attributes

An attribute defines a property for an element. It consists of an attribute/value pair and appears within the element’s start tag. An element’s start tag may contain any number of space separated attribute/value pairs.
The most popular misuse of the term “tag” is referring to alt attributes as “alt tags”. There is no such thing in HTML. alt is an attribute, not a tag.
<img src="foobar.gif" alt="A foo can be balanced on a bar by placing its fubar on the bar's foobar.">

From the above you now know what an element is. Can you figure out what a div element would be?
I won’t ask about an img-div element without breaking it down.
I believe the user story is asking for a figure or div element with an id="img-div" (From above, id is an attribute)
The next user story references the "img-div" element that you just created. Make sense?

Hope that helps.


I’m guessing it’s <div></div> but I don’t know. What does div mean? I can’t remember any of this. What is div? How long did it take for you to learn this?

I’ve edited your post for readability. When you enter a code block into a forum post, please precede it with a separate line of three backticks and follow it with a separate line of three backticks to make it easier to read.

You can also use the “preformatted text” tool in the editor (</>) to add backticks around text.

See this post to find the backtick on your keyboard.
Note: Backticks (`) are not single quotes (’).

I didn’t see that earlier. Anyway, is that what you were talking about? What does it do anyway?

I hesitated to even comment here because of the cursing and self destructiveness.

I don’t find it all that helpful to differentiate between tag or element. A lot of people use them interchangeably (I think fcc does also in the lessons). Even though they are technically different.
I think your biggest obstacle to learning will be your own mindset. With programming there will always be something you don’t know and something to learn. Languages evolve. That will never change you just have to be okay with it and the frustration that we all feel sometimes learning new things.

I don’t mind swearing, doesn’t bother me at all. Just don’t usually see it here and seemed really aggressive and out of place.

What was your motivation to start learning to code?
Also, if you have specific questions along the way people are more than happy to help.


So <div></div> are the HTML tags for div. That was the first part in my post that explained HTML tags vs elements vs attributes.

A div element would contain content between the two tags.

As to how long did it take me to learn this…I’ve been coding for a long time and I’m still learning.
I just recently took about a month off from the forums because I was building a website for my motorcycle chapter and was getting into areas that were somewhat foreign to me. So lots of Google and trial and error. It can be daunting but also fun and rewarding when it all comes together.

How long did it take for you to figure out how to do the first project on this site? Were you able to do it after one run through the lessons?

Honestly, I had some familiarity with HTML and CSS prior to taking the classes on FCC. My first project took a couple of days because although I knew how do to some of the tasks (user stories) there were others that I had to Google to ensure I was doing correctly, or I referenced the lessons. (couple that with I’m a little anal and was striving for perfection which is a difficult task to attain when it comes to coding)
My first run through of the tribute page met the parameters but the project that you see now has had a few changes as I understood more. And even now I’m sure others would comment on things I could do to improve.

Did you read the link I gave you to the Odin Project? Didn’t you see the section on “Don’t compare yourself to others”?

You are going to have to follow the help you get here. Otherwise people will give up on you in the same way you seem to be giving up on you.

I don’t know if you’re asking me. But I literally went back and looked up everything. There’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t remember people’s names the first time I meet them. I forget get embarrassed and have to ask. Memory comes from repetition, the more you do it the more you know without looking things up.

As an example, I’ve been using css keyframes for animations (doesn’t matter what that is) for 3 years, but infrequently. I needed to use it today and looked it up again because I don’t use it enough to remember exactly what to code. Who cares? No one. But I knew I could do what I wanted to do. And a part of coding is learning what is possible, knowing you can do it, then looking up how to do it. And knowing what is possible is something you learn along the way. You’re just at the beginning.

How quickly did you go through the curriculum? You’re asking other people but didn’t tell us your pace.

I am a slow learner. That does not automatically make me stupid. So I have to translate some code into “my thinking”. I look at <div> and classes as street addresses or houses. Sometimes there is habitants within the house that is related to this particular house (<div><p>). Tags are sort of Lego blocks.


Hi @jonjames1986 !

Welcome to the forum!

I have been helping people on the forum now for over a year and lots of people struggle with the first few projects.

So you are not the only one.

Lots of people forget what was in the lessons because they were only exposed to the concept once.

Naturally you are going to forget.

But it is completely fine to look things up in documentation or google.
You can also come to the forum and ask for help.

I think anyone can learn if they have patience and perseverance.

You don’t have to be the smartest person.
You don’t have to be the fastest person.

But you do have to have patience to learn this stuff.

No, it is a sign that you are new to this.

You are not going to remember everything because you were exposed to it ONCE.

You will only start to remember concepts through continual use through projects.

You are going to have to practice patience because all of this material is new.

Hope that helps!


Programming means a lot of program solving, struggling and even spending days to be able to finish a simple project. My husband is a senior programmer, one of the best in his city and I still see him googling bunch of stuff. Its okay to look back into the old stuff we learned.

I myself study programming, Im currently learning JavaScript and I do struggle often. I used to be a lawyer but didnt find any passion in it so I switched to programming. Its important you have a passion for what you do. I understand your frustration, I think all of us who learn programming get frustrated at some point, but take your time. For me loops took pretty long to understand, while for most of the people they are super easy to understand. Just keep going, dont give up, in a year you will laugh to this post and say to yourself it was funny that you stressed yourself over something you was able to learn in the end.

Best of luck :heart_decoration:


Honestly, that’s the easy part. Later tasks will force you to actually find some other resources.

If you think after going through the lessons once, you will have memorized everything and be able to solve every task - sorry, that’s not how programming works.
Programming even basic things like html include CONSTANTLY looking things up (so maybe save yourself some bookmarks for resources like w3schools).

And it’s only getting worse, especially once on the actual job, you have to be comfortable to look things up and say “I think I can do it, but I have to check how it’s actually done”.

If you just start out, ofcourse there is a lot you don’t know or have to look up again and repeat a couple of times.
So you REALLY need to work on your frustration-tolerance.
Programming is by far one of the fastest moving and evolving technologies. There are constantly new programs, modules, frameworks, CSS is getting new attributes but you also have to keep track of different browsers and versions and what they (don’t) support.

I just reset everything. Probably another stupid mistake. Maybe this time I’ll actually learn something, maybe not. I don’t remember when I started it. Is there a way to tell?

It took me a couple of tries on the first projects. There is a big gap between doing little exercises and putting everything into an actual page.

So, I would like to think that the answer to your question would be “not very stupid”. I like to think of myself as a smart person - even if my wife disagrees. :wink:

Given that everyone seems to think anyone can learn to code, and I seem incapable to remember lessons I’ve had in the last week, it appears I’m the exception to that rule.

One of the dangers of the modern world is an obsession with social media, which is also an obsession with how people present themselves instead of seeing how they are. It’s like the old saying, “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.” We see what people present but we don’t see their inner struggles or their failures, which people tend to hide or diminish.

What makes you think that the majority of those people didn’t have the same problems?

Is it normal to have to continually go back in the lessons to see wtf to do?

I didn’t go back to FCC lessons a lot, but I did do a lot of googling and reading documentation. And I still do, as a professional developer, I still am googling things all day. There is too much to remember. Given time, a lot of it sinks in, but still, a lot of it needs to be looked up.

Honestly, is this a sign coding just isn’t for me?

Not by itself. I think your attitude and interest and drive are more important. Those can overcome anything.

Maybe I’m not smart enough, or my mind doesn’t work the right way.

I don’t know about “smart enough” - I’ve met a lot of smart coders, but I’ve also met more than a few “dim bulbs”.

As to “mind doesn’t work the right way”, first of all, most of us don’t “think like computers” so we have to learn a new way to think (imperfectly). We all have to learn that. And there are many different “brain types” that I’ve met in coding. They all had something interesting to offer.


Hey @jonjames1986, have you thought about challenging some of your negative thoughts about yourself and your self worth? I feel like I am really smart, but I sometimes feel the same way as you, particularly when learning (or relearning) coding. What I have have found is that:

  1. Coding like anything is a skill that requires constant practice. Most things I have read from experienced coders is that consistency is the key (just like running, weight lifting, cardiothoracic surgery).

  2. Challenging negative thoughts is helpful and also takes practice. I like the Woebot app for help with this.

  3. Meditation is key to developing the emotional and mental calm and clarity to do things well and learn. I like the Headspace app for help with this. I think they might have a student discount.

You are not alone in having the feelings that you have. Most of us have been there and felt that way. Use the resources available to you and just keep moving forward no matter what. Failure is a better teacher than success, even though it doesn’t feel that way at first and it took me years to not just think that was BS.

Best of luck to you! You can do this!