I am worrying about forgetting stuff

Hi everyone. I know this is a statement made a lot by aspiring programmers, but mine concern is little bit different. Until today I had to give a lot of breaks during my learning journey(I’ve never get chance to pass tutorial hell until now). From my experience altough forgetting css and html was hard, I forgot js while learning reactjs. Right now I am trying to build projects and by doing this getting certificate and finally land a job. But Since I want to go into Full Stack and currently studying at unrelated university, there will be a lot of gaps too. In one cemester I will not be able to continue programming max 3 weeks straight and by passing the previous language or framework I will not be able to go back until the next one is completed. And I am worrying about losing track of my projects, forgetting the intermediate to advanced stuff or just cool stuff I learned.
I would be really happy to hear your thoughts/solutions . If you have a experience about this it would help me a lot.

As I’m working through the FCC Curriculum, I find the best way of retaining information is to take copious notes.

The purpose of this is threefold:

  1. I’m reinforcing my learning by writing down everything I’m learning as I go, rather than simply chasing the next checkmark.
  2. I ensure that everything I write down I understand as fully as possible, so I do additional research and also add links to articles which explain concepts more clearly or fully. This way, I gain a much deeper understanding of the course material and don’t skip past anything which doesn’t immediately make sense to me.
  3. You will forget stuff. Everybody does. Having detailed notes (which, importantly, I fully understand) means that I can refer back to them at any point in the future when I need to brush up on a particular topic.

For instance, I took 97pp of notes on the first Javascript Course alone. I’m now on my 8th certification and have hundreds of pages of notes, examples and links to useful articles, Stack Overflow discussions etc.

Of course, this approach isn’t right for everyone. I also spend considerable time here on the forum trying to help others, which also reinforces my learning. Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, I spend a LOT of time writing code. Bad code, good code, possibly even the odd bit of great code. As much as anything else, you learn by doing.


Thanks for the answer. This might be the first time I heard someone taking notes on programming. Normally I think it helps me to take notes on almost every other subjects but I haven’t try taking notes for programming. I am definitely going to try this. I believe adding links to the resources would help a lot.

Worth noting imo that some content creators in this “learn to code” space advise against taking notes, emphasizing repetition (via mini projects and such). I don’t have an opinion on it, personally, but it’s something to think about.

I take notes too - I find it helps the ideas and terminology sink in as I write it down. I find that as I complete more programming tasks I refer less and less, but the very fact that I have written it down seems to help me.

I believe even if we take notes and do revisions from time to time(I do both from time to time) still we’ll all forget most of what we have learned.
I realized that in my opinion the most important is to just try to understand what we learn at any given time(I currently try to learn Python) by using supplementary material like Youtube videos, articles, StackOverflow, MDN, W3Shools, etc.
So taking notes is a great way to understand fully the new concepts we are facing.
Google is our friend! :slight_smile:

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Some things I like to do to help me remember my languages are

  1. Make a project after I finish learning
  2. Take notes
  3. Do a review

Making a project at the end of learning is probably the most important

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Taking notes will force you to write about what you are learning which can reinforce the learning. Just like writing an article or helping on the forum would.

Taking notes as reference material, I don’t really believe to be all that useful. If you have the choice between coding more or taking notes, I would suggest you code more. If you have time for both and you think the notes are helping, then by all means keep taking notes.

There is no way you will remember everything, not a chance. But it is much quicker to re-learn something again when you need it. If you never need it again, who cares if you can remember it?

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I tried to take notes, didn’t found it useful on practice

Instead using code which is written by me plus bookmarks in the browser to look stuff up. If store these things organized, it can be useful.

re: note-taking

Best case, you have reimplemented documentation that already exists.

Worse case, you have errors in your notes and no one but you will ever see them so they will not get corrected. I also see a lot of incorrect terminology in beginner code comments so it is very likely that would be the same for the notes.

I often refer back to my notes as an aide memoire. I find it very useful way of jogging my memory on a particular subject. I can look at notes I’ve taken and the knowledge and understanding I had when I wrote them comes flooding back. Often I can then tweak the notes as my overall knowledge is deeper now than it was when I wrote them originally. Taking and referring to notes is just one of many techniques which helps me learn and retain information more fully.

It’s not for everybody of course. I would certainly recommend writing code above all else!

Personally, I’d prefer looking at more official documentation than my own notes.

My main fear is that without any oversight the notes from a beginner might contain errors and erroneous ideas that will not be corrected.

Yes, you’re right of course. I read a lot of official documentation too, which informs notes I take. I also read Stack Overflow, articles, watch videos and follow other online tutorials. I link to these in my notes too.
I guess I like to cover all my bases, which means I learn slowly but hopefully very thoroughly.

I can see using something like Notion with links to docs and articles for various subjects.

But it feels a bit like digital hoarding to me and I would probably start it and then just abandon it at some point when it became too much work to maintain.

Anyway, people should use the tools they find helpful. I’m for sure not suggesting otherwise.

For whatever is worth, I learned to relax about forgetting material because there’s always google. In fact I decided to aim at understanding what I learn instead of worrying about forgetting (we’ll get to that…) Let me tell you how I started learning JS:

  1. Google’s Grasshopper application: I had nothing better to do and I installed this on my cell phone not knowing that I was going to learn JS withouth noticing it. It was quite addictive to complete all those certificates while listening to the little piano after completing a challenge.

  2. Of course, after completing all challenges in Grasshopper’s app, I wanted to learn more about JS and I started reading Eloquent JavaScript by Marijn Haverbeke. Great book… I didn’t understand much of it but I was getting there… The it came to me:

  3. freeCodeCamp: Yay! Digestible chunks in small lessons that I can follow (and forget easily…) I am not done with fCC platform but I am doing my best (come on, I am a 53 years old family guy… I am not as sharp as I was when I was younger…)

Somehow two pieces of advice helped me:

  • Try other platforms to see the same material under a different light: I enrolled in JavaScript Essentials 1 at Cisco Networking Academy and I was like “Wow! This is starting to make more sense.” I also finished a JS course at OPENCLASSROOMS and was ellated to see that some things were sticking.

  • Google what you forget: I have been trying to learn Python programming since forever and haven’t been able to… When I finally decided to look at some videos by Krish Naik at YouTube he said: “Google is your friend”… A revelation, I relaxed…

I have retaken many modules from fCC, netacademy and have started reading, yet again, Eloquent JavaScript and this time I am reinforcing most of what I have learned… I am trying my hand at some of the projects in fCC and have completed one of them…

Take it easy…


Great post, daacosta. I had never heard of Grasshopper 'til now, but will check it out. Sadly, though, the iOS version is gone for some reason? Doesn’t show up in my store :frowning:


The online version works well in the browser. You may try it at:



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