I think I screwed up with the basic algorithms, any insight would be appreciated

Ok, so I’ve been trying to get through the basic algorithms and I’m having a lot of trouble with them. I think I finished about 5 on my own, the rest I had to look at the solution to figure out where I was going wrong. I’ve been really stressed about all this. I’ll sit down with a basic algorithm for nearly a day and get about 50% of the way there, but have trouble getting the other 50%. I feel like I made a mistake by looking at the solutions instead of sticking it out and making really ugly but working code.

At this point I think I have to slow down and find some resources to learn from to get a stronger foundation in javascript. These challenges are only going to get harder and they’ve been making me anxious lately. Incredibly simple stuff like messing with arrays could take me nearly a day to figure out so I often worry what it’ll be like when I have to tackle more challenging projects.

Don’t stress out about it. Problem solving is a skill that every programmer has to learn. You can clear your browser cache and try again. Break all problems down into sub-problems. Write ugly code that works, then hammer it into something more elegant.


First of all, you haven’t “screwed up” or anything like that. Looking for a solution is part of the process. What you don’t want to do is look for a solution and then, once you’ve copied it to solve your challenge, pretend that you did it on your own. That will screw you up down the road.

But, by virtue of the fact that you have posted this message in the forum means that you aren’t pretending and know that you need help. That is what the community is for.

I was in a similar position to you, so let me tell you what I did and if it helps you in anyway - great.
I started FCC about a year ago. I cruised through the curriculum until I hit the Basic Algorithms. I then got stuck. I then looked for solutions and foolishly copied them without understanding what was going on. I then realized that I knew nothing and gave up. About a month ago I started FCC again. But this time, whenever I hit an obstacle I worked on it till I understood it. Often times I couldn’t do this on my own (I didn’t know how to read MDN articles properly, I didn’t know what half the people on StackOverflow were talking about, etc, etc). But I decided to trust in the “Read-Search-Ask” process that FCC recommends. I found two programmers who were willing to explain things to me and were open to me constantly asking them questions. And you know what - it worked! I have gone through many of those challenges again, but this time I solved them on my own (sometimes after a full day of Q&A with a programmer, reading, searching, and trial and error). Don’t feel discouraged if it takes you half a day to figure out one challenge. Half a day to do it on your own will help you more than 10 min to copy/paste someone else’s solution.

Spending that much time will also stand you in good stead when you do get to those tougher projects.

Try go to meetups with your local FCC group, or get in touch with a few of them online. Find one who is willing to answer your questions or send you to resources that will help you.

The “Read-Search-Aask” method works, who knew :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I hope this has been helpful. Stick at it and things will begin to click. Slowly at first, but they will.