I've fallen out of sync

Hey everyone, I’m not sure if this is the right forum category for this. If not, please let me know.

Here it goes. So I starting initially learning to code over COVID and made a lot of progress with it as I was furloughed. I was learning to code whilst at home and was still getting paid for my job. I made lots of progress with the Responsive Web Design course and completed it.

Following that and returning to a job which, to put it bluntly, is very far from what I want to do in life and doesn’t pay very well either, I tried to continue coding and kept learning. However, as the months went on I found myself doing fewer and fewer coding sessions after work and making very slow progress with JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures. I also had trouble getting to grips with it too.

I’ve now gotten to a point where I haven’t coded in about a year and I really want to get back into it. But honestly I’m not sure where the best place to start is.

I have been through this situation multiple times. I would start, and something would come long and I wouldn’t work on it for a while. I then started again, and then I got sick for three years and didn’t touch anything. Eventually, I was able to power through to get my degree and get a job shortly after that. I completely understand what it feels like to come back to this after a year, and it can be completely overwhelming. I would suggest just starting over on the web design curriculum, and the good news with that is that it was just updated! So, it would be a great idea to go back over that and see some of the new stuff you may not have learned before. If you go through the lessons and remember how to do some of the stuff, then you can skip through and go to the stuff you may not remember. The important thing right now is that you start doing something; the longer you wait, the better the chance of something coming along again, and this gets put off. Also, even if you get busy, the best thing you can do is work on something, even if it’s just an hour a day. Taking a break is fine, but I wouldn’t let it last more than a couple days.

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You’re not alone. I had a similar experience with learning on and off. I had an 18 month gap after learning the basics of html/css. Then another 18 months gap before I started learning JavaScript. I was a teacher and I was usually burnt out everyday to do any learning in the evening. But I made a plan, quit my job, found an alternative part time role and sacrificed a lot to get me through.

With the gaps I had, I used to revisit some earlier concepts before moving forward.

To be honest, I found the data structures and algorithm a bit tricky and put me off as I didn’t see the ‘point’ of solving algorithms when I can’t paint a navigation menu for example. So I skipped some modules and dived into, what I call, practical JavaScript, where I built basic apps e.g. a weight converter calculator, really simple to-do list etc… then dived into React. I found this more engaging and motivating than solving an algorithm. Maybe this might appeal to your way of learning.

Ultimately, learn by doing things - skip things if it doesn’t engage you. Build what you enjoy - that you way you’ll be more hooked to learning and more likely to continue the journey.