Learning too many things and forgetting the older ones

Hi to everyone.
I’m 31 year old and I’m a beginner programmer. Or at least, I’m trying to become it.

My past programming experiences were terrible since to school, due to some learning problems.
Then, during my life, I’ve spent time doing an accauntant job.
Now It’s the time to change. Recently I’ve tryed to follow a C# / Angular course (250 hours) but It was a nightmare. The teacher’s lessons were too fast and superficial and I couldn’t follow him at all, I had to abandon the course.

Now I’ve decided to do by myself and find programming resources through Udemy, YouTube and so on.
Unfortunately many things I learned thanks to them (some hours of study) did not help me much (I’ve spent time on Java). Some have been superficial, some topics take time and practice to be learned and I feel terribly late for these things.

Luckly, I’ve found FreeCodeCamp. I’m convinced that following this kind of course, I could really learn something, I like the way where you read the theory, you write the code and you can see your results.

Or at least, I hope so. Yesterday I did all the HTML challanges and now I’m at the 50% of the CSS’ course. There is one problem: Ok, I’ve learned a lot of things BUT I’m not convinced that I can remember everything. Really, I’m not remembering everything I did (luckly I was quite provident in taking note of all the lessons I did)

My message is for the people who have finished HTML, CSS and JavaScript: is it the right way to learn, so to conclude one lesson after another or should I repeat the past exercises and become familiar with them every day?

My problem is time. As I said, I’m 31 and after losing my job as an accountant I can’t afford to waste any more time. Everything I do, is only to try to became a Front-End programmer, at least, It seems I like this kind of things.

Is it normal to forget the things you learned previously? According to you, going ahead with the course, will I remember the past exercise thanks to the FreeCodeCamp teaching method?

Thank you for reading.

TL; DR: I’m not a boy anymore, I need to get back quickly on a job, I’ve not so much time to lose, I’m not good at Programming (as Java, C# Lang), following every exercise of FreeCodeCamp will get me to become a Junior Front-End Programmer?


If you can’t remember everything, I’d suggest going through about two of the html/css courses and building the first certification project with what you’ve learned. If you still can’t remember everything after you’ve gone through the entire web development section, restart your progress and go through it again. That’s what I did to get a better understanding.

Yes. It is normal to forget a lot of things. I do all of the time and have to go back to review the forgotten subject.

The newest version of freeocdecamp is coming out in 2020. It lets you build more than five projects for each section so that you can review and actually get a good understanding of what’s going on in the curriculum.

Nobody has perfect memory and mine is really bad when it comes to css grid and flexbox.
Just keep coding and don’t give up.


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CSS Grid and Flexbox. I’ve heard about them, it seems they won’t be easy challanges (and the lessons about JavaScript)
My problem is that I haven’t matured enough logic, I lack in Computer’s logic. And due to this I’ve problems learning Java and similar topics. It needs time, a lot of time to learn, make practise and I feel I don’t have that time :frowning:

Thank you @ConnerOw1115. At the moment I’m at the CSS section about Override topic. But surely, If i open the Notepad, I’m sure I can’t re-write everything I did.
I remember several concepts, broadly speaking if I read the code, I know what the instructions I wrote do. But replicating the code at 100% alone, about the Cat’s project, (like applying borders, padding etc.) is unthinkable. I should restart the course from scratch

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It’s a daunting task to try and remember everything. I think that part of the learning process is gaining the confidence to hunt down the documentation for things online and having reliable sources of information that you can reference for things you don’t have 100% committed to memory.

I make heavy use of MDN, even for “simple” things like the syntaxes for Array.splice() and Array.slice().

My day job is as a “staff software engineer” for a front-end JS framework, and I’ve always had the specter of “imposter syndrome” creeping behind me because I didn’t come into the field as a degreed individual. I had to hack and slash my way through JS, HTML, and CSS to get where I am. I decided to go through the front-end developer curriculum to help remind me that I do know lots of stuff, and while it was “easy” (for me), there were challenges where I still needed to look some things up.

TL; DR: Don’t worry about committing everything to memory, use the Web when you need it. While following the exercises can get you in a position to be a junior dev, it’s more about how well you’re able to solve problems.


@camperextraordinaire You’re right, I rarely do this, I think it’s time to do it more often, as the topics become more and more difficult. I’m forced to go fast because I’d like to learn as quickly as possible. Too bad I’m a Human-being and not a Computer who can store everything :frowning:

Thank you. Yes, one of the few things I learned from the teacher is that today’s Programmers rely heavily on online resources (eg Stackoverflow)

Everyone’s path is different but mine was rather straightforward. After resigning from my graphic design job and taking the risk to become a developer (I do have CS training but it needed a major refresh) I took a position that was a fraction of what most developers were being paid and have been working 10-12 hours a day. It was far from ideal but it got me straight back into development full time, and daily I’ve been getting much more knowledge developing, learning so on. I’ve come far but I won’t be there (likely ever) and it came at the price of time and severe penny pinching and daily life sacrifices I made in order to learn and get closer to where I want to be.

If minimum wage or even free charity work creating web pages is not feasible for you, you still need to spend a considerable amount of your time learning web development in order to get there.

There is sadly no quick and easy way to get there. Just more efficient paths and take heart that free code camp is already pretty darn efficient.

Before going into this as a deep dive, You need to understand the competition (ie on places like coderbyte and hackerrank). You need to have passion for the craft (do you enjoy web development or are you in it for the money?) And of course you eventually need to be vetted.

First time getting a position is by far the hardest.

In summation you must have the grit, passion, commitment, and desire to become a professional developer. And then with those four your vetting comes with time and a lot of trial and error.

Development is not the “dream job” everyone says it is unless you got lucky and inherited an easy job somewhere as management and you don’t need to code a lick. It’s a lot of long hours sitting on your butt figuring out “the impossible”. A lot of frustration and imposter syndrome as management may not view your abilities and delays with a kind eye. And a lot of man hours learning forever and improving yourself because what you learn today may not hold true tomorrow.

But, when and if you get to senior that is truly rewarded not only by the joy of solving more puzzles, but a tenured, secure position.


I’m not sure you need to have a passion for programming, but you do at least need to enjoy at least some aspects of it. If you’re in it for the money, you’ll just end up hating your programming job instead of your accounting job.


I’ve failed learning Java and C# due to my “immaturity”. Seeing that some people learned Programming thanks to following a dedicated course by 300 - 600 hours, I thought I could do the same.

Unfortunately I am not led to logic and when it comes to applying concepts of Inheritance, Polymorphism, Classes, Array operations and so on, I feel lost. Because I don’t know how a Computer logic works. I can learn every theoretical concept but when it comes to apply the theory, the problems come.

Compared to other people I need much more time to develop the logic. And that ruined me.
In both cases (Java, C#) I gave up after two weeks because the lessons were too superficial and fast. I was learning very little and also badly; When the lesson was finished I arrived at home, I tried to apply the concepts for hours but I felt lost, even re-reading the theorical lessons.

I need my learning times.

That’s why I’m trying to do it by myself and I would like to try to specialize in the Front End. Since when I was young, I was fashinated by the Internet (near the end of 1999) And FreeCodeCamp is helping me somehow, compared to many other sites that introduce so much theory and very little practice. On FreeCodeCamp, for every theoretical explanation, there is an exercise, I like this way of doing things. In this case, however, my problem is that after several days, I tend to forget things, because I am not a computer and I wanted to understand if I am the only one with this kind of difficulty or if other people have problems remembering many concepts, one behind the other.

I haven’t had the opportunity in these years to study computer science and work with it, as I would have liked … Unfortunately it is too late for me. But I will try anyway to apply myself. I would have liked to discover FreeCodeCamp 6 months ago, instead of wasting my time studying / reading the theoretical concepts and then having difficulty applying them to projects (especially starting projects).

And due to my lack of logic, I already know I will have problems with JavaScript. HTML and CSS aren’t so hard, there’s a very little logic behind them. I hope that thanks to FreeCodeCamp resources I can defeat my demons. Someway I’m already used to work with variables, IF statements, loop, array and so on. At least, I know already the theoretical concepts behind them…But my huge difficulty will be applying logic.

When I was a kid I liked to find out what was behind Web pages. HTML, Script and so on.

Life is strange … In theory I should have followed this path … But I wasn’t smart enough to notice it and I settled for becoming an accountant. I live in Italy and it’s not easy to find a job, I had to settle for what I found and give up my passion for computing. I hope at least to learn something about Front End programming.

In reality, rather than programming, I like to build and fix computers. But still, it is really difficult to enter this job sector, without some certifications and at my age.

Why on earth would you think it’s too late to learn computer science? It’s not football, it’s just math. I’m 47, and just this year I started learning category theory, which is about the most abstract nonsense that CS can reach. Sure, not a lot of CS theory applies when it comes to programming in mainstream languages, but if you’ve learned something, you’ve hardly wasted your time. It sure isn’t a prerequisite to programming, but it might actually come in handy when you get comfortable with programming languages.

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I hope so @chuckadams
When I say “It’s too late” It’s because I’m 31. Here in Italy people like me are “old”
I’d like to get a job as a Web Developer (Back End is not for me, at the moment, since my logic issues) but here, when you have passed the 29 years old, the companies look at you as an old-man and they can’t afford to invest on you. Maybe, there are some exceptions but I don’t think to be lucky enough to find a company like that.
Yet I am here, trying to recover what I couldn’t do long time ago. And I feel the the road is uphill and difficult. And maybe I’ve found a great resource (FreeCodeCamp). We’ll see :slight_smile:
I expect to get back here again in the forum, surely, because when I’ll approach the JavaScript lessons, I’m going to cry XD

I am a tutor at a college & work with folks w/ assorted problems with learning. Randell’s advice is most excellent for the kind of learner who needs things to actually make sense for them to stick in the memory, and … that seems like it would fit you (“too fast and superficial” – you want it more thorough ;)). Taking notes as you go is also a really good idea especially if you remember things better by doing that (that’s true for lots of people but not everybody… )
It really sounds like you have lots of learning strengths that will work for this kind of job… I suspect it’s a case where if you slow down, you’ll get there faster because you won’t be spinning your wheels.
GOOD LUCK and keep asking questions!

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-You’ll forget syntax (No problem it happens to all of us) But Deeply in your brain you know that this isuue need this solution and quickly you can find it using MDN libraries like (W3Schools pr Mozilla MDN)

-To make what did you learned stay in memory you need to practice (I advice you to start a project like building you Portfolio website and apply what did you learn)

-My advice for you : Don’t watch to your clock when you learn it will make it hard and long and try to find a temporary job so you can learn with comfort

Good luck

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@geonz Yes, unfortunately I am slow enough to understand new things. For example, during the 250 hours C # / Angular course, in a single day the teacher talked about Inheritance and Polymorphism, introducing things like Abstract, Override, Virtual methods and so on. Morover, I had enough lack about how a Reference Type work.

There were so many new things in my head and I couldn’t keep up of them. We were working (with other 11 people in the classroom) on a Teacher’s project and to me it was so hard. I gave up the day he introduced Interfaces and Enheritance about Interfaces. It seemed I was the only one who couldn’t understand…
I was the only one who raised his hand to ask explaination on most of the concepts, I kept interrupting the professor and asking for explanations. He explained again what I did not understand and despite that, I had difficulty understanding, unable to put all the pieces well. Unfortunately, compared to other people, I need more time to understand and put all the pieces together.

Now, after 6 months since I had given up to my old job due to internal problems, I’m in the condition where I can learn things by myself, taking my times (thanks to FreeCodeCamp, which gave me a track about the project I should follow).
I’m just shocked about the fact that me, in only 250 hours, I should have learned C# foundamental (OOP), HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Angular…It was impossible…I can’t understand how in the world the other 11 participants did understand the topics.

Considering for example that FreeCodeCamp has estimated that to learn HTML & CSS + JavaScript takes at least 900 hours

@SalimDev Somehow I’m understanding something. Often I can’t replicate the entire code of past lessons but at least now I know how a code works, when I read the syntax.
I agree that to remember things, need practise, practise and practise. Write code, everytime. More the code I write, the more I remember. But not always I have time to re-write the code.
And one thing I hope for is that there are automatisms to avoid writing code, once the syntax is well set in the mind.

I’m not looking at the clock when I write code; Indeed, I wish I had more time…24 hours a day is not enough…I’d like 48 hours in a day XD I feel that the time to learn is so little

I think Free Code Camp is more honest than a lot of sites about how long things take. Think of diet plans – you’ll lose all these pounds in 2 weeks… yea right :wink: … and it doesn’t matter what some website says … it matters you can dive in and take your time and learn it right… Bottom line is you want to be the guy that can do this stuff :slight_smile:

@geonz Yes. Not saying that websites like Udemy are trash…But their teaching, to mee, lack of substance. The guy talks, shows you information, you copy his code. But since, in my case, he’s not working on a real project, I just learn a piace of the puzzle and I don’t know where to put it.

Even YouTube didn’t help me so much. I mean, there are tons of resurces, created by many people…
It helped me to learn something about OOP…But the explanation of the arguments is an end in itself … You think you’re understanding but in reality you don’t know where to put that piece of information.

A newbe like me needs a 24h Tutor, which take my hand and guide me step by step. With FreeCodeCamp, it’s structured in a way where, in the same moment you’re learning something new, you’re forced to use that piece of information into the project.

I appreciated the project design of the site related to the cats and now I’m on the “variables” part, where the Penguin project was introduced.

I can’t blame others (at least, for the most). I am responsible for my failures, because I have a way of thinking that perhaps does not coincide with what it takes to develop a software. But still, I would like to try .

Yes… It takes longer but it’s more like … an actual course. I’ve also got access to LinkedIn courses – they bought up Lynda.com – and they’ve got some good in-depth courses. I need more than “here’s a trick to do that.” I need to build the knowledge up.
Often there’s more than one way to think about things – and if you’ve had to figure them out with a different way of thinking, your understanding is likely to be deeper :slight_smile:

Take this in the kindest way possible Auronzolo, but the problem isn’t the structure, the teachers, the pace of the courses, the courses themselves or anything else. It frankly is the fact you are your own worst enemy by creating and living these excuses that need not even be in your mindspace more than questioning if you were doing enough programming.

31 is young. Ten years younger than when I seriously started doing software development again. I too flunked out of school because of my genuine immaturity as well as sexual harassment in college. No quotes around immaturity needed because with the grit I have now I could have found ways around the harassment and not be instead a victim. Were I more mature I’d be in a different place in life now.

But I own the lack of development I had, I paid for it by flopping around with an art degree I wasn’t talented enough to develop nor passionate enough to fuel with grit. Instead I found a path through my former training in software development and through a LOT of time and failures I am getting there.

In software development, no one can provide you the answers you yourself must provide to yourself. And you need to study everything and anything. You need a LOT of discipline in this industry to learn. A lot more than anyone else talks about (only times there is an emphasis on glorifying how wonderful it is to be a fat, well fed software developer).

Even with a 24 hour tutor I’m afraid you’re not going to get what you need. Which honestly is the passionand discipline to find answers without anyone helping you.

I am glad you said you are responsible for your failures. That is the way to start. Owning everything and climbing tooth and nail from square one. That is how many late bloomers started and they too did blossom.

Free code camp is a great platform to start. If I were you I’d stop nitpicking the courses, and start deep diving while trying to find a job that can sustain you.

Best of luck in your continuing journey.