My brain is too dumb


#1

Hey everyone… So, I’m trying to learn to code, but it’s not going well. The worst thing is that I have all the time I want, I’m a high school student and I have 4 weeks of vacation left. I just started “Basic Algorithms” in front end development and I can’t understand a single thing in there. The only thing that I’m good at is typing a challenge title in the google and copying the code. It drives me nuts. I question my ability to even learn to code… Maybe I need to start with something else and build from there?


#2

Everyone has different difficulties. And I guarantee, whatever difficulties you are having, there are others that have had the exact same confusions.

And most of use use FCC as a framework, but end up doing a lot of research to fill in the gaps. Don’t be surprised that FCC does not give you all the answers. But part of this is learning to do your own research.

So, google it. If that doesn’t help, ask a question in a new thread. My only suggestion is to be very specific in your question - the more specific the question, the better the quality and quantity of answers. Don’t be shy. This is a very friendly and helpful group.


#3

That title is extremely self-limiting. You can’t expect to be able to understand everything right away. You take it bit by bit, and you will see things starting to click into place. I guarantee you that at some point, everyone here had a moment where something just wasn’t making sense. What you do after this determines how successful you will be. Take a step back and think about what exactly it is you’re having trouble with. Look this problem up on google. Ask a question in the forum. A great place I started with is Jon Duckett’s HTML & CSS, and JavaScript & jQuery. It doesn’t have to be your starting point, it’s just an example, but try and think more positively.


#4

Also look at it this way - if this were easy, there’d be be no jobs because everyone would just be doing it themselves. The truth is that this is a complicated subject. But that equates to job security and good salaries.

It used to be that anyone who knew a little HTML and CSS could get a job building web sites. Not anymore. But that’s OK. Now it will just be people that took the time to really learn. People with patience and perseverance.


#5

Thank you guys for your replies. I want to mention one thing, for the past 3 months I haven’t been active. Maybe I should restart all my front end development course and to deeper my knowledge just with the simple html & css? Because I feel like just writing another tribute page would be a challenge for me.


#6

Hi @Magahaka I’d be very surprised if your brain is too dumb, more likely you don’t have confidence in your abilities and skills which happens to everyone when learning something new.

If you need a refresher then restarting could be a good idea and move on when you feel you understand what you’ve just done.

As for googling answers and copying them to complete a challenge I’ve been tempted to do that. But what I do is look at the code I’ve just seen and try to work out what it’s doing, if I don’t understand it then I look into the bits that I don’t get and research them. FCC is a great framework to learning but it doesn’t contain all the code you will ever need, I refer to W3schools a lot as I find their way of explaining code very easy to digest.


#8

Your brain isn’t too dumb. I’m a high school student too, and I’ve struggled through various problems. Don’t worry about your ability to code, focus on working hard and learning more every time you touch the keyboard. I might suggest taking a break from the algorithm section and focus on another programming language for a while to sharpen abilities.

Believe in yourself, and the rest will fall into place. Have faith in your own abilities, work hard, and there is nothing you cannot accomplish. - Brad Henry


#9

Resourcefulness is just as important as intelligence when it comes to coding I think, possibly even moreso. Also, maybe you could try your hand at some math problems over at khanacademy.com to help sharpen your overall problem solving skills as you learn programming.


#10

I’ll just mention that there were a couple of challenges in either basic or intermediate (not sure which) that I found gave me much more trouble than some of the advanced algorithms. So being stuck on one doesn’t necessarily mean that you cant do the ones considered more advanced.

I briefly started trying to learn coding with a Udemy course, but it was very boring and seemingly difficult, (and the mouth noises of the instructor and his bad mic setup, in every video were driving me crazy… reminded me of this old youtube cartoon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rCgnyh4xjY )
so I gave up a month or 2 in.

I came back earlier this year I believe, and started using flatiron academy’s free bootcamp prep course. It was pretty good, I didnt finish it though (I reached a point where they too frequently didnt teach outright so much as link to javascript docs I didnt understand how to interpret yet), I jumped over to freecodecamp, and codewars.com (I highly recommend them). Now when I hit a snag I cant easily solve with google I head over to teamtreehouse and renew my basic plan for a month(they have some excellent courses).

For me it was codewars that showed me how much I could be interested in coding (and maybe even relatively good at it). Id get a good challenge and be unable to think about anything else, the next thing I’d know it would be midnight and I hadnt eaten all day, just zoned out working on the puzzle.

Good luck,
Hope you find your place among the coders!


#11

So I was in your situation once and learning to code while being a full time student is difficult. Trying to learn all at once while on a break never works. You can either try to fit coding into your daily schedule (an hour even) or wait until you have time to code full time.

It takes time to get into the mindset. At first the challenges will get hard but over time the solving process of them will become easier.


#12

Haha you’re brain is not dumb. This stuff is HARD. For everyone. My recommendation is to go to a website called WatchAndCode.com and take the practical JavaScript course. It’s free and brilliant. The guy who made it knows how to teach this stuff and make it stick. That’ll give you a deep understanding of the basics. Then come back to FCC and try to start somewhere after the basics. Then do the projects. Knowing the basics DEEPLY is key


#13

I was in your same situation. I used to copy answers and paste them in the editor. I figured as long as I can read and understand the code I am learning; I was wrong.
I could easily understand the code, but I couldn’t write it myself.
So I deleted my freeCodeCamp account and restarted all of it. Then googled some more places to learn coding for free. I found that looking at it as a game definitely helped, when I found codingame.com and started working on the first two challenges there. I found that I could not get past anymore than that though, so I was discouraged once again. But I continued to do google searches, and look for more resources.
I have done the basic courses on codecademy, dash.assemb.ly, and a few others, and they did help slightly, but not enough to get me through the algorithms on freeCodeCamp which I kept coming back to.
Finally I changed my search to “code learning games” and found this little site called codecombat.com. It was a very childish site, and being 23, and I almost didn’t look twice at it, but I was so discouraged with my lack of progress that I finally decided, why not? It couldn’t hurt to see what their site had to offer.
I found that although they directed their site at young children, and the idea was admittedly very childish, the site was EXTREMELY effective.
I am less than halfway through their game(it’s not a course, it’s definitely a game), and I am confident that I can do every single algorithm in freeCodeCamp’s JavaScript basic, intermediate, and advanced algorithms. And in fact, I have.
I’m not saying that that is what you should do, because everyone learns differently. But until you have went through every resource at your disposal and done everything you possibly could, you can’t say that you aren’t smart enough to code. There is something on the internet that can teach you to code. I promise you that. The resources are almost unlimited. You just have to look

Also, shoutout to the person who recommended Jon Duckett’s HTML and CSS, and JavaScript and jQuery, that man is an absolute genius, and his method of teaching is extremely effective, also. I’m just really lazy and didn’t want to hold a book open while I was coding lol. I spent $70 on his series as a set and was very happy with it, though, and I also recommend it to anyone.


#14

first you need to be self confidence about yourself, and try to see that is part of the learning process - the struggle …learn to enjoy it and see it as challenge. Second, get from outside FCC , like go to udacity.com and get their free course or better yet their paid course. Go to google, go to other online resource w3c ?, etc

and exercise …exercise is key for learning process …it makes our brain to be more maleable and flexible …


#15

If I’d started with these algorithm challenges as my introduction to programming, I don’t know that I’d do any better. I know it’s not Javascript, but this book (https://learnpythonthehardway.org/) was my introduction to programming about three years ago. Since then, I’ve become a full-time Python developer.

IMO before trying to complete programming challenges, you need a solid foundation of the basics - basic data types (strings, ints, etc), built-in data structures (arrays, dictionaries, etc) and basic control structures (for loops, functions).

You’re not dumb – you just need to find the path that works for you.

On a side note, I’m employed as a programmer now and I feel stupid on a regular basis. Struggling to unravel complicated logic puzzles is what programming is about.

Good luck.


#16

Have you completed the previous challenges?

I’d advise you to, when stumped on a challenge, step away from the computer and draw the necessary algorithm as a flowchart, and then try translating it into code.

If you’re having trouble turning the resultant algorithm into code, try putting it into simplistic pseudocode before translating it into javascript.


#17

I’d advise anyone readig this not to try learnpythonthehardway. It’s outdated, confusing, doesn’t teach one much or explain anything, and sometimes gives bad advice.Try Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, or for that matter any of Al Sweigart’s free ebooks instead, and the official python tutorial at the official python documentation website.

You should give /r/dailyprogrammer on Reddit a try, too.


#18

I respectfully disagree, I think it’s a pretty decent book. It’s also been updated recently.


#19

Hi Magahaka. It’s good that you’re communicating and opening up to the forum here.
My suggestion is if possible, find an encouraging mentor, hopefully someone you get to see at school regularly, for affirmation and advice. Yes it’s true, everyone can code, and it’s valuable to just about everyone. It’s got to be fun though. I’ve been overwhelmed in the past, so make sure you’re encouraged along every step of the way.
Don’t give up too soon though! When it’s hard at first, it can become easier as you re-do exercises.


#20

Maybe it’s improved, but I got really confused when I tried it.


#21

This is a great suggestion. As an engineering student with a strong foundation in math, I find programming algorithms easier to understand than someone with a lighter background in math or quantitative reasoning.