Remembering it all

Hi, I have a bit of a maybe silly question?

I’m doing the HTML/CSS learning at the moment, so very much at the beginning and have a question for you more experienced campers!

Do you remember all the different codes within the languages you do? And if so how? Or is it more of a “I know how to look it up better” kind of thing?

Is being able to remember at least one coding language paramount to being successful in a career?

I hope this makes sense as a question! Just a imposter syndrome moment of “How do people remember all these new words, letters, symbols, etc!?” :sweat_smile:


Hey Laura,

It’s hard to put into exact words, but for me, I remember syntax for things and a lot of keywords, commands, symbols, etc. because I end up using them frequently. If I don’t use a particular language for some time, I might have to do a quick refresher, but for me, it’s like riding a bike and comes back to me.

I’d say that programming is definitely a hybrid of remembering at least the basics of how to use things and great lookup skills for when you can’t remember that method, what paremeters they have, what types those parameters are, etc.

Basically, just practice, practice, and practice some more! Keep creating things, and you’ll end up remembering more than you think. It’s a little daunting at first, but that’s why we have the internet. You can look whatever you need up! Never be afraid to do that.


You don’t memorize content. The more you use it and understand it, the more you know. This is like learning another skill or natural language. You start by having to look things up all the time. Then you’re looking things up less, but stopping to think about them. Then you’re just doing it.


Or is it more of a “I know how to look it up better” kind of thing?

The thing about “remembering it all”, is you really only need to remember specific aspects, and only remember what you find you need.

For example, you can always lookup how to use an HTML <form> tag properly when you want to write some HTML code that accepts user input. To do that though you need to remember <form> and when/why you’d use it. All the specifics are what you can find online.

Its kinda like cooking, you need to at least remember the name of the dish and how it tastes to know how to look up the recipe and know when to cook it.

Finally, you don’t need to remember everything either, just knowing roughly what is out there can help. Going back to the <form> example, if you know HTML can accept user input you could look for that directly (“how to accept user input in HTML”, or “how to build a signup sheet in HTML”)

This gets us to the final “deeper” thing to remember. Its context. Knowing the specifics of HTML and CSS is only as useful as HTML and CSS are useful. For example you can’t build a database in HTML, knowing the limitations goes back to understanding the context in what your looking for, otherwise asking something like “How do I build a database in HTML” will get you to places where you can’t find an answer as its the wrong context.

Unlike the “what” and “why” understanding the context is rather broad and only comes into the picture once you grasp the larger picture. This takes time, and continual learning.

Good luck, keep learning keep growing :+1:



Here’s something from this week that demonstrates what the previous posters already stated:

I needed some Regex for my code. I hate regular expressions, as useful as they are. So I asked ChatGPT to write it for me. It misunderstood my prompt in parts and inserted the expressions in the wrong line. No issue, cut and paste, done!

What I needed to know: What regular expressions are, what Regex I needed in this situation and to see ChatGPT’s mistake and how to correct it.
What I didn’t need was to remember the exact syntax.

Get a good general understanding how computers, software systems and computer languages work. The details like syntax can be looked up in a minute.