School or Programming

I am turning 16.I am in high school. I go to a boarding school where they don’t allow phones, laptops and most tech related gadgets. Access to the school computer lab is difficult. . Whenever I go back to school, I loose progress. I practise computer programming during the holidays but they are so short. It becomes difficult to concentrate on programming since the school also gives students holiday assignments.
How do I deal with such a setback?

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Have you talked to the school? I don’t know your situation is, but I find it hard to believe they would not encourage someone to learn programming if they are interested. I don’t know if there are cultural or religious attitudes involved. I can understand them wanting to limit things like social media and mindless youtube scrolling, etc. But if someone wants to learn about computers, it seems like something most people would want to encourage.

Can you ask the school? Can your parents get involved? Can you suggest you be allowed to keep a laptop but a teacher or RA is allowed to keep it for you? Maybe it gets locked up in the computer lab but it is yours to use? Can you start a programming club at the school, get a teacher involved, and get some visibility that way?

That being said, there are also plenty of great books on programming and the philosophy of coding - it would be a good way to at least be learning something.


There is also software they could install to monitor/restrict your use. It could be open to inspection by a teacher/TA?

Hello @enochm!

This is absolutely correct. Reading programming books can seem intimidating and frustrating at first if you’re used to watching tutorials and live coding sessions but trust me it’s one of the best ways to develop insane algorithm and confidence.

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I first to talked to the laboratory technician and the director of studies and they both said they would something about it. It seems they do not see it as a major concern. My parents are currently trying to work something out .
I feel reading books can help. Are there any good books you would suggest

Yeah, see what you can do through official channels. I see that you are in a different country than I am and attitudes can be different, but it just seems very odd to discourage a student from learning a very marketable and productive skill. It seems very backwards to me.

There are a lot of great books. Of course, there are great books on programming - too many to mention. There are also great books or more abstract concepts, like Clean Code and all those. This is a pretty good list. On actual coding, I like things like the YDKJS series and JavaScript Allongé. The problem with actual code books is that they work best if you can reinforce them by actually coding. But maybe you could read at night, and code when you get into the lab. Some of these books are available as ebooks, but of course, you might not be able to use them.

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I can’t offer much help about your school situation. As Kevin pointed out, there are some good books out there ranging from the history of computers to principles of good design. You might enjoy that. Overall though, I want to reassure you that if you can’t get much experience writing code now, it’s not too late. I understand that it’s frustrating not being able to pursue an interest, but I wouldn’t worry about being “behind” when it comes to learning to code.


Hello my friend, I can help you with a few ideas.

The core principal in this case, more than a programming language is to keep the logic always working.

For example I learned along the way from my times without internet, even without a computer to ALWAYS have a backup plan to deal with any challenge.

  • The internet it’s down?
    • You need to have the material (video, ebooks, files, etc) downloaded in your hard drive or memory flash ready to use.
    • Also keeping it updated and organized from time to time, to avoid unpleasant surprises.

  • No computer or any electronic device?
    • Print material on paper that is theoric and other for exercises, so keep it balance.
      • For theory free material, search in google for: “Programming Notes for Professionals books” they collect the best answers of Stack Overflow in pdf ebook format of distinct topics: .NET, algorithms, android, sql, etc.
      • For practice free material, search for: “codeguppy” in their page in the section downloads in programming books and look for “50 Coding Challenges” is for Javascript practice, but the format is really coding agnostic, you can even use pseudocode.
    • Although I recommend to print every chapter apart to read, practice and review again doing some tinkering here and there, if you pass chapter after chapter like a marathon the brain don’t save the information as it should.
    • With a pen and paper, you’re more than good. This is also useful when the electricity is off on your home or any place.
      • On holidays when you’re back home, you can write in the computer to see if your answers were good or you need to fix something.
      • I use it specially when I have to do chores, escort some family members to the hospital, or any place where I have to be wait for long periods of time (on the bus or bank for example).

  • The page gives you free material, but there is no pdfs available?
    • Use a free browser extension like “GoFullPage” to save it as pdf to print it later (available for chrome or firefox).
      • For example the page “YDKJS Exercises” gives you the exercise and the answer to unhide, you can print it and write the answer as a form of flash cards to help your memory.

  • You don’t have enough money to print it?
    • Print more than a page in the same face (as slides) or even in the back, to don’t let any space wasted.
    • Ask to decrease the quantity of ink before print to lower the price, also using recycled pages from homeworks also works fine.
    • You can even hand write the most important material, because code is a bunch of letters more than graphics, you have an advantages there.

  • Also consider to play logic games on your free time, that help your memory and problem solving skills, for example I personally recommend Go (also know as Baduk or Weiki depending of the country). Is more abstract than chess, fewer rules, easy to learn but hard to master.
    • Search for: “Falling in Love with Baduk” to print the free ebook.
    • I always try to solve at least a problem every day before sleep, you may find patterns… that reminds me of programming patterns?? wink, wink.

Important: as point apart, i have to highlight this…

Let me tell you that I understand you and curiously I tell to my brother (a full time developer) a similar complaint, because I have to do different chores (not programming related) that sucks my time and I was tired and I have so little time to spend studing to become a developer.

My brother told me,

"Do you really believe that when you are working, is a task at a time? sometimes I have to deal with a project and suddenly the boss calls and I have to pause and deal with another one, previously did it for me months ago that I don’t remember well or did it for another partner, solve it the fast as I can and continue with my work.

The fact that they give me another task doesn’t mean that I have extra time to do the previous one, there is a fixed delivery date.

And depending on the company and their organization, if it’s bad, they can give you, no two but three or more task. Even work extra hours sometimes, and you have to be ready to work the next day.

Learn to be multitask."

After hearing that I realized, that I have to overcome everything.

I know it’s not easy when you’re a rookie and you’re still learning, it’s not the same when you do live code or to be able to debug to find your error in real time. But finding alternatives to the problems that arrive is part of this line of work, doesn’t it? and it’s worth it.

Hope it helps :slight_smile:


Thank you very much. This information is really so helpful

People above me told excellent suggestions. Try to make free your time from homework and other school stuff. I was in a similar situation at college, but my parents wanted me to study as a doctor. I used this service to find the best writing help resource and spent all my free time learning to code and hiding my passion to programming from them. Now I’m the DevOps, and they put up with this. :upside_down_face:

Great advice!

@enochm Just to add to the perspective, when I was first learning I did a ton of coding and programming exercises on pieces of paper. I used to be a CNC operator and I would code with pen and paper between cycle times.

You can learn a ton from analog materials like pen/paper and from books.

Also another tidbit about me that you may find interesting is that I stopped going to school around 17. Later got my high school equivalency (GED in Canada) around age 20 and then studied CS at 25 only to drop out of uni around 27.

And I don’t regret any of it.

Not saying you should drop out of school though :wink:

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