Stuck - Demotivated - Nothing Makes Sense

Stuck - Demotivated - Nothing Makes Sense
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#1

Hello Everyone.

Since my last update in June, I have to say I went off track for a good few months.

I decided to apply for jobs, to raise my current salary so I could continue coding on the side but with a better monthly income. I probably applied for 10 jobs in administration while I was working 6 - 7 days a week and I got 3 interviews. Each time I made it as far as being the “reserve” candidate but never the successful candidate. Please note, I have not applied for any programmer or developer jobs, I am not even remotely there yet!

I came back to coding earlier this week after my most recent interview was unsuccessful as well. I kind of realised that this is the only way forward for me now, I have to learn to code at all costs and forget about applying for dead end jobs.

I have spent the whole of yesterday and today on Basic Javascript course on FCC. While I have progressing through exercises, I get seriously stuck everytime the exercises get tougher. I have to look up the answers or go back and view previous exercises and even then I cannot make sense of it. I then have to copy answers word for word in order to progress to next challenge but that way I do not learn anything. What really throws me off is how the rules surrounding { [ ( , ; : keep changing from one exercise to the next. Especially when I look up solutions to problems, I realise other people are putting brackets and colons in places I have already memorised as “shouldnt put a colon here”. I then have to try and memorise the new information as correct and the previous one as false and its got to a point where it just makes no sense!

I seem to be forgetting things so quickly and I wonder if I am doing this correctly.

Can any of you make any suggestions? Should I continue the exercises regardless and hope that by the end of this, it will all come together and click for me, or should I change my strategy? Has anyone ever been this stuck? :frowning:


#2

It is 100 percent normal to feel the way you’re feeling right now. For me, the basic algorithm challenges took far, far longer to complete and understand than any of the intermediate and advanced challenges.

When you start learning to program for the first time, it is very hard to think through how an algorithm goes together, especially because you’re still becoming familiar with the syntax.

When you view these answers that others post online, you will see things written differently over and over again. Eventually you’ll understand that these are different types, like objects { key: property, key2: property }. You’ll see things like class and const and let, and there’s tons of shorthand ways to write code to be more precise as you learn the newer formats and explore new frameworks.

You’re still at the very beginning of your journey. When you get really frustrated, make sure you take the time to step away and do something else for 15 minutes, then come back and reapproach it.

At this stage, you should definitely be writing out step by step what you must do in order to solve the algorithm. If you are totally lost on the next step, then you need to search for how to solve the issue. Don’t copy someone’s code. If you have to view someone else’s code, write out step by step what each part does and why it works.

You’re still at a point where you should be exploring the syntax and learning about how things come together. Once you start to solve your first couple of algorithms, it will definitely make you feel better. I had a breakthrough when I realized that I needed to think through what the code needed to do step by step, then creating an algorithm. Pseudocode it out. Jumping in too fast without thinking it through is probably a majority of the problem.

As far as work, I had some issues similar to what you’re experiencing when I was starting. Keep in mind that you’re still at the beginning of a long journey to become an employed developer. Don’t give up on the rest of your attempts to bring in money, but also don’t give up on your end goal.


#3

Thanks for the insight.

Its good to know that this is a normal phase

I will take your advice and start to write more things down.

One thing I have noticed is that I am thinking more and more about coding on a daily basis, at work, before bed, first thing in the morning. So I don’t really have to force myself to get started.

I was thinking perhaps once I complete Basic Javascript, should I go back to the very beginning and start again just to make sure everything sticks. Right now as I think about Java, I feel as though there are a lot of holes in my knowledge and understanding of what I have covered at FCC so far.
Would you recommend that or should I continue onward?


#4

If you have been using answers from the Internet, I would say going back through and rewriting algorithms yourself probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. You’re going to need to know how to implement those and expand on them as algorithms become more difficult. But I think if you start taking the time to work through this stuff on your own, once you start solving them correctly, you’ll build up some momentum.

Also, I think you meant JavaScript in your reply rather than “Java.”

Good luck!


#5

I didnt rely on internet answers for all the exercises.

There were around 2 which I literally copied and pasted but the rest I searched around and tried to make sense of them and a lot of them still dont make any sense. But I am hoping when I go over them the second time, I will have a better idea!
And yes I meant JavaScript indeed!

Hopefully my next post is about an achievement of mine rather than a rant.

Many thanks for your help.

Good day Sir!


#6

You’ll do great if you’re persistent. There are some other websites, like Codefights.com (in the arcade section) or Codewars.com, where you can complete algorithm coding challenges as well. If you’ve been solving the challenges on your own but need some extra practice, I would definitely check those out too. Let me know if you ever need help with anything. I’m happy to help if you need clarification on something.


#7

to get through a lot of those challenges I relied heavily on the MDN documentation to learn more about the different functions the challenges suggest using to complete the problems.

I would look into how the functions work, try solving one piece of the problem. If I got stuck trying to figure out the second portion of the algorithm, I’d repeat the same steps and maybe if all else failed, ask for pointers on FCC or search around on stackoverflow to understand how things can be accomplished with the different functions the problems suggest using.

I wrote some pretty ugly code solving some of those problems. But at least I understood how I was solving them. Write ugly code, make the problem work, and refactor later. Believe me once you solve one problem and keep going through the challenges you’ll begin to pick up on a ton of patterns that you’ll be using all of the time.


#8

These are some awesome suggestions guys. Especially Codefights and Codewars.

At the moment I am going through the whole of Javascript again to get a better understanding of things as the first time round it didnt make much sense.I am now starting to write the instructions down and pseudocode for complex challenges and most of the times that works.

Once I have completed the Basic Javascript on FCC, I will get active on Codewars and Codefights. I love the idea of that.

kkindorf, how did you get your head around the ;:,/({ and all the other punctuation?


#9

I just kept reading documentation, stackoverflow posts and books. I’m not really sure what this ;:,/({ is referring to but I wouldn’t kill yourself over syntax. Freaking out over semi colons when you’re learning is a huge waste of time in my opinion.