Wrong mindset? I can read code, but not write code

Like many others here, wanting a change of career, dedicating anywhere from 4-8hours a day studying. I can read code, but not recall syntax.

For example, I haven’t been able to complete a single puzzle/challenge without looking at “get a hint.” I tried breaking it down with comments with NO code. For example:

// 1) Sort by Alphabetical Order
// 2) Remove every four names, etc
// 3) Display the first three and last three.

And then looking at that, trying to think of how I could achieve that. I tried to look at just the hints, etc. And I get stuck. But when I look at the solution, it makes perfect sense and I understand the why and the how. However, I am plenty aware that looking at the solution is NOT the way to learn, especially not as often as I have had to.

I started out with HMTL/CSS, which was pretty easy to complete. Then when it came time to create the projects, I felt stuck. My tribute page looks like something straight out of 1996 AOL. lol So I didn’t finish the other projects and I thought I’d go back to my tribute page at some point to polish it more. I know of websites with HTML/CSS templates that I could go to and copy & paste, and just tweak it here and there to my liking, but that feels like cheating. Like one step above using Wordpress/Weebly.or any CMS.

I started JavaScript and after much difficulty, I got to Basic Algorithm Scripting and it seems exceedingly evident that I need help. When I look at some of the solutions, it seems like I haven’t been introduced to some of those ways, and that is discouraging. I see all the other possibilities my fellow FCCers come up with in the comments and I see how many ways my brain missed out on.

So, how do you use FCC more efficiently? I feel like some examples are so nice and easy, and then I don’t use it for the next 10 pages, So, it comes back in an algorithm challenge later, and my brain doesn’t go there yet. Conversely, sometimes FCC explains a new function very succinctly , and asks you to put it to work. And I’m assuming that’s because at this point in the course, they assume you got the mindset right and need less handholding or guidance. But I don’t feel that yet. So I don’t think it’s worth continuing this cycle of “easy > easy > easy > hard, but doable > stuck, solution, transcribe (instead of copy & paste) while understanding > easy> stuck (…)” = rinse and repeat.

I’ve become a StackOverFlow junkie and that makes me feel like a fraud, especially this early in my learning. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

First, I would stop looking at the hints and solutions. Looking up solutions from others is completely different than generating your own solutions.

Learning how to solve problems with code is hard and it will take time. And it will take time to learn all of the tricks that go into the exemplar solutions. This is normal and OK.

This is a good step. Planning first is important.

Also good.

And this is where things start to go awry.

What I would do instead is take all of your current code, your solution plan in the comments, code you’ve written, research you’ve done and make a forum post. In this forum post, you describe where you have hit snags and how we might be able to help, and we’ll help by giving you info and hints that help you get to the solution without giving you the entire answer.


Yes, JS is harder than what came before.

No, a developer is not expected to memorize everything. Developers are constantly googling things - there are just too many to remember and sometimes they change. The important thing is understanding the concepts and what is available and know how to look up the details.

If you have are having trouble coding problems, maybe look for some easier problems. Can you reverse a string? Can you do it without a prototype method? Just start very basic and work your way up. After you solve one, look on youtube and see if you can see how others are solving it.

If you must cheat on something, once done, delete the code and do it from memory. Come back a week later and do it from scratch again. If you learn it, that is the most important thing.

I think you just need to spend some time connecting up some of the basic skills you’ve learned.


As explained above, is not easy. Coding is not like learning a “Syllabus” and after done you will know everything. Even after years you still will need to google many things.
Best wishes

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Hi @nandoplopes !

Welcome to the forum!

It is important to remember that you just started programming.

All of this information is brand new.

One of the hard things about being a beginner is information overload and not knowing how to do a lot of things.

But that is completely normal.
We all go through it.

I used to run into this issue all the time when I was teaching music.

Kids would always ask “Why can’t I play this yet on my instrument?”
“Why can’t I sight read music like you?”

I would respond with “Because I have doing this a really long time” :grin:

It is easy for me now to play up and down my instrument and sight read new music.
But when I first started, I was honking away at my instrument like the rest of the 6th grade kids in class

With practice and TIME things will start to make more sense.

You will get to a point where certain problems that were giving you trouble are now going to be easier.

Then you can start giving back and helping others on the forum :grinning:

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