Codecademy lost me. Should I power through or go back?

Hi, I started a few days ago on the computer science career path, learning Python. It’s my first experience with programming in general.

Everything was going great all through the control flow, functions section and most of the list section. I could think my way through most lessons, challenges etc.

Now I’m at loops, and I find myself struggling to understand. I have to look at the solutions for every step, and I feel that codecademy is slightly jumping ahead. For example, in my most recent lesson, the solution was to use a nested loop. Only, I don’t feel that they have gone through properly how to use nested loops etc. It’s a bit like they’re asking for me to give them output before they give me input.

And so I suddenly feel I’m slightly in over my head.

So the question is, is this normal? Should I just accept not understanding for now and continue looking at the solutions and trying to understand them, or should I go back through the syllabus, or maybe use some alternative learning sources (books, videos etc) to get more understanding before continuing?

I would really appreciate som guidance here.

Thank you!

I’ve had the same, and I think that ‘continue looking at the solutions and trying to understand them’ is a good way to get an understanding of some more difficult subjects. You’ll see that there are other subjects that will be easier to understand. And when you go further and learn new things, suddenly the loops for example will fall into place! It’s a lot of information at once now, it needs time!

I think its perfectly fine to struggle with certain concepts. Relying on a single source is rarely a good idea, I think the same is true here. Repeating the same thing on a different platform might result in certain concepts to sink in better. Maybe due to slightly different explanation or because of repeating.

Nesting is quite a common thing in programming, we can nest function, conditions, lists and more. So why not loops? But sometimes it takes some time to make these connections.

I disagree with @elskathleen, I think looking at the solution is a trap. You will keep struggling to get to solution yourself. You look at the solution, think: I get it now, but you will get stuck again next time.

I would recommend using the forum, we can help or even just guide/nudge you in the right direction. I think in the long run you will learn a lot more :slight_smile:


I have felt that way before, but what I did is kept doing each lesson, until I truly understand it, I also find writing notes is very important for this. Best of luck, :slight_smile:

Everyone learns at a different pace and different lesson curriculums emphasize different details… I think it’s fairly normal for it to be an uneven experience. The only time I can think it’s a smooth road is when you’re in a physical class that’s at your level taught by a good teacher or when you are already a bit more advanced and have experience in placing the uncomfortable areas in perspective.

My own personal taste when going through a lesson or book is going through a maximum of 2 chapters and then going back and trying to summarize in notes and make big-picture connections… maybe even try to set up a few mock examples. If something is completely alien to me I’ll look for references on it. I’ll emphasize that those moments when I’m most lost is the ones I enjoy because it means I’m taking in something that was completely foreign to me.

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Just to comment, “power through” is not something many people can do out of the gate. Quick frankly, we need to work at a pace that lets us delve into the concepts at each stage and not leave that stage until all the dots are connected. Review, practice, read, review, practice, experiment. When you can write your own experiments and get predictable results then you are ready to move forward. Until then, keep grinding away. Nothing kills initiative and motivation more than speed (that is, racing along toward some perceived finish line).

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