Failing at Casual Coded Correspondence

Hello fellow codecademy students,

I hope this is not too off-topic. If so, please move this post or just delete it entirely.

I just reached the off-platform project Casual Coded Correspondence and I’m absolutely stunned that I don’t know what to do there. I started my Python course confident and it was very easy and made a lot of fun! Slowly, I noticed that the style of the tasks change in the sense that they became less guiding and more open. The last Review sections were already tough for me and I had to watch the videos to follow the tasks. Now, however, I would have never come up with a solution for the first task in Casual Coded Correspondence. I’m not able to transfer what I have learned in a creative way onto a new problem. I’m not able to apply my seemingly little knowledge of Python. Should I face the truth and accept that I’m just to dumb to be a programmer? I guess having fun to the point where I spend a day to solve a non-real world problem is not the way to go…


Just looked up that course, and it looks a bit ‘throw you off the diving board straight into the deep end when you’ve barely learned to doggy-paddle’. I wouldn’t use it as a benchmark if you struggle with it.
When I get bits like that I’d probably try and scribble out a solution - not in python, just sort of plotting out what I may need to do at each stage ( maybe draw out a flow-diagram ) . Then break it down a little bit more, until I get a bit better idea of what i need to do and in what order.
I definitely don’t think it’s a case of you being ‘dumb’. Programming is just something which becomes more straightforward the more you do. Like a real life language, knowing words is one thing, using them effectively is something that becomes more natural with time and practice.

Instead of getting anxious about the project, why not take the opportunity to look over what you’ve done so far and have a play around with that. Or if there was something that felt particularly tough at the time, maybe go back and see if it’s any clearer this time.
Maybe redo some sections and see if you can get further without the help.

Have Fun!!


Thanks for the encouragement. I also just can’t estimate how long it could/should/does take to do such a project. Certainly it’s a matter of a few minutes for an experienced programmer. Maybe I expect too much from myself and my skills at this point. Maybe Codecademy could also suggest how long one should estimate for the project.

Presenting the problem in simple language and writing it down is a great approach. I somehow assumed that I could and had to hit the keys immediately, because it was so quick and easy in some of the exercises before.

Either way, I want to thank you again for your help and tips! Laying

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HI @florianbogner2687872 !

I was looking, if a post like this was already in the Forum because, Oh My God!, I felt the exact same way about the last
task in learning to deal with strings and coming into the off_platform challenge, I was gob smacked and really felt the same way you do. Discouraged, thinking I’m not good enough.

I think sometimes seeing that someone has the same problem or view point just makes me feel not alone and see that others struggle with it too. I sincerely hope that you have learned a lot more now about Python.
I am just learning myself.

And @pluginmaybe , these words were also very encouraging for me, thank you very much.
It was not a good day today until I red these posts.

Kind regards


Specifically, how are you supposed to use the percentage sign when indexing strings?

The Codecademy “cheatsheet” for strings does not show “%” anywhere. I also do not remember learning how to use this symbol in previous lessons. The solution page for codded_correspondence contains

alphabet[(letter_value + 10) % 26]

Where on this website can I find an explanation of how to use the percentage symbol? Thanks

The % is something done to numbers, not strings.
It does “mod” to a number, meaning the remainder after dividing by a number:
so 16 % 5 is 1 because 1 is the remainder when dividing by 5.

This project uses “stuff % 26” to get a number (integer) 0 to 25 for that index.

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I am feeling the same way! This project is way too hard for me now. I am feeling lost. Maybe reviewing all my concepts on the last cheat-sheets. Also I don’t understand why in the Solution we should use the % operator. I wouldn’t have ever occured that…
Could you solve it? How is your knowledge about Python now?

I want to start off by saying that this one definitely jumped the skill level of using algorithms up by a ton!
I would suggest once you figure out some options in plain text of how to approach this you then turn to google to fill the gaps of methods you’re not sure on how to do. I work in technology and am trying to get into programming that is past my experience in bash scripting (which I’ve done a few large automation projects with so count me as semi-experienced). I still had to turn to google (directed to stack overflow) for answers on how to do the things that I wanted to express in python. Having to lookup answers on how to structure doesn’t make you a poor coder or dumb, in fact it’s how much of the tech world operates!
Ability to whiteboard code only comes from very consistent use.
What my experience in the past with work has given me is understanding of the flow and a head start on things like loops.
You’ve made it past 50% of the course already, you got this!! :smiley:

I’m so glad you posted this. I have been doing this course for fun after work…
I’ve honestly just looked up other people’s solutions and pasted it. I don’t really have the time to sit here for hours and go through it. I have learned things from going through other people’s code. However I wish I had the time to come up with my own solution.

Also, the message they gave me to decrypt for the vig cipher was incorrect and even when I tried to decode it with code that was correct, it still didn’t work…