New and overwhelmed - how do people proceed?


#1

Hi community,

I’m totally new to coding and chose “Introduction to JS” because it is free and JS looks “readable”.

I like the course very much, but at 75% I’m already lost because I type in random things, not knowing if this syntax really works etc…

Question: How did you proceed, or what would your advice be?
Start with something else such as HTML?
Repeat the Introduction to JS until things become clearer?

I can’t tell if I’m really lacking talent.
I have not taken notes (bad at taking notes manually due to disability) - would you recommend I copy the course lessons / instructions to a text editor to be able to look things up??

Any advice very welcome!
Thanks a lot.
Tim


#2

HTML isn’t a programming language, I don’t think that would be helpful for anything other than learning how to actually type things out correctly but there’s no advantage to learning that with html.
JS is perfectly fine. It has a couple pitfalls where it acts rather strangely where other languages would be much more strict and simply disallow some things that don’t make sense. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter, js is fine.

I’d say focus on what the basic operations and data types can do for you. Most of the rest is built out of that, make sure to know them well. (Arrays, functions, hashmaps (objects), numbers, strings, loops, conditions)

I’ve never relied on memorization, it’s all about reasoning for me. For the particular details one can always google it. When it comes to JS you’ll probably want to add MDN to your search query because that site has documentation so good it’s almost reason by itself to learn JS. You might for example know what an array does, and that might be what you need, and you might then look up MDN’s page on arrays to figure out how to write that.

codewars.com may be worth checking out. They have challenges you can solve and then you can see how others solved it which is great for analyzing how you might have done something differently. Note that some of the solutions, including the very shortest ones, are terrible. You’ll have to judge for yourself what you actually consider good and may want to start doing yourself.


#3

I was about to make a post just like this one because I’m starting with Python and at about 50% of the way through, I’m already having to click the “Solution” button way more than I’m comfortable with. I can’t tell if they’re just expecting way too much of me, personally, by expecting me to recall things from quite a while back, or if I should have known that solution. Or perhaps they don’t expect you to necessarily know the solution and it’s okay to look it up at this point.

However, I’m starting to worry that I’m falling so far behind in my expertise and knowledge as I progress further that I’m going to end up using the Solution button every time and I’ll end up not really learning how to create code, just how to read it. Which is not what I came here to learn.

Worse yet, the more complicated the code gets, the less useful the feedback box that pops up at the bottom is. It starts to make almost no sense at all after a while. The hints start to expect stuff of me as well, and it’s becoming increasingly anxiety inducing. I don’t think it uses enough opportunities for recall or provides relevant notes/links to helpful content (should I need to review it again) to make me able to complete the tasks.

Example: I’m supposed to create a for loop on a range. I had no idea you could even do that and if they mentioned it maybe once, then they may as well have not mentioned it at all because I had no idea, and was therefor totally unable to do what they wanted me to do.

Earlier in the course, they seemed to anticipate the need for practicing recall of the things you’d need to do the task. Then it’s like the course designer got tired of having to do that and just went suddenly to expecting you remember everything you’ve covered up until this point, which is an incredibly daunting amount for someone who’s new to coding.

All that is to say: I feel your pain! I’m starting to worry I simply don’t have the brain for it. The entire reason I picked this program was that I needed to supplement a different data analytics course I’m taking through udacity, which was also going way over my head way too quickly in the Python lessons. I though adding this to supplement it would do the trick but now, around that same level of learning as the other course and I’m feeling totally unprepared to push further in the course again. I don’t know how anyone gets proficient in this.

I guess this isn’t much help is it. If you find any, I could use it as well.

Thanks,
B


#4

You are just expecting too much too quickly. Don’t worry. You are learning a new skill. If you went and picked up a skateboard it would take you forever to do anything remotely “cool” or indicative of the effort you have put in.

This is no different than learning to skateboard, or to dance ballet. It’s going to take time, effort, discipline. BUT…it’s fun!

Things will start to click. The things that seem daunting now will become second nature.
Eventually you’ll have those small epiphanies “I should use an array for this” , “I can write a function to do that” etc etc


#5

Makes sense. Only downside the course seems to also expect it if you want to move forward, without as much support as would be needed to do this at a new learner level.


#6

Thank you all for your input.
@brianjamesthomas: It’s good to hear I’m not alone!
@fight_dragons: skateboarding, or learning an instrument, all true. Thing is, when I don’t get better at skateboarding, I can stay practicing at that level.
How do I do that with JS? Idea:
(@ionatan:)
Stupid question, but I’m only typing in the course editor (IDE?).
So, what can I use on my own computer to play around with logging array elements etc and get an output (platform being Ubuntu)?

Thanks!!