Question of the Week: Tools, Tactics, and Techniques

What tools, tactics, and learning techniques help you study effectively alongside your other obligations (e.g. working full/part-time, going to school, taking care of, or spending time with family)?

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Howdy,

Like everything learning to code takes dedication. I’ve been there, and I’m still there in many subjects. You get frustrated because you don’t seem to be progressing as much as you’d like (if at all).

Managing your time schedule is a very important part of staying motivated. As many have said if you just do a little every day that will help you eventually improve.

So as far as managing your schedule here are some tips I’ve composed:
(1.) Set aside dedicated time to learn/code at regular schedules. Sometimes I get lazy and I just try to “learn when I have time”. When you have the attitude of putting aside something until you feel like it/have it you end up just not doing it at all. You need to set aside specific times and make sure you accomplish that.
(2.) Now of course we must always put priorities first, so don’t let coding take away the time needed for other subjects. At the same time, we must make sure to dedicate some time to coding.
(3.) With the first two tips in mind where should we dedicate our time? Well it always depends on your schedule. Find times in your day when you realize that you aren’t being very productive. Try cleaning up your daily schedule and getting rid of unnecessary laziness, etc.

Now I have many other tips as far as learning goes but as far as managing your schedules that is pretty much all I have.

Really, it is the same process as any other subject. Every time I learn a new language, coding language, instrument, etc, I have to go through the same process and remind myself these same tips.

Anyway I hope someone finds this useful. :slight_smile:

Happy coding! :slight_smile:

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Learning to code as many will tell you, is a full of ups and downs and creating good habits and routines have helped me with my learning journey.

As a wife and mom to a baby under 1 year old, my time to learn is limited. Here’s how I make things work with my hectic schedule:

1. Set dedicated work time - It took some trial and error to figure out what was the best time that worked for me. After a few weeks of trying different things, 3 hours in the evening once the baby is asleep for the night has worked out the best. This way, I won’t have interruptions and my workspace is quiet. I don’t even try during the day because my focus is split and I end up wasting time not being fully present in any of the things I am doing.

2. Cut out distractions - it’s time for 100% focus - During my 3 hour time-frame, I don’t check email, open any other apps or look at Youtube. It is so easy to get distracted and you don’t realize you are until it’s been 30 minutes on Instagram. The only tabs open are the Codecademy platform, my IDE and my notetaking app.

3. Build projects - I started building smaller projects to reinforce what I learn and it has really helped me grasp concepts that were difficult for me to understand. If you need project ideas, just use the projects given already and change the subject matter, convert into something you are interested in. For example, the New York City Blog in the HTML/CSS module - make it about your city!

4. Learn by teaching - taking the time to respond to posts on the forum to assist other learners has been a great way for me to think about a topic clearly in order to explain/assist someone else.

5.Manage your content intake - A lot of sites suggest reading tech blogs in your learn to code journey, but I found that this only served as a distraction for me because most of the content is too advanced for my skills and reinforced imposter syndrome. Also, I find it to be distracting and can leave me feeling overwhelmed with how much I don’t know. Also, it is very easy to end up with 50 tech newsletters to read in your email - a distraction. When it comes to taking in content, I try to make sure it is serving a specific purpose. My suggestion is to find one or two blogs or YT channels, with content targeting new learners or content you find you enjoy and have set times to enjoy. Explore more as you grow in your skills and have checked off a few milestones like building projects, updating your resume, freelancing etc.

Everyone’s journey is going to be a little different and the same things won’t work for everyone, but this is what has helped me stay focused. I hope this helps and would love to hear what you all have been doing!

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Hi!

I’ve been a Codecademy member for over a year now.

I work full time, have kids, and also go to school.

Consistency and a routine.

It’s better to have 45 minutes a day 6 days consistently than to have intermittent periods of longer study. Commit and try to devote a certain block of time to study. Sometimes I’m on the go; I make a point of trying to use the mobile app in those times.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

As an adult learner, it’s easier to compare myself to whiz kids and younger folks who can attend school and/or study full time. I also had a late start and am not as gifted in certain areas. It’s easy to compare myself to the progress of others and get discouraged. But when I look at where I started, I see how far I’ve come, and I feel great!

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Great advice, thank you !

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I am still fairly new to coding, but I do have some methods I use to keep on task.

I work overnights from home so in my downtime, I either do homework for my accounting degree or do coding. I try to alternate days, as it is really easy to get engrossed in coding.

I also practice in Visual Studio Code. A lot. Creating my font and color guide really helped me. I also keep track of things to focus on in a notebook.

I never use the option to have codecademy’s code swapped for my own when I am stuck. I always go in and change it.

I make a lot of mistakes and then go back and look at my code to see what I am doing wrong.

I’m still amazed that at almost 35, I am learning something completely new.

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Hey everyone, great responses from everyone! There was alot of great tips up top that I hope everyone caN take something from. I’ve been on codecadmy since the very start of covid when I was laid off from work. I’ve learned alot since then about becoming an effective learner, quality study time, and cementing the syntax and concepts that are taught to us, muxh of which I learned through trial and error. This process has really given me alot of confidence in my ability to learn new things even at the age of 33. Since alot was covered up top I’m going to give a few important tips I feel will really help everyone.

  1. Keep progress as your mail goal.
    In the beginning it is really easy to get caught up in thinking how far away you are from finishing the entire course, how long its all going to take, how little you feel you still know, how much worst you are than others, and how muxh you don’t understand. There will probably be times where you doubt yourself and talk yourself into feeling like this isn’t for you. BUT. If you keep progress at the forefront of your list of goals and remind yourself everyday that your getting better and better and even just looking back at how far you’ve come you’ll start to actually become inspired and confident in yourself for taking things a day at a time, one code at a time, one lesson at a time.

2.) Quality, not quantity.
I made the mistake early on at thinking that pushing through each lesson as quickly as possible would help me become better faster. WRONG! I was so so wrong. Slow it down, take time to read and reread your code. Review each aND every line, make sure you understand why each line is there and the concepts behind each lesson. Each concept learned and understood is like a golden nugget, the real treasure of it all. The syntax is just the way in which you apply the concept. So please don’t whiz through, take your time to learn about how your code works ans why. An hour spent truly understanding is of muxh greater value than an hour spent hurting to the next lesson.

3.) Practice practice practice, review review review. That’s what one of the moderators told me once who had over 40 years of coding experience. I know your excited to keep moving to the next lesson and learn new things but if your not cementing and understanding the concept you learned from the previous lesson, your house of knowledge won’t have a very strong foundation. And if you can’t understand the fundamentals you won’t be able to build that strong house of knowledge. It will all fall down. Then you’ll have to go back and take more time to relearn everything from the beginning. So go get on your code editor whichever one you want to use…(I like visual studios) but I also like (codesansbox.io for small practice projects) and practice what you just went over in your lesson. Make sure you can do it on your own outside of the safe place of codecademy.

4.) Completing lessons won’t make you a better coder. Building projects and applying what you learned will.

Again, being further along in your course than someone else doesn’t not make you a better coder than someone else. The person who takes their time to truly understand each line of code and how and why we use it will become the better coder. Build that foundation…a weak house has little value…a house that’s only half done but is built sturdy and strong is already a better investment.

  1. ) community…one of the best things that will ever happen to you is connecting with even just a small group of other coders who are on the same path as you or at least know know same language. Having study partners really helps you learn while talking about code and helping one another through lessons or building projects together. Community is golden. You learn so muxh!

6.) Turn off thr TV, turn off social media, silence your phone, and find a quiet place to study. I know in some homed that’s next to impossible but try your best to find a place and time where you can study quietly or with some light instrumental music in the background. Better to study 20 minutes of peace and quiet and quality than an hour of noise and unable to concentrate.

I know alot of this is supposed to be mainly focused on managing your learning and the rest of your life, but with these tips being applied to the other tips above you will be able to manage your time and quality of learning muxh more effectively. Happy coding everyone!

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For the link you gave above, it gave me the error “Server not found.”

Www.codesandbox.io. also www.codepen.io. www.jsbin.org I think

I found the cause to it. You misspelled it in your post. “codesansbox.com”. You used an “s” instead of “d” at the end of sand

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What works/has worked wonders for me (speaking as someone who struggled with learning early in life and did really bad in high school & college):

1.) Really come to terms with and embrace incremental gains. My biggest struggles and largest failures all came from expecting to see immediate results. That attitude really ruined so many endeavours. Once I managed to shift my expectations to be more reasonable/realistic and learned to celebrate the small victories (I’m talking about even giving yourself a pat on the back for finishing a single lesson) the learning process really opened up for me.

2.) As others have already said, do a little everyday. Even if it’s just 15mins, give it your full attention for that time and then move on.

3.) Don’t be afraid to look elsewhere, if something isn’t clicking for you Google it and find another perspective on it. Sometimes something as simple as the terminology used to explain a concept or the voice of the tutor can make a huge difference to whether or not your brain accepts the info.

4.) Sleep on it. When you hit a wall and your brain is on fire and you feel like crying, leave it aside, go get some sleep. 9 times out of 10 I figure out the problem faster by doing this than by endlessly refactoring or googling into the wee hours. On my desktop I have the following quote that I stole from a JavaScript book:

“When action grows unprofitable, gather information. When information grow unprofitable, sleep.”

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Great tips in the previous replies!

When I started my codecademy journey, I thought is would be easy to make steady progress but I’ve found that my motivation drops (and other responsibilities suddenly seem more important) when having to interpret and present the results of a coding project. So now I know that’s something I need to work on and become more confident in.

With that in mind, I’ve started to pick 2 days a week where I put a block of at least 4 hours of uninterrupted coding time on my calendar. No excuses allowed! :wink:

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Great question. It begs two other important questions, who and what am I?

I have a spouse, job, grown kid, elderly parents, and two small dogs. I need rest, relaxation, nutrition, and exercise, among many other things. I’m also OCD and a perfectionist. The former, if tempered, can be a strength. The later definitely is not, and leads only to frustration and quitting.

So, for me and my own clarity, learning to code isn’t life or death. It’s an interesting challenge with a nice upside. That is all.

Because of my personality I want to immerse myself in anything I find interesting or important. I can’t do that. I have to tend to the basics first, which puts me in position to actually be successful with new projects. All that said, it’s down to tools, tactics, and techniques.

  1. Stick to the program. Codecademy has put much time and effort into it. Going off on internet tangents probably isn’t going to help.
  2. When stuck, I retrace my steps. I’m dealing with advanced objects in javascript right now. When I need to, I click the path menu and backtrack. Sometimes I go to the syllabus and backtrack even further.
  3. When I hit a wall, I sleep on it. Invariably it makes sense in the morning.

That’s all I’ve got. Try it at your own risk.
Once more, learning to code isn’t life or death. It’s an interesting challenge with a nice upside. That is all.

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Thanks everyone for sharing all these helpful tips! I usually forget or am too lazy to pick up the computer and actually put the effort in learning to code even though I have a lot of free time on my hands. Here are somethings that help me:

  1. Set some time in your schedule to code. I have a small planner that I use to keep track of what I want to do for the day and it really helps me.

  2. Talking about what you’ve learned also helps. You could either tell someone or just talk to yourself about what you’ve learned.

  3. Do different projects to help strengthen your coding abilities. Or try to help someone with one of their projects.

  4. When I get stuck I usually get really frustrated and angry. If you do this too, then just take a deep breath, read the instructions carefully and maybe check the forums or google your problem for help.

  5. Spend some time watching other people code. I like to watch YouTube videos or just browse the Codecademy Forums to see how different people would approach different things.

Again thanks to everyone for sharing their tips and I hope that mine will help you too!
Have a great day! :grinning:

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Hey lads,

Really good stuff on the replies above, I’ll definitely put it on use since I’m considerably new here.

One thing that has been helping me to keep consistency to my studies is to keep one eye on the price, to remember the main reason why you are putting so much efforts on your studies and why it’s a great idea to invest at least 45 min/1 hour per day in order to get where you want.

That’s my small contribution here xD

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learn, and speak to other people

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I ended up paying for a bootcamp - spending money on something really lights the fire under my butt to make sure I dedicate the time.

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What i can say i find very useful and recommend is that it is best to set a target, like how many times you want to code in a week and regularly revise what you learn that way it makes coding more fun and real.
Happy coding :grin: and i hope it helped.

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This is highly recommendable and a great way to learn how to code.

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Hi All,

The tools that are available to me and that work well are:

  1. a daily commitment of 3 hours, which I split to two: 1.5 hours early morning, before the day commitments of work and family, and another 1.5 at night. These are so much easier than imagining one big chunk of time.
    Sometimes I can go beyond the 3 hours, sometimes, not, but the early morning chunk never fails, and often invites the night chunk to happen more easily.

  2. I didn’t start a lone, but with my brother, so we support and encourage each other.

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