How many hours a day should you spend learning code?
‘Eager beavers’ everywhere! Whether it be the gym, sweet/salty snacks, continuing education, or becoming the best damn Fortnite player in history, most of us tend to go ‘hard and fast’: that is to say we try to absorb as much as we can in as little time as we can. The result: We end up ‘burning out’ real bad and probably never want to return to the thing that hurt us so bad…at least for awhile. We’ve all been there, we want to do, learn, or be something so bad that we end of ‘OD’ing’ (over-dosing) on it. And this is especially true with learning; remember the all night ‘cram’ sessions before big exams when you were younger? Add to that the fact that you’re learning a new skill like coding, which sometimes is not as intuitive as you’re used to things being, and you could ‘burn out’ before your first session is done!
So how many hours a day should you spend learning to code? “If you’re first starting out, you should maybe limit it to 30-45 minutes a day. Whenever you start getting into code for the first time, you’re literally going to be re-wiring your brain physically …you’re going to be learning to think and process information in a totally different way.”
What’s really cool about this is learning in different ways is that it makes your brain ‘stronger’. Much like physically training with different exercises, disciplines, and sports makes your body stronger and more adaptable to different stresses and pressures, learning/thinking and reasoning in different ways re-wires the brain to be ‘fit’ (for lack of a better word) and more adaptable to different situations. And I don’t know about you guys, but as I get older and more set in my ways, the need for an agile mind is more and more necessary.
Always leave’em wanting more It’s an old vaudevillian/performer’s adage. It means don’t go overboard when entertaining/performing. Always leave your audience wanting more so they will return, buy more tickets and (more importantly), they’ll want to be there. Very apt and very applicable to learning, “you should leave your daily learning session (encoding) wanting more, not exhausted. You wanna leave it and go, ‘this is cool’ …you want to create an association that’s positive, that’s fun with coding…”.
The VLOG really goes into more detail about this, while adding a psychological angle to it …and what would a good VLOG be without a RUBY slam (there’s more than one!), BOOM! Also, check out our courses for coding, freelancing or entrepreneurship <links below>. They have been built from the ground up with this very principle in mind! Remember when you’re starting out be kind to yourself, take it slow and easy, and have fun so you’ll want to come back. Whether it’s learning a new skill or anything else in life, it’s just a good ‘code’ to have… -Enjoy!
How do you get through really boring and/or tedious tasks?
If you’ve been a human on this planet for more than 8 minutes, chances are you’ve come across a tedious task – something that you just didn’t want to do (maybe it’s boring, not your interest, or even expertise) and for some reason, you are being forced to do it. After rolling your eyes, and groaning the groan of a tortured soul, you stare at the task and ask yourself, ‘How the #%$@ am I going to get through this?’
The first and easiest answer is ‘farm it out’, that is hiring/paying someone else to do it. …And after that’s done, you’ll have plenty of time to go yachting off the coast of France, daddy Warbucks! But for those of us that don’t have the money to do that, the answer is a little more pragmatic, but only slightly less painful…
“I just go in there and I say, ‘okay, I’m just gonna do 20 minutes’, …I’m just gonna move the ball 2 or 3 feet forward. And you just discipline yourself to do little chunks of work of the stuff you hate, because if you try to do something you hate doing or you don’t wanna do, and you wait to do it on the last day, and you got hours of this crappy work to do, it’s gonna be painful.” Breaking boring, tedious, or just plain crappy chunks of work up into smaller sections will save you time in the long run and your sanity.
Check out the VLOG, it’s short and sweet. Check out our courses, if you haven’t already and just like eating your aunt’s salted cod and boiled peas dish, take it one bite at a time… -Enjoy!
A response to a recent video I made about people who are constantly doing tutorials instead of getting jobs.
If you’d like to see the first installment, click here, but in the spirit of ‘doing‘ we’re moving on! Sometimes we over prepare, guys, it happens. You’re so focused on making a big splash right outta the gate. You don’t want to be blindsided by anything and look like you don’t know what you’re talking about or look like a noob, so you prepare -you take tutorials and then you start thinking to yourself, ‘what if this happens? what if that happens?’ and you start doing more tutorials to be prepared for those things and before you know it, the fear of failure has you stuck. Instead of coming out of the gate; swinging, the gate flings open and you stand there paralyzed, not daring to move.
“It’s just fear: you don’t want to get into it… Just jump into it! Trust me, you’ll learn so much more by just jumping into a gig. Once you have your foundations down, do one or two tutorials and then do a gig and figure out how to get it done as you go. That’s how I did it, that’s how all developers started out.”
The VLOG goes into better detail, including the first full-stack gig that Stef took with no prior knowledge of it. Check out our courses (links below), if you’re interested – they are amazing – and remember, <I’m plagiarizing> A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Or think of the immortal words of Shia LaBoeuf and, “just DO it!!!!!” -Enjoy!
Should you continue to learn Python, even if Python jobs in the area are more or less in data sciences or other areas you’re not interested in?
So, what if you’re learning a language; Python in this case and you start looking around at possible jobs and realize that all or most of the jobs for Python are ones that you have no particular interest in? Do you stop learning and move onto something else?
“I think it’s a good idea to learn multiple languages, …every time I learned a new language my skills as a developer went <sound of a rocket taking off>, rocket[ed] right up. All these modern languages…they all share so many of the same qualities, but they look at things from a different point of view.” Think of it in terms of hanging out with different friends, even though hanging out with different friends has a lot of similarities: having a drink, talking, laughing, etc, the experience will always be different, ya know?
We’ve said it here before but there is no such thing as a wasted language, because each language learned is like a tool in your tool box, there will be an occasion to use it. Now that being said there are some obscure tools out there and if you’re getting into this business to make money, you’re probably better off learning to use the most popular tools. But, hey, you’re an adult and as you become more experienced in this field, you’ll figure out what’s worth your time…
Is using developer tutorials cheating? Or are they the steps you need to take to move from beginner to advanced developer?
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…and in some cases, it’s also the quickest way to a lawsuit. Beginner devs are often cautious (and quite rightly so) when looking at someone else’s work/tutorial and wonder if making something similar is ‘cheating’?
Generally speaking, “it’s not cheating. Everything that you see in this world, whether it be software development, music, martial arts -whatever, it’s all based on other people’s work.” Some would even argue that’s how things evolve and get better; by different people messing around and riffing on the same idea. BUT, let’s clarify that, “if you’re stealing it; line for line, that’s bad -it’s illegal and it’s immoral. But if you’re learning how to do something…it’s not cheating to do a tutorial and then based off of that tutorial, you build your own app.” Of course, please do your due diligence, for example, “unless they give you specific permission to copy the code, don’t copy the code. But you can basically learn from it, and then write your own thing accordingly.”
At the end of the day your code/project will be different because everybody’s needs are different, so your app, project, etc, will be not be a carbon copy unless you want it to be…in which case lawyer up! But everyone had to start out somewhere and they became experienced by using what they saw and adding their own thing to reflect the needs of their client, employer, or the very project they were creating.
The VLOG goes into greater detail and you should check it out. Go out there and create, learn and be better than you were. -Enjoy!
Becoming a successful developer has much more to do than just code. You need to learn the top 5 foundational life skills:
If you follow the VLOGs or the articles you know that the only thing we love more than foundational skills is ‘top’ lists: top 5, top 10, top 8 – we love ’em!! So when we got to release a ‘top‘ list about foundational skills, you better believe we went to the moon and back, baby! These are life skills – sure, they can make you better at your job, but they also make you a better all around human, and that’s what makes them great.
1. Communication Skills: ” We talk about this in terms of software development, talk about this in terms of business, talk about this in terms of dating! If you know how to talk and you can communicate well and listen well, etc, etc, …great communication skills in something very important.”
2. Tech/Coding Skills: “I believe even if you don’t want to become a coder, you should learn the basics of coding: understanding technology. Because all businesses depend on coding and technology.” For example: “A butcher needs a good website, they need to understand the social media landscape, they need to know what tech is available to help automate and streamline their business -and this is a totally non-tech business.” “…Learning technology and how to code, it may not be as important as reading and writing, but it’s up there…”
3. Financial Skills: I know you may not physically be nodding your head right now but somewhere in the back of your brain, your unconscious mind definitely is. “This is something that will assure your sanity and a less stressful life. If you just learn some basic financial skills -basic saving: #1<save!>, and #2: basic investing- very important. Your life will be so much easier if you just learn to save and invest properly -trust me, it makes a HUGE difference.”
4. Lizard Wizard Skills: “Arguably the most important…psychology/behavioral psychology: understanding how our brains work, how everybody’s brains work -it plays a huge role in terms of all the other skills in your life.” If you have a chance google: ‘lizard brain’ and prepare to be blown away…
5. Business Skills: “How to make money; whether you’re going to work for people, freelancing, or starting your own business…”. Wondering how business skills help if you’re working for someone? “If you can understand how the decision-makers think (if you understand how business works), even as an employee it will help you better navigate within that context. It will help you rise up in the ranks higher (if that’s your goal), it will help you to understand how to negotiate better salaries, etc, etc.”
So there you have it. Check out the VLOG for more of this smiling mug (face), and keep on being a good human! -Enjoy!
Complex development can linger in production, as you work on the last 5% of the job.
So you’ve got your project, your app – mobile or web, etc. ready to go and you’re almost done, “You’ve got the end and use case defined, meaning people can run through your system, you’ve got the UX defined, you got your UI in place…now at this point you’ve got just 5% left -so you figure, ‘we’re going to crack this thing out in a month…or a week depending on the scope of the thing over all- but what you’re going to find is that last 5% lingers…” Oh yes, ladies and gentleman, like a fart left in the back of an airplane bathroom…it lingers.
Light at the End of the Tunnel To get that crucial 5% working from end to end takes longer than you think and that is just par for the course. “[You’ll] find all these little things: this has to be fixed here, that has to be fixed here…this is normal. Keep that in mind when you’re first getting into the game, especially when you’re dealing with clients, and you’re building their system; you’ve got to account for that last bit of back and forth.”
So there it is my weary devs… Check out the VLOG for the some more insight into ‘the forced march of the last 5%’ and just know that it’s normal and to always account for the back and forth between you and the client when you hit that last 5%… -Enjoy!
Freelancing has MANY upsides, but there is one potential downside to freelancing: loneliness.
For some freelance developers, working alone all is day is hard. As humans we need a little social interaction or a little diversion or it can get real dark for us, real fast. But not to worry, we have some suggestions that will let you get a change of scenery, some human on human stimulation (eww!) and all without sacrificing productivity.
Generally speaking in the office world a seven hour workday can be a little flighty with your attention going here and there and putting out fires in other places, plus meetings and just generally not wanting to be there (which is probably one of the reasons you became a freelancer…). However, one of the things about that office life is you get to interact with people, and enjoy coffee breaks and be around hustle and bustle (atmospheric noise), and feel like you’re a part of the environment, which as a human being is very important (if you have a chance read up on the brain patterns and behaviors of people that have been in solitary confinement…just wow!). We are big believers in the highly productive workday being about 4 hours of solid (uninterrupted) work. When you start with that as your foundation, a lot of options then start to open up. “I make it a point to go out for coffees, go out for brunch, go out for breakfast: I get out! That is the short answer.”
Another idea, “I’ve had people work for me, in fact, they’ll have like their messenger app; their friends and their family – they are in constant communication with them.” That one’s a bit of a slippery slope because it could limit your productivity, but there’s this little tidbit, “You take breaks…once every hour or two you go out, you get a coffee or something; go for a walk -this is good for your exercise as well.” Building on that point, you could go to the gym which is another great opportunity to socialize as well as get that body moving so you feel invigorated when you get back to your work.
The VLOG goes into a great detail providing solid examples of how to break up your day and what activities can help make you feel like a part of the human world again. The main thing to remember is that loneliness can be a factor in this line of work but it doesn’t have to be. We’re sure one of the reasons you became a freelancer was to have that freedom and flexibility that is sorely lacking from the office life…here’s the chance to take advantage of it. -Enjoy!
Spending all your time doing code tutorials, is not going to get you to developer-land quickly. You need to get on with it, and start building real projects!
In life there are two different approaches to situations that people generally take. There are ‘preppers’ and there are ‘doers’…and no doubt you’ve come across this in many parts of your life and you’ve chosen to be one or the other, to varying degrees of success, I’m sure, but let’s talk about prepping vs. doing in the context being a coder, programmer, dev, etc, etc.
Be warned there are shameless promos ahead… Now we want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with a certain amount of prep; no one is saying that you should charge head first into the mouth of the beast(as bad-ass as something like that would figuratively be), without knowing what kind of a beast it is, do I have an appropriate weapon? Is there a healer present if things go bad? Prep like that is perfect for most situations (and a good indicator that I’m playing too much DnD), but too much prep: i.e. – what is the optimal whether pattern to attack the beast? Is it best to attack on an empty stomach? Only serves to bog you down and ensure that you never get out of the gate to slay that beast…
“They get caught up in tutorials…the perpetual tutorial doer rather than the project builder… What you’re going to learn…they only real way that you’re going to get good at software development is to actually build projects.” For example in the courses we offer (there it is), we teach the foundations first and foremost, some ‘projects’ afterwards: one or two or even three and then we teach you to get out there and get some work done because there is no better teacher than cold and indifferent ‘experience’.
“It’s all about the basics, if you have your basics, then everything else becomes ‘easy’; your level of production just shoots up. …If you really want to learn, don’t spend nearly as much time as the preppers spend prepping: just do it.”
Check out the VLOG for a way more detailed talk about prepping vs. doing and if you’re on the fence about it, please check out our foundations course, it’s worth the look, we promise you. -Enjoy!
Whether you’re learning CSS or anything in general: give your mind time to assimilate the lessons.
Learning anything can be hard, but learning CSS (which is not a particularly intuitive system) can be just plain daunting. What do you do when you feel like your brain is getting ‘fried’? Take a break, man!
“Learning something new is very much like exercising: lifting weights/working out. Anybody who does regular exercise knows that the rest period in exercising is just as important as the exercising itself.” For example, let’s say you do some heavy weight-lifting and the next day you’re sore…should you go on that same day and lift some more? Contrary to popular ‘bro’ opinion…NO, you should take that day for your body to rest and relax, so that when you go back to lifting, you’re refreshed and ready.
“The exact same thing applies when you’re learning CSS, …etc. You are literally tasking your brain in a physical way to learn, to acquire, to assimilate new knowledge. And because of that it’s going to reach a certain point where it needs a time to process this and assimilate it properly, so that means that you need to rest; so when you come to a point when you just can’t, it can’t sink in anymore: where the information is just becoming more difficult -your brain seems to be resisting the acquisition of new information (it’s becoming strained!) – at that moment, it’s your brain saying, ‘okay, we’ve trained enough, it’s time to take a break to assimilate.”
Check out the VLOG for a very understanding and meaningful deep dive into this subject. Don’t beat yourself up over how long it’s taking to learn either. That will not matter once you’ve attained your goal, and no one out there in the real world cares how long it took for you to learn something – they just want to take advantage of your knowledge. <Shameless Promo> Our courses, whether it’s the freelancing course or the web stack, or any of them are designed in a way that takes advantage of the fact that you’re learning at your own pace. So no worries, take your time, do it right and be good to yourself. -Enjoy!