Innovation Stories From Around The Globe

6 Reasons You'll Never Learn How To Code

Jul 2, 2014 2:15:00 PM / by casecase

At AngelHack, we’re super excited to finally be launching our EDU program.

This has been an initiative long in the making; we see it as a natural extension of our commitment to grow and expand tech communities around the world.

We’re thrilled to be partnering with YC backed One Month as our curriculum partner. One Month has already seen a ton of success with their model and we’re so excited to share their methods of learning and skills with AngelHack-ers who are non-technical but aspiring to change that.

Community can be an incredible way to facilitate personal development and change, and we can’t wait to integrate the courses into the ecosystem we’ve already built around hackathons (see: world tour) and founding companies (see: HACKcelerator).

This post, written by Chris Castiglione from One Month, talks about some of the common challenges aspiring programmers face in their journey towards mastery.

6 Reasons You’ll Never Learn How to Code

What is the toughest part of learning to code? Staying motivated.

Back in 2002, I was a music major, and I had no desire to become a computer programmer. I quit 3 times. But I was determined to make a website for my band (…so that we could take over the world & MTV! haha).

In the beginning I cycled through a few thousand hours of reading/writing code (with languages that I now know don’t even make sense for making websites like Java & Perl, I had problems).

Until one day I finally started to build the damn thing. And that’s when it all clicked.

These days, I teach HTML & CSS, and I can see it in my students eyes — the fear. I have a lot of empathy for you because I’ve been there.

Here are 6 reasons why you’re not motivated:

1) You’re not making a real project. One of the biggest problems that HTML/Rails/Python students run into is that they spent too much time thinking about code. Yeah, yeah you’re great at taking quizzes, but terrified when it comes to actually building something real.

Go and make something! Don’t know what to make? I’m sure you have friends that need a website? Or your dad? A local non-profit? Figure it out.

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2) You don’t understand problem solving. Pay attention to how you solve problems, and not just how to use the tools. Otherwise you’ll keep solving the same problems over and over again. It’s less interesting to “learn to code” for the sake of learning. It’s much more interesting to learn to solve problems. There’s a difference.

3) Process makes perfect (and you don’t have a process). Once you solve a common problem. For example, “How do I set up Github?”, outline the steps for this and reuse the process. Otherwise, each time you begin you’re starting from scratch. Ew no! Have a process, improve upon your process each time.

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4) You think that you need to know everything. “I have no idea” is a recurring daily panic. But I’ve learned to breathe deep and ease into the fear. I’m telling you right now: You don’t have to know everything. There, I said it. I teach HTML and Rails, and even now (as a teacher) people ask me things about those two languages that I don’t know. So just say it aloud, “I have no idea,” and use Google to figure out the answer. Keep curious, keep learning.

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5) You think using Google is cheating: And you’re wrong! In my humble opinion, 75% of Developing code is Googlin’… and it’s ok to admit that. Also, don’t be afraid to Google the problem 17 different ways until you find the answer you’re looking for!

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6) You don’t surround yourself with other brilliant coders: Learn from people who are smarter than you! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to meetups, hackathons, take classes, get an internship, go out into the world, live, go and live!

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Enough blab. Put a deadline on the calendar. Go make something.

Now!

To register for AngelHack’s 1st course in San Francisco or add your city to the pilot,  click here!

About the Author

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Christopher Castiglione is the co-founder of One Month, teaching the world how to code 30 minutes a day. Chris is a developer with a specialty in UX strategy and front-end. He has over 10 years of experience developing digital products. In the past, he has designed applications for clients ranging from The Black Eyed Peas, Bacardi, and Toyota. In 2012, Christopher spoke at over 70 events on programming and APIs. He's taught at Columbia University, The University of Amsterdam, SXSW, and has provided corporate training for clients ranging from Donors Choose to The New York Stock Exchange and American Express.

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Written by casecase