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This has been a year of many firsts for me. I’m currently developing my sketchnote skills, being more active in the UX community by getting out of my shell, and learning to code. These journeys are still all ongoing, but it wasn’t until I sat down and took a moment to review my progress that I realised how far I’ve come in the last 11 months.

I can honestly say that I have been far too focused on where I want to be to fully appreciate the growth that I’ve experienced during my journey to get there.

Earlier this year, Erik Trautman wrote an excellent article – Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard about the difficulties of learning to code and the emotional roller coaster that takes place along the way. During his interview with Joyce Akiko, where he discussed his article further, Trautman mentioned the fact that whilst taking a course he realised that learning to code isn’t a linear process;

… and then there’s this kind of linear procession where you just check things off a list and then you’re good to go, right? And that’s not true, that’s not how it works.

And this course was really eye-opening in the sense that I could tell as I was going through it. It was claiming that I was checking these boxes like, oh great! Now you know SQL. Oh great! Now you know JavaScript.

This is true of every skill that you will ever learn in your lifetime. It is all well and good completing every section of a HTML and CSS course, but I find a lot of ‘teach yourself’ websites and apps give the impression that you can go from creating a ‘Hello world’ static web page to creating a fully responsive website in a few short exercises. The connection between the basic and the complex is presented as being quite simple. When in reality it isn’t.

That realisation often leaves you with a choice – either embrace the challenge and know that it won’t be easy or to simply tell yourself that you’re just not cut out for whichever skill your trying to gain. How many times have you told yourself the latter? I know I have many times over.

I have found that the way to get through the ‘learning hump’ is to allow yourself to discover and embrace the way that you learn. To not compare yourself to anyone else, to focus on what you do right rather than what you might do wrong, and to understand that your confidence will go up and down.

Now, where are my L-plates?

Cover Photo by Ilya Pavlov

Related links:

Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard Erik Trautmano

Why Learning to Code Is So Hard: And What To Do About It Joyce Akiko

Is it too late for an X-year-old to learn how to program? Erin Parker