I am bad at coding, please help!

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I am bad at coding, please help!

How many times you haven’t felt this way?

How many times you’ve looked at your code and had the feeling of the worst programmer in the world?

And finally, how many times you had the feeling if you are a junior like me, that you maybe, just maybe, took a wrong path to programming and you are just “not for it”?

The other day I received a message in my Twitter inbox that literally said this: 

“Please help me I want to get into web development, I know basic Html and CSS, but I’m so bad…

I feel like falling into an empty void I’m such a failure”.

This is a desperate cry for many of us but I know I am not alone. Some developers are programming for more than a decade and still feels that they need to improve.

Hi, I am Luc, a front-end developer and this is the weekly article about my journey into web development.

Without further due, let’s get into it:

I don’t have the 20 years of experience as I started late, at 42, last year (eg. 2019), but I noticed something that preoccupied me at the beginning in the field. One of the problems that most people are facing when it comes to programming, is a lack of confidence. I consider myself someone who knows how to administrate emotions, as having four kids the tendency is to go crazy if you don’t learn how to hold tight and put things together. Even with that, when I started to code I felt overwhelmed. There were new things every day, and it always will be this way in this industry. But the same ways are coming, the same way are going… look at Deno (the runtime for JavaScript), it came out in May 2020, and in 2 weeks I haven’t heard anything about it since.

Start to code.

When I started the HTML and wrote the first “Hello World” I felt like an entire universe had opened to me. To find later that HTML is just a scratch to surface to what coding is. I had a “this will never end” feeling and from that moment I knew in a way that I will never regret choosing this path. I understood I needed time to get experience and I set a schedule and a weekly goal(s). To thrive, for me, the best strategy is to set a weekly goal. Let’s say that I want to learn loop in JavaScript, what I do is read the documentation about, watch a tutorial, read articles, apply what I’ve learned. Thus the info gets stuck in my brain. Even after one month of no use, I remember how does it work ‘cause I grasped the basic. But again, this is just me and you may find a better way of doing it.

Learn the fundamentals.

A year ago (in 2019) I was insecure, I didn’t know where to start or how to continue. I had bought an Udemy course of “full-stack dev” just to find later that the title of “full-stack” in the instructor’s mind had a different meaning than mine, and it was from 2015 thus outdated. I decided to give it a go even so. I turned that disadvantage into an opportunity. As the version of jQuery and more of the Boostrap was outdate in the course I had to learn by reading the documentation. The JavaScript intro was just that: an intro. I gave up on learning with that course and went to another course in JavaScript. It didn’t made any sense to my brain. So I turned to PHP and it started to make sense. If you want to know more about this experience I wrote an article about it …of course I did,🙂 since I am documenting my journey.

 Learn the fundamentals is the best of choices as libraries changes, languages updates and frameworks remain in oblivion.  

Don’t just code more, code better!

I saw this reply on one of my recent tweets and I loved it. I wondered how can I improve and asked myself:” how can I code better?”

So, I started to dig. Internet is like a gold mine, the more you dig the more treasure you find, so I put together some of the most important strategies, but without expanding them:

  • read other programmer’s code;
  • comment your code as less as possible and when you do, write meaningful comments;
  • fall in love with code refactoring;
  • write documentation for large comments;
  • avoid global code (like variables, or loops);

I was surprised to find that some of the practices above I were following without knowing they have been put into the “Best Practice” list code. Again, this is not a technical article so I added the ones I found most important at the time. You may find other great practices that help you on your journey.

And as you grow in knowledge and advancing into the industry, document your journey. It doesn’t have to be by writing articles at the beginning, you could write notes that will eventually in the future convert into articles.

I hope you find this helpful and if you do you can share it with your connections.

Until next week, I wish you a productive time and happy coding.