HyperionDev is excited to introduce a new series about our students’ coding journeys. What is it really like to learn to code? HyperionDev students reflect honestly on their experiences: the ups and the downs. Find out what it actually takes to become a coder. Here we feature Talitha Kruger, who is enrolled on a part-time Full Stack Web Developer Bootcamp. Over to you, Talitha.
My coding journey
I’ve come across an interesting description of the four stages of learning to code. As I learn to code, these psychological states of the coding process resonated with me. I’d like to describe them here with reference to my own coding journey.
This is the first magical introduction to coding. I remember when I rendered my first “Hello World”. In my grand naivety I thought to myself, “That’s it, I’m a web developer!”. I was in love with the fact that code in itself was not some type of superior magic (which I thought it was – not too long ago) to be used by the PC Master Race – i.e. people who can hack your fridge, etc. But now I commanded it, and it taught me so much at the same time. It ignited a curiosity I never knew I had, and that was so empowering.
The Cliff of Confusion
The cliff of confusion is defined as that time when you’re getting a little stuck and you need help. During this time I experienced my first inkling that there is no simple solution to fixing a bug, especially when learning a new concept.
The process goes something like this: I go through my code line by line, commenting segments of my code out to see if I can avoid the bug instead of resolving it. Let’s refresh. Oh no! It’s still there! I copy and paste the error message my debugger threw into Google search. I read the solution on Stack Overflow, but to be honest, what that code was doing is not what I want my code to do. I browse through as many resources as possible only to realise I am confusing myself even more!
The Desert of Despair
Now I’ve reached the Desert of Despair. This is defined as a long and lonely stage. I’m so stuck that I don’t even know how to phrase my questions. Imposter Syndrome creeps in – even doing something as simple as logging in to a console becomes a dream.
In my anxious imagination, the bug gets bigger and becomes a dry desert wasteland. I am wandering around trying to find my way back to where everything was working fine. It has been hours now and I still have not figured out how to run my code without throwing an error. Is there anyone who can help me?
After hours of searching, my code is running. The pride coursing through me is enough to power a nuclear plant and I am motivated to try build something else, something even more challenging. I reflect on a famous quotation by Theodore Roosevelt that has helped me through many deserts of despair. It’s called “The Man In The Arena”. And this is how it goes: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…”
While learning to code, I feel like I am that man in the arena.
If you’re keen to experience a coding journey of your own, consider enrolling on a HyperionDev course. Bootcamps include Full Stack Web Developer, Data Science or Software Engineering. You can also trial one of these courses for free. If online learning is not your thing, you could join a face-to-face Web Developer or Software Engineering course in Cape Town or Johannesburg. Courses are offered on a part-time or full-time basis. Start your career change today.