Staying motivated as a part-time developer is a difficult thing. Your motivation to continue to learn coding comes and goes, especially when the daily challenges of modern life get in the way. Managing your time, passion, and love for the art of coding is what will get you through the tough times when your code does not compile, or when you get errors you have never seen before. Here are my tips to new developers who are looking for ways to make consistent progress in their journeys of learning to code.
1. Every little bit counts
Making time to learn coding while balancing a full-time job, your family responsibilities, your social-life, or other aspects of modern life is not an easy task. I found it tremendously useful to examine my timetable to see where I could fit in coding, and taking every small window of opportunity I could to practice. This could be, for example, making time to code whenever you have a break:during your lunch break, while waiting for your pasta to finish boiling, or even while waiting for the kettle to boil. Just get it done when you can, even if it is coding for a short amount of time, as often as you can. That is how you make real and consistent progress in learning to code: you make it a priority.
2. Side-projects make perfect
I believe that side projects and side hustles are key to helping you move to the next step in your career. These projects are a good way to find out what you really like and what you are passionate about, and they allow you to practice creating a real project (as well as solve the real problems that every project inevitably throws at you).
3. The critical importance of goal-setting (and the cycle of success)
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals that will keep you on a long-term learning track. Working towards these goals doesn’t just keep you learning, however: I found that each new success and benchmark I reached kept me motivated and determined to keep on coding. What helped me stay determined to succeed is that as I got better at coding, my love for it grew more and more, and ended up being something that I became passionate about.. However, I would advise that you try not to overwhelm yourself with a huge amount of work the next day, if you did not achieve your goals the day before. This “playing catch up” doesn’t usually work: usually it stresses you out more, and sets you back even further. Just pick up where you left off and keep moving forward.
Also, remember to make your daily goals realistic. Try not to get yourself down by trying to code 8 hours one day and not being able to achieve it because you never had 8 hours to spare to begin with.
4. Use resources and join communities!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or use online resources to solve a problem – it’s not “cheating”. One of the resources I used frequently while learning to code is Stack Overflow. I used this to gain a deeper understanding of what my runtime errors were and how to fix them, with detailed explanations from expert developers who have solved that problem themselves.. Another resource is Geeks for Geeks. This site was very useful for understanding fundamental programming topics, which are explained using examples in many different programming languages. Finally, one of the most important resources I used was the HyperionDev Discord server. It is a great resource because you’ve got access to all the personal coding mentors as well as past and present students. Everyone on the server knows what you are going through, and you are able to discuss questions and topics that are giving you a hard time. It’s also a great support system as well, if you’re having issues with coding.
In short, I really believe that the key to making consistent progress in learning to code is a mixture of consistency, good time management, and passion. These three things will get you far on your journey of learning to code. Just keep practising and soon enough you will see results.
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