I’ve done a bunch of mentoring and I always end up telling my own story to explain that learning to code isn’t just learning the technical aspect, it’s also learning to
cope with feelings
When it comes to coding which is a skill, much more akin to playing a musical instrument.
You can’t just read about playing a musical instrument to get good. You can’t just immediately start playing well. You have to put the time in.
Same with coding. You’ll suck at first: You won’t understand what you are doing. You will break stuff and have no idea why. Things will work and you will have no idea why. You will be frustrated a lot of the time.
The spinning of the wheels is learning. Every mistake you make is learning. You are learning what not to do, and you are learning how things work (even though it doesn’t feel like you are).
You won’t notice your growth because as you get better at something, you will be challenged by new things and you’ll forget that that thing that tripped you up for a long time just ‘comes naturally’.
Having people tutor you or solve things for you or hold your hand isn’t learning. It’s not going to help you build the skill set. Watching someone else play a musical instrument will not get you very far (especially as a beginner), it helps a little, but it still won’t make you better, you’ll only get better when you work on it on your own.
It can feel really lonely, hard, impossible… and when you start out you have so much to learn, you can’t code until you learn about a text editor, and how to open things in a browser… there are a million basic lessons you are learning on top of just coding at first. It’s like when you open a dictionary to loop up a word and the definition is another word you don’t know… over and over again.
The only thing to do is stick with it. There is no softer landing, there is no easier way.
This is a cold harsh reality. The upside is, over time you learn to cope with your feelings and this frustration stops bothering you so much. You just shrug your shoulders and keep going or you learn to take a break and not fret too much.
But you’ll also learn you’re far stronger than you realized. Tougher, gritty, and you will feel a certain level of pride with your work that you’ve never felt from completing a worksheet in school.