Code Therapy

Stages of grief... but for learning to code.

Notes on Viking Code School Blog’s “Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard“:

The Hand Holding Honeymoon is the joy-filled romp through highly polished resources teaching you things that seem tricky but are totally do-able with their intensive support. You will primarily learn basic syntax but feel great about your accomplishments.
The Cliff of Confusion is the painful realization that it’s a lot harder when the hand-holding ends and it feels like you can’t actually do anything on your own yet. Your primary challenges are constant debugging and not quite knowing how to ask the right questions as you fight your way towards any kind of momentum.
The Desert of Despair is the long and lonely journey through a pathless landscape where every new direction seems correct but you’re frequently going in circles and you’re starving for the resources to get you through it. Beware the “Mirages of Mania”, like sirens of the desert, which will lead you astray.
The Upswing of Awesome is when you’ve finally found a path through the desert and pulled together an understanding of how to build applications. But your code is still siloed and brittle like a house of cards. You gain confidence because your sites appear to run, you’ve mastered a few useful patterns, and your friends think your interfaces are cool but you’re terrified to look under the hood and you ultimately don’t know how to get to “production ready” code. How do you bridge the gap to a real job?
Scope of Knowledge graph from Viking Coding School
As soon as you get away from the basics, you see a rapid broadening of the Scope of Knowledge as you need to begin picking up things that are more difficult like understanding errors and when to use the code you know know how to use. This is different because there is no “correct” answer to a clear question… things get fuzzy.

When you progress into the third phase, the scope of knowledge balloons wider. You now need to understand what tools to use, what languages to learn, underlying CS fundamentals, how to write modular code, object-orientation, good style, and how to ask for help (to name just a few). Every trip to Google or Hacker News takes you down another set of rabbit holes and overwhelms you with more things you don’t know but feel like you should.

You don’t know what you don’t know.