Motivation Tips for Coding

If you are like me, then you’ve surely come across situations where you say to yourself that you just don’t feel like learning anymore or you just want to give up.  Here are some of my thoughts on what you can do to get around those feelings.

You should set goals (Read this article http://www.mindtools.com/page6.html).  If you don’t have any clear goals, then you just most likely aren’t going to get where you need to go.  If you set a goal, you will be naturally more motivated and you will feel bad if you are ever slipping.  Set a goal that is measurable and that is feasible but kind of aggressive.  If you do that exact thing, you will be that much more motivated.

Have someone like a buddy keep track of your progress.  It would best if that person were learning how to code as well.  If that’s the case, then you can push each other to get better all the time.  If one person is slipping in their progress, then the other person will try to push that person forward.  Having a buddy always helps with any task that you may undertake.  SO, see who around you might be a good candidate for being your buddy and starting courting that person asap.  My programming partner built a site called Slumber Sage, which now has over 1000 twitter followers!  It really can make success for anyone.

Think about the financial goals.  If you are learning web design, try to get a client who you can do design work for.  If you have a financial goal that you are trying to reach and you need to do good work in order to get paid, I have a feeling you will be much more motivated.  SO, see if you can get someone to pay you to do some web design work, and if so, then you will be motivated to do a good job and learn as much as possible about what you are doing.  You will be that much better of a coder because of it.

Lastly, have the right music!

Those are just a few ideas.  I’m sure you can come up with some other ideas on your own.  I want you to stay motivated and never get discouraged.  Learning to code isn’t all fun and games.  It takes hard work to succeed and that means facing a little discouragement along the way sometimes.

I Think I Really Understand CSS Now

So I like CSS and it’s awesome that you can make really good-looking websites, but it’s really frustrating in practice.  In fact, it’s kind of the worse.  The only solution is lots of practice.  As I was going through my online lessons, the instructor would always say that you need lots of pracitce with CSS to master it.  I thought it would just be like everything else or any other skill that you would learn, but it’s really really true in this particular circumstance.  I mean, you’ll learn a rule and you’ll think that everything makes logical sense, and then your entire container has collapsed for no reason.  Then you’ll just have to know that that is what CSS for some reason does and you will need to know the hack around it.  It’s pretty annoying, because a lot of the time there is no logical reason why CSS would do what it does.

I guess this is kind of a rant and a little motivation to just keep pushing through.  I feel like I finally understand CSS and it just took me a really long time to do so.  Now that I understand the little hacks you have to figure out with lots and lots of practice, I feel like I can design anything.  My advice would be to get something like codepen. or something really similar to it that allows you to practice really easily.  I’m sorry for the little delay from the last post, but I was going through some major coding issues with CSS that I think I finally have resolved.  I hope you have enjoyed my little rant.  If you are learning CSS, then you will surely go through this rant at some point in time.  It’s pretty straight-forward until you get into the weeds of it.  Then it starts to get a little hairy.

The Right Music To Listen To While Coding

There’s a lot of debate about this exact issue.  I have a friend who listens to really hardcore and loud EDM and rap music while he is coding.  I think that’s fine, but I think it’s also really distracting.  You don’t want the music to get in the way of your coding.  You want it to assist you in your coding.  For this reason, I don’t think you want to listen to music where you are really familiar with it and know the words.  Naturally, your mind will wander and you will focus on the song and not focus as much on your work.

So, if you can’t listen to songs that you know and you shouldn’t listen to loud music, what does that leave you?  Well, I happen to be a classical music and jazz lover.  There are songs/pieces without words that can enhance your mental spirit and put you in the right mood to simply get stuff done.  However, I don’t like to listen to classical pieces that I know really well because I love them so much that I’ll just get distracted again and we’ll miss the point of putting on the right type of music in the first place.

As a result, I recommend listening to baroque music.  There’s no major singing melody and it’s pretty complex.  It will definitely get your mind active and you will be pretty productive in my experience.  Aside from that, I just like jazz.  I love how chill it is to listen to and it’s really great for coding because there’s no particular melody that you follow that can distract you.  It keeps your mind active and helps you stay engaged.

So, for an example of good baroque music to listen to, I’ll put the youtube video here for Bach’s C Major Fugue (one of his C Major Fugues).  Alright, I included the prelude here as well.

For jazz, I simply recommend Miles Davis.  I just think he is amazing and is truly the best you can find.

I know some of you might not agree, but I love this music and think it’s great for me when I just want to get stuff done and code for along period of time.

Where Should You Look To Help You Learn To Code?

I’m glad that you are asking this question.  First, check out my post on getting started (here).  If you are reading this and don’t care about this question, then I’m sorry for wasting your time.  The answer is a bit complicated.  There are a ton of places where you can learn to code.  You can sign up at a community college or something like that.  You can do live workshops or bootcamps.  There are tons of hardcore, several month programs that will teach you almost everything you need to know to be prepared for a job in coding.  I guess the first thing I would recommend would be to figure out exactly what your goals are.  After that, only then can you decide where you should focus your efforts and turn your attention.

Let’s say you wanted to become a full-time developer and you don’t have a background or schooling in this field at all.  There’s really intense programs, like the Flatiron School in NYC, that will take you from an absolute beginner to a very advanced level.  The problem is that those programs are exclusive and they are costly in terms of time and money.  BUT, they are extremely effective and probably well worth the investment.  You should definitely take a look at one of these programs if you are serious about really getting into coding.

If you just want to teach yourself at your own pace, then there are certainly a ton of options.  You could start with Codecademy.com, which is what I would recommend getting started with because it’s free.  The content needs to be expanded, but you will get a first look at what it will take to really learn coding.

If you are willing to pay a little bit, then you could try lynda.com or teamtreehouse.com.  Those are subscription services that have video lessons that will teach you pretty well how to code.  You have to be willing to pay something like $30 or even less per month, but the value you get is really good.  If you are willing to pay this little bit each month, I think one of these two sites might be the best option for you.

Hopefully that gives you a good overview of your options.  You could go to W3Schools.org, which would be the free, old-school way to learn.  That might be a lot of effort compared to the other options, however.  Either way, good luck!

Teach Your Kids To Code Too!

Teaching yourself to code is one of the best things that you can do.  It can set you off on a lucrative and stable in-demand career.  It can also provide you a really great secondary income that can push you over the good edge financially and give you that flexibility and freedom you always wanted.  So, obviously I would recommend that you teach yourself to code if it is at all feasible.

But what about your kids?  You should get your kids to learn coding at an early age.  This can put them at a huge advantage and they will have a tremendous skill set that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.  You don’t want your kid to become a recluse who can’t handle him/herself socially.  BUT, at the same time you can find the right balance where your kid is active physically and socially and still is really good at coding.

A lot of people are worried about their jobs eventually being replaced by technology.  Well, coding is one area where job growth is only going to increase.  This type of career will be in demand for a very long time.  You don’t have to worry about that.  So, you will be setting your kid up for a really strong shot at a good financial future.  While I really like and recommend a liberal arts education, I also think that kids should learn practical things that will be able to make them money as well.

Can I learn to code, daddy?

Kids will probably find friendship with other coders as well.  They will compete with and collaborate with each other and become better coders as a result.

Your kid will be able to make his own income at a very young age as well, which will make him more mature and responsible as well.  You will have fewer costs because your kid will be able to pay for things on his/her own.  So the financial reasons are plenty to have your kid learn to code.  There’s really no reason to at least try to get your kid to learn.  What do you have to lose?  This article here (https://www.edsurge.com/guide/teaching-kids-to-code) goes through how you should go about having your kid learn to code.  Whatever the way you do it, at least give it a shot!

Most Websites Look Old And Bad

One of the cool things that you will realize when you get into coding is that most websites don’t really look that good.  If you look at an average dentist or law firm website, they look terrible.  This presents an opportunity.  Eventually most people who run such websites will realize that they are losing site visitors because their design is in such poor shape.  What should they do?  Well, currently there are not enough web designers to go around.  This alone is why I think it’s super worth it to learn to code.  You can enter a space that is highly valued and in high demand with not a lot of supply to match.  You can do project work on the side and earn a ton of money with not a ton of time commitment doing web design work for people.

You can even just set up basic WordPress websites for people.  You can grab a theme that someone has already made.  You can customize it a little bit, and then after a few hours of work, you are pretty much done with your site and you just made a couple thousand dollars.  So, even if you don’t want to be a full-time web designer, you can really start to make your way in coding and set off towards financial independence if you learn good web design.

I found this article (http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/learning-from-bad-web-design/) that talks a little bit more about bad web design.  You can quickly learn what is good and what is bad and then try not to make the same easy mistakes that other web designers in the past have made.  You should also figure out how to make a nice responsive web design, which means that your website will look good on a desktop , tablet, and/or a smartphone.  Web design is really cool, it’s in demand, and it’s highly valued, so what are you waiting for?

Where Should You Get Started?

If you are a true beginner, I would first want to congratulate you.  Becoming interested in the topic and being motivated to start is half the battle.  You should first figure out what everything, like what is HTML and CSS?  Then you should figure out what your goals are.  If you don’t have concrete goals, you aren’t going to be half as effective as you could be.  You should figure out exactly what you want to learn.  And first, you should read my last post here.  Do you want to be a web designer?  Maybe you want to make cool iPhone apps.  Maybe you want to be able to run an e-Commerce site some day.  I’m not really here to tell you what you should aim to do.  You can make a really awesome hobby or career doing any number of things.  You could just be a simple web designer on the side and make an extra $2,000 a month.  Or you could be a badass web programmer who makes the next Facebook.  You need to figure out what your goals are and then set a plan.

Setting a plan is equally important to knowing what your goals are.  If you don’t have a concrete plan and timeline laid out, you may easily lose motivation and never really get to where you would like to be.  To avoid that, always think of your plan and try your best to stick with it.

starting line

No matter what you are trying to do, you should learn HTML and CSS first.  Even if you just want to make iPhone apps, you will have to understand how web design works.  It’s absolutely critical.  These two markup languages are really easy to pick up, although they do require a good deal of practice.  You just can’t really avoid getting to know these two languages.  They will provide a good basis for how to move on after.  You can’t really learn Javascript without knowing HTML first, for example.  So to get started, you should learn these two languages.  But how should you learn them?  Check out W3schools or Skill Voyage or even Codecademy to get a game plan for how to learn them.

What The Heck Is Coding Anyways?

This is a really good question, and honestly I didn’t really know what it was for most of my life either.  If you had asked me what HTML was, I truly would have had no clue.  I’m a little embarrassed now about that, but I have gotten over it.  Ultimately, it’s really simple.  I found a good resource here (http://www.brevedy.com/2014/03/17/what-is-coding-for-non-coders/).  Let’s take a look at something simple like HTML, which technically is a markup language and not a coding language.  You can use HTML to tell the browser how you want a webpage to be structured.  You can say, hey browser, I want to have about an inch of space here after this paragraph.  There is a syntax in HTML that allows you to do this.  You basically write the code in a certain way to tell the browser what to do.  If you want to make a link, you just need to know the special code for any link.  Then once you have that down, you’ll be doing HTML in no time.

CSS is similar.  You basically tell the browser how to style a webpage.  It’s a little more complicated than that, but overall it’s not really complicated.  If you want to make a picture look like a circle, you just need to know the code in CSS of how to do so.  It’s really that simple.

Actual programming is a little more complicated.  You give commands or inputs, and then the program gives you an output.  You could ask the user his age, and then tell the program to give a certain message back to them based on their answer.  That’s what coding and programming allows you to do.  You give the program a situation and then tell it what to do in various situations.

Hopefully that gives you a decent idea of what coding is.  If not, you’ll just need to dig into it a little bit and maybe do some practicing.  You can certainly jump onto youtube and see a whole bunch of videos on the subject.

Welcome To My Site!

I wanted to start off by welcoming you to my site.  My name is John Skvorecky and I’m your average, middle-aged man, as much as I hate to say it.  I’ve seen a big transition in the past few years, and I now understand that the ability to code is going to be in very high demand from now into the future.  Up until recently, I really had no idea what coding was or if I would have any interest in it.  I just thought it was some foreign concept that only nerdy people were into.

However, I started looking into things, as I wasn’t exactly too happy with my career to that point.  I thought I could slowly teach myself this new skill and then maybe just be self-employed or get a job at a new company.  I live in Nebraska, but I am open to moving somewhere.  I wanted to start this blog to document my journey and also to help anyone else who feels like they need a change.  Learning to code is both liberating and exciting.  The fact that I can teach myself this information and then practice it a bunch on my own to get good at it is really awesome.  I’m looking forward to seeing where these new abilities can take me.  I’m focused on web design work right now, but eventually I want to get into more programming, so I can make really cool apps.  I think I now understand what something like Ruby On Rails actually is and a little bit of how it works.

Anyways, I’m glad and super excited that you’ve come to my site and I hope you enjoy it!