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.

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.

I Am Not A Coding Master Jedi

I won’t go into the exact specifics of what led me to write this post, but I just wanted to say how important it is to stay humble and always have a thirst for more.  You don’t know everything, and you should always realize that there is something more to learn.  If you think you have mastered something like CSS, then I assure you that you have not.  You will always run into a situation where you can learn more and there will always be someone better than you.

That is all that I really wanted to say.  Again, I won’t go into the specifics of what led me to say this exactly, but I recently faced a fairly humbling experience and learned that I have a lot left to learn.  It’s not big deal in the grand scheme of things, and I will prevail in the end.  BUT, you should always adapt the attitude that you are always going to learn more.  If you do that, in the end there is no way you won’t be successful.

Don’t Forget About Mobile!

One thing I didn’t do a good job of when I was first getting started was designing websites that would look good on mobile.  Now I take a mobile-first design approach and I think that’s clearly the way to go.  There’s something called a media query, which is something you should learn about if you haven’t already.  It is what allows your website to be responsive and look good no matter what device the person looking at the site is using.

This is so important because an increasing number of people are viewing the web on mobile devices and tablets.  What looks good on a desktop computer almost certainly will not look very good on an iPhone.  That is why you need to learn mobile design.

Learning mobile design actually isn’t that hard.  I just needed about two weeks of practice before I really god the hang of it.  For something that is so extremely important, that is a very small period of time to learn something.  If you are using a site like teamtreehouse.com, they will probably teach you this stuff and you already know about it.  If not, don’t be like me.  Get to know about this stuff immediately.  People will be willing to pay you extra money if you are willing to make their site look amazing on mobile, tablets, and desktops.  So, what are you waiting for?  Learn about responsive design now!

As I mention here (http://skvorecky.com/most-websites-look-old-and-bad/), most websites look bad.  This is especially true with mobiles sites.

How You Can Use Passive Online Income To Become Financially Independent

One of the biggest ways that the internet has changed the world is that it has opened the floodgates on the earning potential of the average person. I can tell you from personal experience that the internet, and electronic commerce has changed my life for the better. I no longer have to get up every day and go to work for someone else. Instead I get up each day and I get to work for myself. What I did was find a way to create multiple streams of what is known as passive income. Passive income is income that you can earn for a long period of time for work that you only do once.

The first thing I did to start setting up my online income is to create a website. On my website I began to post articles that I wrote along with images about a bunch of similar and related subjects. Once I had built up a large number of daily visitors I monetized my website with ads from different companies. Now the ads didn’t make me a lot of money, but they did earn some money. The important thing to remember about building up passive income is that no single source of income is likely to be very significant. Rather it is the total of multiple small streams of income that will build up to give you the financial independence that you want.

The next thing that I did was set up affiliate marketing links on my website. Affiliate marketing is a process where you place ads on your website and then are awarded a commission when someone clicks on an ad and makes a purchase. The reason that I only posted articles that were about related material was because I was trying to establish myself as an expert in the eyes of my visitors. Once I had established myself as an expert in their eyes I was able to use this position to influence their purchasing habits.

Building up a steady stream of passive income is going to take you a lot of time and effort. It’s also important to remember that while it may be passive income, it’s still in your best interest to work on your website each day. Remember that earning money online is all about numbers. When you have a website that has fresh and relevant content, you can attract more visitors and make more money.

Small-Town America Needs Coders Too

So, I’m a middle-aged guy who lives in Nebraska.  I’ve come to terms with it.  I love the small town way of life, so I don’t need to have off to Silicon Valley or New York CIty or Austin.  What I will say is the following: if you can learn to code and you are willing to live in a not-so-densely populated place, you can really clean up as a coder or web designer.  It takes some time to get used to, but if you want to raise a family and have a wife already, I think it’s much better to live in the suburbs or the country in general.  The city life just isn’t that great in my opinion for family living.  Everything is more expensive and much more of a hassle.

So, I’ll give some examples.  In each town, you’ll have a few doctors, lawyers, and dentists.  You could easily be the one guy they turn to for web design and maintenance work.  If you are a really good coder, then there probably won’t be anyone else who is better than you at it.  You could be the biggest fish by far in a small pond and absolutely clean up.  Perhaps you have dreams of working at a cool startup in California.  BUT, if you want to live a pretty good life and make a lot of money in a place where the cost of living is extremely low, then I would give small-town America a shot.  It’s at least worth considering in my opinion.

Teaching Coding In Schools

I kind of have a little bit of an issue with how coding is being taught in schools.  First of all, if you are in high school, you would be lucky to have a computer science class as an option to take.  You would have to choose between a language class and computer science, so a lot of people will probably choose the language class.  So, for one, computer science isn’t even available a lot of the time.  I’m all for a well-rounded liberal arts education, but there should also be classes that gear people up for the future job market.  Especially when coding is this powerful and demanded.

The next thing I want to rant about a little bit is how impractical the curriculum can be with computer science programs at colleges.  First, and many people will readily admit it, is that these schools teach theoretical concepts instead of practical skills that people will actually use to do things in a job at a startup or technology firm.  Will you learn how to make a website?  Probably not.  If you want to learn Ruby on Rails or how to make an iPhone app, you will probably be on your own.  There is a big mismatch between what you need to know to succeed at a job where coding is required and what people are being taught.

It’s up to companies to fill in the gap.  Thank God for things like Codecademy.com and similar sites.  These sites/companies actually teach tangible job-ready skills that can help you get a job in the first place and then succeed and advance in that job.

If I were the head of a computer science department, I would meet with executives at technology and startups firms and figure out how to bridge the gap here.  Right now it’s a pretty big gap, and the demand for good coders is only going to go up from here.

So, I’m calling out higher education and asking them to reform their ways and fix their curriculum so that it matches what the skills actually are that are required to do a good job or to even get a job in the first place.  Rant over!

Learning How To Code Is Easier Than You Think – Try It Today

I had an interest in learning how to code for quite a while but didn’t really pursue it because I thought it was complicated and more technical than I could handle. With some free time on my hands I decided to look into it and I was surprised to find out that learning how to code is rather easy and even the least technical people can do it. Although most people think of code as the stuff behind websites it is used for a lot else it is the one that powers apps, games, it is used to control gadgets and you can even generate code that switch the lights on and off in your home through a mobile or a tablet. I simplified my experience in 5 easy steps that can guide you:
1. The first thing that you need to do is make time. Anyone who tells you that you can learn how to code in a day is lying to you. Like anything else that is worth doing, learning how to code takes time.
2. Learning the principles is the second step. Code is basically language that issues commands to a computer. There are programs that you can use to get familiar with the basic principles o0f coding. They do simple tasks you can be asked to issue commands that help you navigate a simple course. Once you are familiar with the principles of code you will have an easier time getting the real thing done.
3. Get coding software that can help you learn. I used a program called Scratch which allows you to use very basic code to build your own game. There are other more complicated ones so it is really up to you to decide which one is best for you. You can start with Scratch and then advance to more complex software.
4. Code every day. Coding is like everything else you have to do it every day if you want to become a master at it. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day where you do nothing but code.
5. Don’t give up if you feel particularly challenged by a coding task just keep going at it.
Use these steps to learn how to code.
social media and coding first impression

Building A Good Secondary Income!

So it’s been a while now, and I apologize for not updating this site more.  I’ve been pretty busy.  Outside of my normal job, I’ve of course been learning to code.   That’s been pretty heavy on the front-end side and I’m starting to get pretty good at web design.  Well, I’ve been doing some networking and I now am doing work for three somewhat local clients.  Two clients need a new design and another person is doing a new website from scratch.

Got some clients yo!

I’m very excited about this but also terrified at the same time.  I would like think that my skills have really advanced and I can easily do these projects, but I’m just not sure what the time commitment will be like and you never know how well you are going to perform.  I’m going to work extra hard and make sure my coding skills really show.

To give myself some more leeway, I am going to tell these people that it will take about twice as long as it probably actually will.  If I set their expectations to that level, then they will be really happy if and when I finish ahead of time.  It also allows me to kind of mess up and still have more than enough time to fix things.  I have talked with more than a few web designers recently and this is the number one advice they told me as far as project management is concerned.

If you are looking to get a web design client and show off your coding skills, I have a little advice for you.  Do some networking.  Meet people’s friends and casually mention that you know how to make websites.  Go to local business events.  Get referrals from friend.  If the person has some sort of familiarity with you, then that will go an extremely long way to helping you land that person as a client.

I’m not currently doing this, but if you have your own website and can show up highly in Google, you will easily get clients without much effort.  You will have to learn something called SEO, which is an always changing ball game as I’m told.  Take a look at Seomoz.com for more information about that.

New Years Resolution- Your Year Of Learning

Well, the new year has come and gone, and once again New Year’s Eve was an overrated nightmare haha.  It’s time to really focus on what you want to change about yourself and make better for the new year.  A lot of people will sign up for gym memberships.  I want you to learn to code.  That’s a general thing to say, and I’m doing that intentionally.  I want you to fill in the gaps.  What’s that, you say?  I want you to take a full audit of where you are and where you’ve been.  If you are really good at web design, then maybe you should consider looking into programming.  If you are really good programming, then maybe you should consider looking at learning a new programming language or focus on some other skill that could help you become more valuable like SEO.

Whatever it is that you want to learn, see what you can do to maintain your goal.  It’s easy to set a resolution, do it for like two months, and then eventually stop doing it.  I want you to get aggressive and set an awesome goal.

What is my goal?  I want to learn Ruby on Rails.  I think it’s awesome and that’s mainly because everyone I know says that it’s awesome and allows people to make really cool web apps in just a few days compared to weeks or even months with other platforms.  I’m going to do this by trying my best to stay motivated and having a friend of mine mentor me and keep track of my progress (he’s a really good coder who knows Ruby on Rails really well).

That’s basically all I had to say.  Get after it this year, and start learning some new things.  Don’t let life get in the way.  You should be getting in the way of life and not the other way around.

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.