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Career Karma

A Letter to Code Newbies (from a Former Newbie)

arturmeyster profile image Artur Meyster Updated on ・3 min read

Dear Code Newbies,

I know learning to code can be tough at times.

Chasing bugs for hours, only to realize that you misspelled a variable name or left out a semicolon.

I wanted to share some words of encouragement to reassure you that learning to code is absolutely worth it.


Five years ago, I was a total code newbie. If you showed me a piece of code, I wouldn’t know what to do with it.

Now I’m the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of a venture-backed startup called Career Karma (Ycombinator 2019) helping people get jobs in tech.

I remember the hardest thing in the very beginning was finding the time to code. We all live busy lives, so making that extra hour to code after work at times seemed impossible.

Discipline

It took me months of "on-again-off-again" learning and doing tutorials to develop a habit where I can sit for two hours straight and focus on building a simple HTML page or solving a JavaScript toy problem.

For reference, now I can sit and code for 6-8 hours straight with time flying by. If you’re concerned that you won’t get there, don’t worry: you will. It's like going to the gym--being disciplined and consistent is everything.

Tutorial Purgatory

After a few months of learning the basics of JavaScript, I got a subscription to Udemy and started my journey through tutorial purgatory.

I would pick a JavaScript for beginners course, blindly copy everything that the instructor did, and midway through the course get bored and move on to the next tutorial that seemed more interesting.

After a few months, I realized that I was running in place. I still couldn’t build a project from scratch, and most importantly, I didn’t have the confidence to explore on my own.

Learning How to Learn

One day, I decided I would build a chat app--no matter what. I struggled tremendously because there was no instructor to guide me or answers to look up. I had to figure it out on my own using Google, Stack Overflow and GitHub.

Interestingly, it was after I built that app that I knew I had what it takes to become an engineer--learning how to learn is the secret to becoming great at coding.

Every single day I’m faced with technical issues and bugs I’ve never seen before. Being a software engineer means getting comfortable with not knowing the answer but knowing that the answer is out there--and that you will find it!


There were tons of people around me who helped me how to code and I want to pay it forward.

If you’re someone who is starting to learn how to code or exploring bootcamps, direct message me, and I will add you to a group of people I’m mentoring.

I look forward to seeing all of your coding journeys!

Artur Meyster
CTO of Career Karma (YC W19)

P.S. If you found it interesting, please comment below which point you are struggling with the most :)


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Artur Meyster

@arturmeyster

CTO of @Career_Karma (YC W19). Founder of Breaking Into Startups Podcast @everest10x. Coding Bootcamp grad.

Career Karma

Career Karma matches people to coding bootcamps and other job training programs. We provide free career coaching and mentorship from our community of over 60,000 members to help you get a job in tech.

Discussion

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I'm sorry to start this comment like this, but I HATE UDEMY!!! I've tried to follow 'free' courses and paid-for courses on that app, but now I'm giving up on it, not programming, but Udemy! I can't even get a course to load.

In other news, it seems to me that I can't learn cos I don't remember what I've learned from day to day. I'm only 48, but I have the worst memory in existence. I need serious help! Help me if you can.

 

I know how you feel. For coding, you don’t really need to memorize, because documentation is readily available online. Something that helped me was coding at least 30 min every day and made getting into coding a lot easier. Usually taking over a week off made it really hard to remember.