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Nadine M. Thêry
Nadine M. Thêry

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What does a #codeNewbie need to start/improve?

I have been seriously coding for three months so far. This means that I have focused entirely in becoming a developer in, ideally, a year. It might sound pretty ambitious, I know. But you need clear goals to make a clear idea of how to achieve it.
Not saying that will be a senior or the best. Just that I must be ready to go outside and get a coding job. I will probably keep you posted about how all goes. But I wanted to share some of the things and questions I came across during this period.

What to study?

I have 0 technological study background. Although I do believe that nowadays degrees are really not necessary for our industry. I really felt that I needed certification or degree that made me feel confident when going out there.
I am based in Spain. And there are plenty of options here:

1) Multimedia Engineering University Degree: Discarded. It's 4 years long and way too expensive... and don't feel like going back to University.

2) Bootcamps: this is an interesting option. However all those I could actually do required a certain coding level and previous formation. And, yes... really expensive (not less than 2000 euros at once).

3) Certificate of Higher Education (FP Superior in Spain): this is an official certification. There are several options within the technological branch. So I decided to go for the Web Applications Design. This can be both done in public schools or private. I chose private online education because I wanted to keep the flexibility of having a job if needed. These courses take about 2 years. But It can be done in less time.

4) Udemy: I am soooo in love of Udemy and particularly of Angela Yu. While I get my certification, I decided to complement my education with other sources. Particularly, focusing on JavaScript which is not deeply seen in the certification I am doing.

That said, If my background had been different, I would have gone for a bootcamp. But at least here, it is a huge money investment at once. Any experiences about these, leave your comments. Is it worth it? I am seriously considering doing one after getting the certification. But It will depend on the internship I manage to get.

What are your plans regarding this subject?

How will I retain all these concepts and functions?

Just practicing. There is no other way. My big problem is that I usually do not know where to start, or what to code. Just... coding without a purpose doesn't motivate me.
That is why I highly recommend going for FreeCodeCamp certifications. Besides the formation you previously receive, you must accomplish several challenges that force you to code with a purpose.
Also, getting a Udemy course that gives you challenges is always a good way to get your hands on the code.

How to keep motivated for studying on my own?

It might sound neurotic, but I really think that organization is the key to success. I am a huge fan of Trello and the Calendar AddOn.
It is so important to set realistic goals for each day. Make a plan and follow it as accurately as possible.
Getting up in the morning with a clear mission makes you be more efficient and productive.
Also, get involved in a challenge, and commit publicly. It will not only keep you motivated. But also will put you in touch with more people fighting the same battle.
Right now, I am on the #100DaysOfCode Challenge.

Do I need a mentor?

Maybe you do, but maybe it is difficult to find one. I have tremendous luck to have two stunning developer friends who support me.
A mentor is supposed to guide you in your studies, introduce you to certain contacts, make you known and maybe give you ideas about your projects.
However, what I need from a mentor is:

  • That encourages me to take bigger challenges.
  • Have nice debates about technologies
  • Emotional support for the frustration moments
  • Attend to conferences and speaks with somebody who explains me things I do not know yet

So, I guess that the mentor figure doesn't mean the same to all of us. In other areas this role is taken very seriously and almost like having a "godfather"... maybe just keep it simple. It is just somebody that helps you boost your confidence. And you will definitely need it along the process.

Shall I post everything I do?

Just feel free to share whenever you feel like to. Maybe you think that you have nothing new to offer. But you are probably wrong. At least sharing experiences or short tutorials, are always useful.

Shall I be on every social network?

Well, if they do not know that you exist, then your work will be known neither. I must recognize that I have an account in almost every important SN. However, my favorites are:

  • for sharing thoughts and tech articles.
  • Twitter: for almost everything related to what I do technologically, some opinions, interacting with people... -Linkedin: I do like it, but restricted to job stuff.

I am not keen on Facebook, honestly.

I also launched a humble and simple personal website. It will improve, but at least I have it. Which I thought it was a must for any developer.

So! Are you also a newbie? Were any of these lines useful for you in any way? What are your needs and thoughts?

If you are not a newbie, then maybe you have a mentor inside. Share your advice below for all of us that are just starting.

Thank you for reading!

Top comments (13)

eduardohitek profile image
Eduardo Hitek

Hi Nadine, great topic you've raised and I'm looking forward to see the opinions of the other devs.
Let's break it in some Categories:

1. Learning

Nowadays my go-for would be Udemy. There are a lot of options, based on your level and time available to expend on learning a new language or framework. Other option would be looking for Tutorials on Youtube, you will also find a great things there.

2.Keeping Motivated

It's a fact, you must put in practice what you learned, and IMHO the best way to this is working on some personal Project. Sometimes is hard to elaborate a good thing to work on, but take a day and evaluate your routine. What are the things you do everyday? What are the things that slow your day? What are the repetitives one? Even if there are any others solutions available that would solve your problem, you should develop your own. It couldn't be better or most robust, but it will be your solution and the application of all you knowledged.

3.Should you post everything?

I thing you do! Your blog could be your Recipes Book in which you saved everything you learned. You probably will reach it out in the future to remember how you solved a problem and will help others that are facing the same challenge.

I hope to have helped you!

nanythery profile image
Nadine M. Thêry

Hi Eduardo! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your advices.
Definitely, the blog thing is a great approach. I do have a blog, but I have absolutely no motivation to update it.
Maybe because I know that no one will read it. Also because it is WordPress and I know that eventually I will have to give it up to host it in my website.
Nonetheless, I feel so happy to share here in, that I will stick to it.
Maybe when I reach to host my blog in my web I will find the motivation.

mtallerico1 profile image
Mike Tallerico

Great Article Nadine! SO many good tips.

A couple things you touched on that has been good for me:

Being Organized

I cannot tell you how valuable scheduling time to learn, build projects, listen to a podcast etc. My learning immediately increased when I realized if I don't do SOMETHING almost everyday related to coding it wouldn't work. To really grasp some of these concepts it takes a lot of repetition and practice.

Practice, Practice, Practice

I took a 7 hour course from Will Sentence on Front End Masters called "Javascript The Hard Parts". In that course Will talked about the best ways to become really good not just at writing code but also your technical communication. He described that at some point the spoon fed method, your typical step by step led tutorials will eventually plateau your learning. Not anything wrong with those things. I made it this far on the Team Treehouse FullStack Tech Degree, Udemy and Front End Masters(Amazing! I highly recommend). He described what he called hard learning. Building things that challenge what you know. Solving problems without immediately jumping on StackOverflow. But also not spending so much time researching that you don't actually write any code. He said the best way to learn and challenge yourself is pair programming. Now I haven't found anyone to pair program with as I am still learning like you and also trying to find my first job as a developer. But I can see how pair programming would help in some ways. Also I spent an afternoon thinking of projects that would be fun or projects that would solve a problem for me. As a space geek(SpaceX, Blue Origins etc.) I realized I didnt have a good place to aggregate all the SpaceX Launch data so I decided to build my own using React and pulling from a open source SpaceX API. You can see the early beginnings at So just coming up with something to start writing code that is yours has been super valuable for me.

Anyway those are just my thoughts. Thanks again for the great article. It got my mind running.

nanythery profile image
Nadine M. Thêry

Hi Mike!
I am so happy that this lines were somehow useful for you!
I find your advice really interesting. You said in a previous comment to another post that you were thinking of writing more about your job. Any improvements so far? :)

What is pairing programming? Sounds interesting.

I will take a look at this course JavaScript the Hard Parts. Definitely I always try to avoid looking for pre-made solutions at first. Just like I did with the Simon Game. Besides, Stackoverflow is not always clear for a complete noob.
Thank you reading and sharing.

mtallerico1 profile image
Mike Tallerico

I am a little timid about writing something. Haha. And I am not sure what to write.

Pair programming is basically you have 2 people. One "Driver" and one "Navigator". The navigator has to clearly defined for the driver how they want to write the code. The driver has to interpret the instructions into code. The driver can't jump in and say maybe we should try this or that and the navigator can't jump in a say let me show you how to write that piece of code. Then every so often you switch. That the boiled down version. Im sure their is a better explanation but that is kind of how I understand it.

rvictorino profile image
Robin Victorino

Hi !

If you want to try being mentored on the code you produce while learning a language from the very beginning, I can only suggest

You start a language track, and go through multiples exercises, receiving feedback from experienced volunteer mentors each time!

The difficulty curve is quite well made, and makes you go through all important features of the language you're learning. They're not meant to make you face actual problems you could get while coding professionally on big code bases, but the mentoring side of it neat !

I'm myself a Java, JavaScript, Groovy, Scala and bash student as well as a Java mentor. Both sides are very rewarding. And it's completely free.

It's not an alternative to anything, but a great complementary help!

nanythery profile image
Nadine M. Thêry

It is a great suggestion. I will take a look at it. Thank you very much!

jamonjamon profile image
Jaimie Carter

Hey Nadine,
Make something. That's the best way to get from zero to moving. Build things. It's lots of fun and you'll find yourself somewhere unrelated and all you can think about is solving that one function.... Why won't that variable work there???? How am I going to get that data from there to there? It's awesome. Do something that has been done before. Do something new. Do something small, big, whatever. Just build something.

nanythery profile image
Nadine M. Thêry

Absolutely right. So far I am dealing with the challenges of the course I am doing at Udemy.
Probably because right now I don't want to face a project I wouldn't know where to start from. And of course not dealing with frustration so far. Hehe.
I have a note with "apps ideas" that will definitely be my starting point. But I first need to improve my personal website.
I think one of the most difficult parts of this, is that I have no clue about the design.

voidjuneau profile image
Juneau Lim

I can't say much since I am also a newbie,
but maybe one thing. have you tried Coding coach?
Their Slack channel is really active helpful even if you don't stick to one mentor.

devpato profile image

Awesome post!! very good job. I have posted some tips to help developers land a job

nancysellars profile image

I enjoyed reading your account and experiences of decision making and learning. It reminded me of myself. The very best to you. I know you will do very well. Nancy in Houston TX

nanythery profile image
Nadine M. Thêry

It is lovely to read this. Thanks a lot for the time spent in reading my posts and commenting. Have you also decided to change career?
How is it going so far?