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What stands in the way of learning the things you really want to learn?

practicingdev profile image Practicing Developer ・1 min read

Being a software developer means being a life long learner, and the wish list of things to study and practice never gets shorter.

What are the specific things that stand in your way of learning the things you'd most like to learn?

Discussion

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I am married and a caregiver to my grandparents. My grandparents do not sleep for long and my husband has an erratic schedule. So I try to study when I can and learn using different methods such as podcasts, PDFs, and short videos. I am struggling with application after learning concepts.

 

Although the emotional context is different, for several years before my kids were in school I was with them most of the day and my time was stretched super thin as well.

What worked for me was to try to get really organized about designing my work and studies for interruption, never expecting more than 15-30 mins of focus at a time. I got in the habit of constantly writing notes as I worked, which helped me resume whenever I got pulled away.

I also worked really hard at tracking my daily routine and the typical patterns of the day. Any little opportunity to simplify or optimize some routine chore was time (and more importantly, energy) saved. It took a ton of trial and error, but any small quiet moments I could carve out were worth the effort.

All that said, what you are doing for your grandparents is so important and valuable, so... even if learning progress is slow it helps to remember that.

 

Thank you, Practicing Developer. I was frustrated that I was progressing slowly, yet as you pointed out taking care of my grandparents is important to me.

I will use that tip of expecting no more than 15-30 mins of study time and write notes to easily resume. I am typing notes currently but it is not sticking as well as I hoped. I already have my notebook and pen picked out.

Did you use anything specially like tools, methods, or apps to track your daily schedule?

For a while I was using a tool I had built myself for routine tracking, but I no longer use that. Instead, I use a combination of a large legal pad to take notes on paper and some checklists set up in Notion.

I pay attention to what seems to be working and what's not working and write notes by hand throughout the day, and when clear patterns emerge then I go and update my checklists in Notion.

One way to think about this which helped me was that I was trying to design a system of working and living that fit for my situation, rather than holding myself up to some external idea of what the ideal schedule would look like.

So rather than feeling totally frustrated that things weren't the way I wish they could be, I got interested in seeing how I could make little bits of progress here and there and optimize whatever I could.

Thank you for that information!!

 

Lack of willpower, time, motivation.

I started studying programming and computer science in High School because I wanted to become a game developer. Never done that.

I recently got my degree and moved to another city to work as an embedded developer, but guess what, I don't really like this job.

But after 8h in the office, sitting in front of a screen, banging my head on the desk, I really don't want to come home and sit again in front of a computer. I want to work out, I want to cook, to bake bread.

And because of that I cannot really leave my job, I'm too afraid of interviews as there is nothing I'm actually good at (well, my sourdough bread and my pastries are quite good...) and I do not have the will to study.

About developing games... I'd love to work as a game dev. I read books about frameworks, try out engines, listen podcasts about game design. Problem is that there isn't really a market for it in Italy and I don't have the creativity to create something myself, but to find work or even just an internship you need to prove that you can publish something.

Sorry for the depressing answer :P

 

I understand the feeling. Sometimes it's easier to start with trying to improve the state of things during the work day, rather than burning energy you don't have at home.

To that end, this other article I wrote may help some:
dev.to/practicingdev/a-dozen-ways-...

 

It's not a depressing answer, it's an honest one!

It' a two sided coin working in software development. On the one hand you get buzzed about learning a new skillset. This is always a great feeling, especially when it lands you a new job or pay rise. On the other hand, things can quickly become outdated if you stay doing one thing for a long period. People have lives and nobody wants to do more work after they have finished their day shift, especially if their brains aren't in it. That's not fun nor productive.

After being in my first job for a while and knowing my tasks inside out, I was completely thrown back when the time came to started interviewing again. Dedicating a 10-15 hours a week for a month or two on micro projects, the fun came back into coding which I probably had lost in the monotony of the day job. Interviews were much less intimidating at this point plus I wanted to talk about what I had made. These were just tiny projects, glorified CodePen demo's but it was enough to put myself down the path of learning something new.

As someone else has said, don't judge your learning by the rate that others learn. Do what you can when you can and more importantly, enjoy it.

 

Time, My job takes 8,5 hours daily and there is another 3 hours daily travelling to my job, because of the sedetary lifistyle there is another 1,5 hour gym session(travelling to the gym included) and I count additional 2 hours for daily rutine, additional 1 hour of "free time" which contains a call with my girlfriend and some reading dev news, so if I am learning something new, it takes time from my sleep, so it used to happen that I sleep 5 hours only. A lot of times I am just to tired for it.

 

Ah yeah, we definitely could all use more hours in the day.

Some ideas for things that may help:

  • Trying to sleep more, even at the cost of other important things. Efficiency of learning tanks without enough sleep, as does work performance, and also the effectiveness of workout routines, etc. Maybe 8 hours isn't possible for you, but I bet with 6.5 hrs vs. 5 you would feel better and get more done even if it means arranging things differently.

  • Long commutes by car might be used for learning time via podcasts/audio books, on a bus you could also read text / deal with various chores, and on a train you could potentially do any sort of work you wanted. Not sure if you're already trying to make use of your commute as best as you can, but worth looking at.

  • For exercise, it's worth either looking at stuff you can do outside of a gym so that cuts out travel time, or looking for a gym very close to home or work.

  • Depending on your work situation you may be able to carve out time in your schedule for learning, even if it is a small slice. For example, 30 mins per day or a block of a couple hours once per week for learning is totally reasonable to ask for, if not a lot more.

  • If your workplace is open to it, working from home one or two days per week would reclaim your commute time for those days.

  • It is almost always possible to optimize your daily routine to free up some time, even if you adjust it one tiny part at a time.

  • In the worst case, there are always the weekends. Although I did a lot of it in the past I am not a big fan of weekend studying and practice for code related things, but in times where I was really tight on time, a very focused amount of effort 2 hrs per week on weekends still yielded pretty good results.

To sum it up, if your biggest blocker to learning what you want is currently time, focus your efforts on freeing up time and increasing the quality of how you are using that time and things should get better eventually.

 
 

Estoy en la etapa de principiante en el aprendizaje de la programación, pero sufro de alto desinterés cuando me doy cuenta que es demasiado difícil. Pero no me eh rendido, aquí estoy leyendo introducciones y practicando HTML, Python, y Javascript.

 

Siii! Una vez que tienes el problema que quieres resolver, las solucionas vendrán. Sabras lo que hay que buscar. Aprendes de las preguntas que debes estar preguntando, y las tecnologias que quizas elegirás.

Ojo: Si tienes algún problema, el resto del mundo tambien tiene este problema y puedes ser la persona que lo resuelve.

 

Tienes que tener una meta. Una solucion concreta para un problema que tienes.

 

Si! Y puedes cambiar problemas grandes en problemas pequeñas.

Sorry for my bad Spanish, in English: "You can change big problems into small problems."

Don't try to solve hard problems all at once. Find one tiny piece of it that is less difficult, make some progress, repeat.

Ask others for help when you can't find a way to break things down, as that takes practice too.

 

I've wanted to learn Python for a looong time now but I keep getting sucked into having to use C++ constantly so I never have the time for python.

 

Is there an opportunity to make a clear case for Python in some work project of yours? If so, it certainly is easier when current or future work projects are aligned with your learning goals.

Even if it isn't though, could you find a way to carve out 30 mins either at work or outside of work 3 times a week? I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but it can add up if you are super disciplined about how you practice.

(It works out to about two full work weeks of invested time within a year, which probably is enough to get to a level of basic competency given that you already know how to code)

 

Yea, thing is I'm primarily into game design which python isn't really the best for from what I've heard so I've always had a batter language than it to use for the projects I do

Got it, that makes it challenging.

I wonder if there is some space out on the margins where you could still find a real use case that would benefit from Python in your daily work, even if it's for automating some repetitive chores. It's also a good web development language so if there's some way of introducing a web project into the mix that might help too, but then again maybe not.

What got you interested in learning Python? If you already knew it well, what would you be using it for?

I'll tell ya one thing, World of Tanks is actually written in python on top of a C engine so that's something I could try... I really am interested because it's a highly popular language that's easy to use

Ah, yeah! I know that a lot of games use Lua for the higher level scripting / embedded language but I am sure Python can be used similarly and there's a strong case for getting out of C++ once you beyond the engine level anyway.

Anyway, good luck finding creative ways to build your Python skills!

Not sure if you've seen Learn Python the Hard Way, but it could be a neat way of doing some small exercises that only take a few minutes per day:

learnpythonthehardway.org/python3/

Nice, I'll definitely consider that.

 
 

I would learn all the languages out there if I could, but school takes such a big chunk of time out of my life!!!

 

Do you get holiday and summer breaks from school?

If so, a few hours per week over the summer would go a long way towards picking up something new.

If not, you already have a full time job of learning and school is temporary, so just wait a few years and you will find time soon enough!