Learning to Code Mistake #2: Asking the Internet for Help
Asking the Internet for Help
The second mistake aspiring developers make when learning to code online is looking for help in the wrong places.
Most online courses throw you to user forums when you need help. The teacher has no time to visit the forum, so most questions go unanswered, or worse, another confused student steers your in the wrong direction.
The next thing you do is Google your question.
But as a beginner you have a hard time even phrasing your question correctly. Even if you’ve learned the syntax and logic of a coding language, you may still stumble over the terminology.
“Why is the output from my variable not showing what I expect?” won’t get you many useful answers on any search engine. Instead using the term “variable scope rules” will find you exactly what you’re looking for.
But how would you know that before you know it?
The last attempt you make is posting a question on Stack Overflow.
Stack Overlfow is the largest community of developers on the web. It is a decade-old question and answer site that covers every programming language under the sun.
Stack Overflow is legendary for helping millions of people find quick answers to coding problems.
But the site is also notorious for being hostile to beginners. If you ask a question that’s vague or reveals that you’re a novice, senior members of the community may ravage you with sarcasm before answering your question.
This year Stack Overflow released an updated Code of Conduct with the new rule, “Be Nice”. Even if the community follows that directive the site still won’t be a great place for a new developer like you to get questions answered. Here’s why.
When you’re first starting to learn to code, you need immediate feedback on your progress.
And you need feedback from a discerning human being. That’s because your problems and stuck points could have five possible solutions.
1. You’re not doing anything wrong. Your problem is a known bug or quirk in the language or tool. You just need to find a workaround.
2. Your thinking about the problem the wrong way. You need more teaching to get a better grip on the underlying concepts.
3. You’re very close to getting the right answer. Just keep experimenting until you get it right.
4. You’re spending too much time on an inconsequential problem. Make a “good enough” solution and move on.
5. Your problem isn’t technical, it’s psychological. You need more confidence, or focus, or something else.
Again, you need a conversation with a human to receive a wise answer like the five above.
You need a coding mentor
The mistake most beginners make when learning to code online is not using mentors.
A great mentor doesn’t need to be an expert at programming. They just need to be patient enough to hear your “junior” problems and discerning enough to give you an answer that keeps your progress going.
At Coder Foundry we’ve solved this problem for you by including 1-on-1 mentors with our program. When you need an answer you’ll be able to receive immediate help from a professional.
No more posting on empty forums, Googling for hours, or hunting for help on Stack Overflow.
If you are interested in learning to code online, and receiving help from mentors, request our syllabus.