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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard!

 Today I stumbled upon an interesting chart while browsing through Quora posts.
This brought me to the following page that seems to be the originating post with the full story behind this.

It is talking about the stages of a programmer's learning journey to when he becomes industry-ready and lands himself a job.The confidence versus actual competency charted into a curve.

In the course of the article, I was introduced to 2 more graphs which represented the scarcity of resources available online, and the scope of knowledge that needs to be acquired at the various learning stages.

Finally, the the completed graph (which is all 3 graphs combined) looks something like this:

Something in the article resonated with me. I have found myself to be in a learning situation for a quite a few things in my careers (CG, VFX, scripting/coding, composing, audio engineering). I see a similar pattern in my learning processes for all the skill-sets I have been trying to develop. I keep a composing / audio engineering blog as a document of my learning journey. Read about my musical journey here: http://journeyintomusic.blogspot.sg/

Having grew up from an age where information was not as freely available as it is today, I understand the stages and struggles of learning even more. When dial-up bulletin board services was the only way to send e-mails, the only way to get information is to sign up for a course in a physical school and to purchase books, I feel it even more.

One of the things that I fully agree in the article is when the author Erik Trautman talks about a huge part of the learning process is finding out what you do not know, and knowing the right questions to ask.

To this end, when I teach and mentor students, I always encourage them to pick up and learn the correct terms. With that, they will be able to:
- communicate properly and professionally in the workplace (with supervisors / teammates),
- ask their questions correctly (so people try to answer can know what the question is),
- find relevant answers in their Google searches with the correct keywords,
- and navigate documentations and help files effectively

To be able to explain, describe and articulate your processes and problems is also invaluable in all situations:
- during interviews, when asked about our workflow, techniques, methodologies
- when we are presenting, explaining our work to supervisors, clients, collaborators
- when we are asking questions over the forums

It is great to be aware of which stages we are in the journey, and to know what we require most at each stage. Only then we can understand our situation in context, and find the answers that we need from the appropriate resources we have.

Never back down, never give up!