April 8, 2022
How can you fast-track your code-learning journey? Follow these six surprising strategies:
In the age of the internet, a methodical and patient approach to learning can be quite the challenge. With access to instantly gratifying content at our fingertips, our attention spans are getting considerably shorter, making education shortcuts all the more appealing. With coding, it’s no different. But, unlike many disciplines, the methods that best accelerate learning might not seem quite as intuitive. How can you fast-track your code journey? Follow these six surprising strategies:
One of the quickest ways to learn is to create projects that you care about. When you feel inspired to create something, like an app, website, or game, your interest in completing it will propel your learning forward. Plus, in the end, you’ll have something to show off that you care about.
If you have difficulty learning coding principles but love the applications of coding, project-based learning will radically improve your coding journey. Creating challenging projects with code will provide a myriad of learning opportunities along the way, and picking up new concepts becomes a side-effect, instead of the primary objective. Take note, though, that for this method to work, you need to design projects that challenge you for this method to work. Easy projects are excellent for reviewing what you already know, but they won’t accelerate your learning
It’s much easier to learn with a support group. Having a partner or group to code along with is a priceless resource. Not only will they be able to hold you accountable, but you’ll also be able to help each other debug, solve problems, and brainstorm. Coding is a deeply collaborative field, making it especially important to spend time working with others.
Plus, when you become inspired to create projects, you'll have a few extra hands to help out. Likewise, you’ll gain insight and experience when your teammates have their own passion projects to work on! Group coding doesn’t just speed up your projects, it also allows you to work on a wide variety of projects and improve the velocity of your own projects’ creation.
It can be difficult to learn and retain abstract concepts like those in coding without a general understanding of technology hardware and infrastructure. Taking a step back and viewing the mechanics and behaviors of computers can make a huge difference in your understanding of writing apps, games, and websites.
If you were tasked with training a dog, it would be much easier to accomplish if you had an understanding of how they think and how their body works. Likewise, it’s easier to understand how to “train” a computer when you have a sense of its hardware and software, and how it all comes together to execute tasks.
The more involved you are in the coding community, the more help you’ll be able to find and the faster you can grow. Two great sites to start at are GitHub and Stack Overflow. Once you become involved in both of these communities, you’ll find nearly endless opportunities for inspiration, troubleshooting, and application of what you know to help others. Both Stack Overflow and GitHub can also get you connected with like-minded people, meaning you might get asked to join projects, make connections in the industry, and even maybe gain a mentor or two!
Spending just a bit of extra time on one of these or a similar platform can make a big difference in your coding journey.
If you’re interested in learning more about setting up a GitHub account, see How to Set Up an A+ GitHub Profile.
One of the best ways to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it. This strategy is not any different in coding languages. An excellent way to speed up learning is to modify your content feeds so that social media algorithms send you information about coding. On YouTube, seek out coding tutorials and follow their creators. On TikTok and other social media platforms, interact with content that makes coding fun or teaches you something you’re interested in. Before you know it, you’ll have tricked your algorithms into sending you educational content! When you flood your feed with coding, you’ll pick up little bits of knowledge even when you’re relaxing.
As you’re working through new coding challenges, you might be tempted to skip over vocabulary so that you can get right to the code. Though it may feel like skipping over terms will accelerate your learning, it will end up slowing you down in the long run. To get better at coding faster, learn the terminology well. When you understand the vocabulary of coding, you can isolate concepts and form a better mental model of your computer science knowledge!
Once you grasp the definitions of the concepts you’re practicing, you’ll be able to learn more from documentation and error messages. Instead of sources of confusion, these can become tools to improve your work! You’ll also be able to discuss your work with others, which will allow you to learn by teaching and discussion, which are indeed some of the best ways to solidify your knowledge.
Optimize your code-learning journey with Mastery Coding. From K-12th grade, we offer award-winning project-based courses that help students accelerate their understanding of computers and programming. Interested in learning more about our courses? Contact us to get started.
Olivia has background in behavioral ecology and data analysis. She develops and implements SEO, CRO, social media strategy, and authors multi-disciplinary content for our blog, & our social media sites. She's contributed to many of the STEM tie-ins within our curriculum, authored our SEL course, and is a specialist in neurodiverse learning strategies.