April 22, 2021

Social Emotional Learning: Coders Need SEL too!

Discover six crucial social and emotional skills you need to develop to become the best coder you can be!

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Becoming an excellent coder requires more than just knowing a language and a bit of logic. If you want to grow, improve your skills, and be prepared to take on more complex projects, it's crucial to understand and take care of your emotional wellbeing.

Social and emotional knowledge is vital for every career, and the tech field is no exception.

Discover six crucial social and emotional skills you need to develop to become the best coder you can be!

Managing Frustrations

Student in library with laptop

Coding isn't always a walk in the park. It can be frustrating at times, especially when you've been laboring over a pesky bug to no avail. Learn to process and accept that frustration early, as it's much easier to solve problems when approaching them in a calm and rational state!

If you've started to code, likely, you're already familiar with code-based frustration. It can feel impossible at times; you may even feel the urge to fight your computer after hours of debugging! Learn to accept frustration as part of the process and, when you do feel tilted, take a break to take care of yourself. Don't tamp down your emotions. Learn to take care of them!


Brainstorming session with sticky notes

In your coding journey, you'll often be working with others. Most college programs have group projects, and for a good reason! Companies usually have at least a few coders working as a team on the same tasks.

It's essential to learn how to work well with others and learn how to code so that others can understand.

For any team to succeed, communication is critical. If you find yourself dreading group projects, take some time to ask yourself why. Dealing with those feelings right away will make your future as a coder much easier.

Acknowledging Mistakes

Computer screen

As a programmer or coder, it's crucial to be self-aware about errors. Especially when you're starting, you won't be perfect at writing code. To improve and become the best coder you can be, you must identify and acknowledge your weaknesses and mistakes.

Only when you accept that you aren't perfect can you critically look at your own code to improve it. Coding is a broad and complex field. The best coders don't write perfect code; instead, they code well and debug excellently.

Accepting Feedback

Brainstorming session with laptops and whiteboard

Sometimes, despite hours spent personally editing your code, another team member will suggest changes. It can be hard to accept this feedback. You may think that those hundred or so lines are flawless! In any group project, it's vital to be able to accept suggestions with humility.

No matter which teams you find yourself on in the future, it's likely that your fellow team members will know a thing or two that you're not a master at. If you're unsure who's correct between the two of you, ask for additional feedback from your team - insight from other coders is priceless! If you're stuck on something, actively seek out feedback from others, your teammates will be an excellent resource for advice.

Scheduling & Time Management

Day planner on the floor

Due dates don't end after college. Whether your scheduling is waterfall or lean, you'll have to finish your tasks promptly in coding jobs. You must know how to manage your time and set and stick to reasonable goals and milestones.

Start practicing this skill as soon as possible. Next time you have a big project to work on, set time aside every day to work at it a little and set goals along the way. Before you know it, you'll be comfortable with - and not stressed about - completing large, long-term tasks.

Establishing a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Two women smiling in front of a white wall

Most importantly, you must take care of yourself. It's essential to take breaks, especially when you've been working at something past your work hours. To be the best coder you can be, you must practice a healthy lifestyle and mindset.

If you're sacrificing sleep, meals, or precious free time to chip away at bug fixes and hack your way through the lines of a program, you'll likely be confronted with the dreaded feeling of burnout. Instead of letting your work consume you, pace yourself and pay attention to your emotions. When both your mind and body are happy and healthy, you'll find that your ability to code will drastically increase. Take care of yourself - this is your reminder to drink some water!

Interested in learning more about Social-Emotional Learning? 


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.

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