Back at it

I recently had some great conversations with people related to the learning and different ways in which we acquire new knowledge/skills. A friend also sent me this great post on passion and the learning process: hacking passion. I have been thinking a lot about my own progress and how I’ve been teaching myself.

In my experience with learning web development, I often forget the steps of practice, repetition, drills. I find myself wanting to practice by trying to think of the next big app or some other novel idea that few people have tried. I seem to hold myself up waiting for this new inspiration, when in reality there is so much I could be doing to grow and to practice my skills.

A large part of my recent push has been to focus on coding challenges and really drill on coding concepts and solving problems. I have been working on a different challenge on exercism.io over the past few days. I am also planning to go back to my previous resource for exercises of this sort: Project Euler Challenges. The thing with these types of challenges is that generally I can conceptualize the logic that I’m going to code, and with that added effort, I usually have confidence in my ability to do it. It is a challenge, but something I can see to fruition in relatively fast time frame which builds comfort and confidence.

Another aspect of my learning progress is to work on developing apps. I want to keep working more and more on my familiarity with Rails and expand that knowledge as I explore other frameworks and tools. Rather than stop myself from developing because I think I need a very elaborate or original app, I’m making it a point to make more, smaller apps. This way I can repeat some of the confidence and comfort of doing drills and keep building from there. Plus, it might not be a wild idea to make a calculator app for example, but right now I don’t know what I don’t know with many things.

Finally, I’m catching up on my collection of books that I have neglected. I’m currently finishing up Sandi Metz’s Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby, but I’m going back to The Well-Grounded Rubyist. While some of the concepts in the latter might have been things I’ve seen multiple times, keeping my mind focused and thinking in those terms will always help me in the long run. I want to include more thoughts on what I’m reading at a later point, I have a little library of books to read that has been building up!

During the process, I have gotten caught up with “making it”. I’ll sometimes get that feeling that by accomplishing some great, new application or by landing a developer role I’ll feel like I have achieved my dreams. In reality, it is the desire to learn and that feeling of acquiring new knowledge that drives me. I love all that I’ve been exposed to, I love that I’ve been able to comprehend these concepts and apply them in a constructive way. None of that would be possible without studying, practice, and work.

Written on September 21, 2015