Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The secret to all success

Learn to front-load your pain.

That's it.

If you procrastinate, you're putting off more than your work. You're putting off the pain. Right?

But doesn't it always catch up to you?
source: https://www.reddit.com/r/getdisciplined/comments/4xwrut/advice_this_is_the_real_secret_to_successa/


What you have to do is front-load all those yucky crappy feelings. Go ahead and feel it now so you don't have to feel it later. And guess what? If you put it off, it gets amplified. Right now you're dreading doing your homework or writing an article or w/e, but what if you don't do it? And worse, what if you put that stuff off consistently?

That thing you feel crappy about? That thing you're dreading? That is exactly the thing you need to do in order to improve your life.

It's a sign post.

Instead of dreading it, go ahead and embrace it. Embrace the yucky feeling and all. If you can do this for three weeks consistently, you will change your life forever.

If you embrace all that yucky stuff with gusto, your brain will take notice. Your brain is not static. it changes depending on what you focus on. The circuitry in your brain literally changes over time.

Finally, think of your actions as alchemy. You are taking time and adding energy to it to create a result. If you take action haphazardly, you will have a meh kind of life.

You know you're going to end up feeling like shit if you procrastinate anyway, so go ahead and do the thing you're afraid to do. If you're going to feel bad either way, you might as well take the action that will improve your life.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Unquote

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

–Galileo Galilei

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.

—Poster Slogan

Man—despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments—owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.

—Unknown

The only moral lesson which is suited for a child–the most important lesson for every time of life–is this: ‘Never hurt anybody.’

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

How others treat me is their path; how I react is mine.

–Dr. Wayne Dyer

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.

–Booker T. Washington

I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to.

—Unknown

Hate is like drinking poison, hoping the other person will die.

–Rev. Marvin Wiley

Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.

–Esther Lederer

She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called ‘leaves’) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.

–Carl Sagan

Bookmark? You mean quitter strip?

—Unknown

They condemn what they do not understand.

–Cicero

The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.

–Oscar Wilde

=CHANGE

It is not the strongest of the species that survive nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

–Charles Darwin

A bend in the road, is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the turn.

–Helen Keller

I cannot say whether things will get better if they change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.

–Georg C. Lichtenberg
=CHARACTER 
Character matters. Researches concerned with academic-achievement gaps have begun to study, with increasing interest and enthusiasm, a set of personal qualities—often referred to as noncognitive skills, or character strengths—that include resilience, conscientiousness, optimism, self-control, and grit. These capacities generally aren’t captured by our ubiquitous standardized tests, but they seem to make a big difference in the academic success of children, especially low-income children.
—Paul Tough
In Japanese schools, the students don’t take any exams until they reach grade four (the age of 10). They just take small tests. It is believed that the goal for the first 3 years of school is not to judge the child’s knowledge or learning, but to establish good manners and to develop their character. Children are taught to respect other people and to be gentle to animals and nature. They also learn how to be generous, compassionate, and empathetic. Besides this, the kids are taught qualities like grit, self-control, and justice.
novakdjokovicfoundation.org
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
—Malcolm S. Forbes
The 12 Principles of Character: (1) honesty, (2) understanding, (3) compassion and empathy, (4) appreciation, (5) patience, (6) discipline, (7) fortitude, (8) perseverance, (9) humor, (10) humility, (11) generosity, (12) respect.
–Kathryn B. Johnson
Get to know two things about a man—how he earns his money and how he spends it —and you have the clue to his character, for you have a searchlight that shows up the inmost recesses of his soul. You know all you need to know about his standards, his motives, his driving desires, his real religion.
–Robert James McCracken
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
–Martin Luther King, Jr.
The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out.
–Thomas Babington Macaulay
=CHILDREN
Children are the messages we send to a future we will not see.
–Neil Postman
At some point in your life your parents put you down and never picked you up again.
—Unknown
When a child gives you a gift, even if it is a rock they just picked up, exude gratitude. It might be the only thing they have to give, and they have chosen to give it to you.
—Dean Jackson
Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination.
—Albert Einstein
It is as unforgivable to let a student graduate without knowing how to use a computer as it was in the past to let him graduate without knowing how to use a library.
–John Kennedy
I have a spelling checker, It came with my PC.
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I cannot sea.
I’ve run this poem write through it,
I’m shore your pleas too no
It’s letter perfect in it’s weigh,
My checker tolled me sew!
New York Times

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Unquote


"He who opens a school, closes a prison" - Victor Hugo


“Watch carefully the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves." - Atticus Finch



“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.” ~Navajo expression

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Iqrar ul Hasan ki Doosri Shadi Per Aitaraz Kyun

Sex Drive: How Do Men and Women Compare?

Experts say men score higher in libido, while women's sex drive is more "fluid."

By Richard Sine
FROM THE WEBMD ARCHIVES

Birds do it, bees do it, and men do it any old time. But women will only do it if the candles are scented just right -- and their partner has done the dishes first. A stereotype, sure, but is it true? Do men really have stronger sex drives than women?

Well, yes, they do. Study after study shows that men's sex drives are not only stronger than women's, but much more straightforward. The sources of women's libidos, by contrast, are much harder to pin down.

It's common wisdom that women place more value on emotional connection as a spark of sexual desire. But women also appear to be heavily influenced by social and cultural factors as well.

"Sexual desire in women is extremely sensitive to environment and context," says Edward O. Laumann, PhD. He is a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and lead author of a major survey of sexual practices, The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States.

Here are seven patterns of men's and women's sex drives that researchers have found. Bear in mind that people may vary from these norms.

1. Men think more about sex.
The majority of adult men under 60 think about sex at least once a day, reports Laumann. Only about one-quarter of women say they think about it that frequently. As men and women age, each fantasize less, but men still fantasize about twice as often.

In a survey of studies comparing male and female sex drives, Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University, found that men reported more spontaneous sexual arousal and had more frequent and varied fantasies.

2. Men seek sex more avidly.
"Men want sex more often than women at the start of a relationship, in the middle of it, and after many years of it," Baumeister concludes after reviewing several surveys of men and women. This isn't just true of heterosexuals, he says; gay men also have sex more often than lesbians at all stages of the relationship. Men also say they want more sex partners in their lifetime, and are more interested in casual sex.

Men are more likely to seek sex even when it's frowned upon or even outlawed:

About two-thirds say they masturbate, even though about half also say they feel guilty about it, Laumann says. By contrast, about 40% of women say they masturbate, and the frequency of masturbation is smaller among women.
Prostitution is still mostly a phenomenon of men seeking sex with women, rather than the other way around.
Nuns do a better job of fulfilling their vows of chastity than priests. Baumeister cites a survey of several hundred clergy in which 62% of priests admitted to sexual activity, compared to 49% of nuns. The men reported more partners on average than the women.
3. Women's sexual turn-ons are more complicated than men's.
What turns women on? Not even women always seem to know. Northwestern University researcher Meredith Chivers and colleagues showed erotic films to gay and straight men and women. They asked them about their level of sexual arousal, and also measured their actual level of arousal through devices attached to their genitals.

For men, the results were predictable: Straight men said they were more turned on by depictions of male-female sex and female-female sex, and the measuring devices backed up their claims. Gay men said they were turned on by male-male sex, and again the devices backed them up. For women, the results were more surprising. Straight women, for example, said they were more turned on by male-female sex. But genitally they showed about the same reaction to male-female, male-male, and female-female sex.

"Men are very rigid and specific about who they become aroused by, who they want to have sex with, who they fall in love with," says J. Michael Bailey. He is a Northwestern University sex researcher and co-author with Chivers on the study.

By contrast, women may be more open to same-sex relationships thanks to their less-directed sex drives, Bailey says. "Women probably have the capacity to become sexually interested in and fall in love with their own sex more than men do," Bailey says. "They won't necessarily do it, but they have the capacity."

Bailey's idea is backed up by studies showing that homosexuality is a more fluid state among women than men. In another broad review of studies, Baumeister found many more lesbians reported recent sex with men, when compared to gay men's reports of sex with women. Women were also more likely than men to call themselves bisexual, and to report their sexual orientation as a matter of choice.

4. Women's sex drives are more influenced by social and cultural factors.
In his review, Baumeister found studies showing many ways in which women's sexual attitudes, practices, and desires were more influenced by their environment than men:

Women's attitudes toward (and willingness to perform) various sexual practices are more likely than men's to change over time.
Women who regularly attend church are less likely to have permissive attitudes about sex. Men do not show this connection between church attendance and sex attitudes.
Women are more influenced by the attitudes of their peer group in their decisions about sex.
Women with higher education levels were more likely to have performed a wider variety of sexual practices (such as oral sex); education made less of a difference with men.
Women were more likely than men to show inconsistency between their expressed values about sexual activities such as premarital sex and their actual behavior.
Why are women's sex drives seemingly weaker and more vulnerable to influence? Some have theorized it's related to the greater power of men in society, or differing sexual expectations of men when compared to women. Laumann prefers an explanation more closely tied to the world of sociobiology.

Men have every incentive to have sex to pass along their genetic material, Laumann says. By contrast, women may be hard-wired to choose their partners carefully, because they are the ones who can get pregnant and wind up taking care of the baby. They are likely to be more attuned to relationship quality because they want a partner who will stay around to help take care of the child. They're also more likely to choose a man with resources because of his greater ability to support a child.

5. Women take a less direct route to sexual satisfaction.
Men and women travel slightly different paths to arrive at sexual desire. "I hear women say in my office that desire originates much more between the ears than between the legs," says Esther Perel, a New York City psychotherapist. "For women there is a need for a plot -- hence the romance novel. It is more about the anticipation, how you get there; it is the longing that is the fuel for desire," Perel says.

Women's desire "is more contextual, more subjective, more layered on a lattice of emotion," Perel adds. Men, by contrast, don't need to have nearly as much imagination, Perel says, since sex is simpler and more straightforward for them.

That doesn't mean men don't seek intimacy, love, and connection in a relationship, just as women do. They just view the role of sex differently. "Women want to talk first, connect first, then have sex," Perel explains. "For men, sex is the connection. Sex is the language men use to express their tender loving vulnerable side," Perel says. "It is their language of intimacy."

6. Women experience orgasms differently than men.
Men, on average, take 4 minutes from the point of entry until ejaculation, according to Laumann. Women usually take around 10 to 11 minutes to reach orgasm -- if they do.

That's another difference between the sexes: how often they have an orgasm during sex. Among men who are part of a couple, 75% say they always have an orgasm, as opposed to 26% of the women. And not only is there a difference in reality, there's one in perception, too. While the men's female partners reported their rate of orgasm accurately, the women's male partners said they believed their female partners had orgasms 45% of the time.

7. Women's libidos seem to be less responsive to drugs.
With men's sex drives seemingly more directly tied to biology when compared to women, it may be no surprise that low desire may be more easily treated through medication in men. Men have embraced drugs as a cure not only for erectile dysfunction but also for a shrinking libido. With women, though, the search for a drug to boost sex drive has proved more elusive.

Testosterone has been linked to sex drive in both men and women. But testosterone works much faster in men with low libidos than women, says Glenn Braunstein, MD. He is past-chair of the department of medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and a leading researcher on testosterone treatments in women. While the treatments are effective, they're not as effective in women as in men. "There is a hormonal factor in [sex drive], but it is much more important in men than women," Braunstein says.

A testosterone patch for women called Intrinsa has been approved in Europe but was rejected by the FDA due to concerns about long-term safety. But the drug has sparked a backlash from some medical and psychiatric professionals who question whether low sex drive in women should even be considered a condition best treated with drugs. They point to the results of a large survey in which about 40% of women reported some sort of sexual problem -- most commonly low sexual desire -- but only 12% said they felt distressed about it. With all the factors that go into the stew that piques sexual desire in women, some doctors say a drug should be the last ingredient to consider, rather than the first.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard



From: http://www.vikingcodeschool.com/posts/why-learning-to-code-is-so-damn-hard






Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard




What every beginner absolutely needs to know about the journey ahead


Erik Trautman wrote this on Feb 4, 2015 | 170 Comments




Quincy Larson was just a "guy in a suit in an office" and decided he wanted to learn how to code. So he asked around. He started by picking up a bit of Ruby then found himself skimming through other languages like Scala, Clojure and Go. He learned Emacs then Vim and even the Dvorak keyboard layout. He picked up Linux, dabbled in Lisp and coded in Python while living on the command line for more than half a year.


Like a leaf in a tornado, the advice Quincy received jerked him first one way and then another and then another until he'd finally taken "every online course program imaginable". By the end of it all, despite having ultimately landed a software development job, Quincy:


... was convinced that the seemingly normal programmers I ran into were actually sociopaths who had experienced, then repressed, the trauma of learning to code.


Ouch. Does that sound familiar?
Phase I: The Hand-Holding Honeymoon


It's really hard to blame anyone for coming into the programming industry with outrageous expectations.


On the one hand, you've heard rumors of how difficult programming is since you were young, like old wives tales meant to scare children into studying social sciences instead.


On the other, the "Learn to Code" movement has done a fantastic job of breaking down barriers and showing people that code is actually quite harmless. Tools like Codecademy and Treehouseand Code School reach out with the gentlest of touches to assure you that you too (nay, anyone!) can not just learn to code but become a full-fledged developer as well.


Suddenly the problem isn't fear, it's an overabundance of hopes and high expectations.


And, for the most part, these introductory tools do a great job of guiding you like a child in a crosswalk past the big scary variables and conditional statements and through the early phases of programming syntax. As you conquer one after another of their gamified challenges, your confidence rises. Maybe you can do this after all! How hard can it be? You're basically a developer already!




The Hand-Holding Honeymoon





Here's the problem -- you're in what I like to call the "Hand Holding Honeymoon" phase. Though you may feel like the end is around the corner, you're only a fraction of the way there. This is just the beginning...
Charting The Path Ahead


Before we dive into Phase II, let's look at the bigger picture.


In this post, I'll walk you through the four phases of the typical journey into coding and what you'll need to do to survive each of them. You'll also see how two key factors -- the density of resources and scope of required knowledge -- define this journey.


The trek towards job-readiness can be plotted in terms of how your confidence level changes as your capability increases:




The Learn-to-Code Journey -- Click to Enlarge





This is a relevant relationship because your confidence is highly correlated with your happiness and because the point where your confidence and capabilities match is the best proxy I have for the sweet spot when you're officially "job ready".


We'll look into the unique challenges of the remaining 3 phases in a moment, but this is what each of them essentially involves:
The Hand Holding Honeymoon is the joy-filled romp through highly polished resources teaching you things that seem tricky but are totally do-able with their intensive support. You will primarily learn basic syntax but feel great about your accomplishments.
The Cliff of Confusion is the painful realization that it's a lot harder when the hand-holding ends and it feels like you can't actually do anything on your own yet. Your primary challenges are constant debugging and not quite knowing how to ask the right questions as you fight your way towards any kind of momentum.
The Desert of Despair is the long and lonely journey through a pathless landscape where every new direction seems correct but you're frequently going in circles and you're starving for the resources to get you through it. Beware the "Mirages of Mania", like sirens of the desert, which will lead you astray.
The Upswing of Awesome is when you've finally found a path through the desert and pulled together an understanding of how to build applications. But your code is still siloed and brittle like a house of cards. You gain confidence because your sites appear to run, you've mastered a few useful patterns, and your friends think your interfaces are cool but you're terrified to look under the hood and you ultimately don't know how to get to "production ready" code. How do you bridge the gap to a real job?


I've interviewed hundreds of aspiring developers over the past several years and heard echoes of the same story again and again. My goal for this post is that you approach the learner's journey with both eyes open and enough of a plan that you can avoid the common pitfalls of those who have come before you.


Let's get back into Phase II...
Phase II: The Cliff of Confusion


So, you're in Phase I -- the "Hand-Holding Honeymoon" -- checking off badges and completing coding challenges while your confidence and capabilities grow. This isn't so bad... what's all the fuss about? You've arrived at the "Peak of Irrational Exuberance"...


Be careful! You’re about to overstep a precipice that’s broken many strong aspiring learners and relegated them to the “coding is too hard” camp. The precise moment this leap occurs is the first time you sit down at your keyboard, open up your text editor, and try to build a project from scratch without any of the fancy in-browser editors, scaffolded code or helpful hints.


Crap.


You might stretch this out a bit by following tutorials, but no one has ever reached the skies without leaving the ground, and, at some point, you're going to have to create magic from a blank text file. You've just entered the second phase of learning, where confidence comes crashing down to earth -- the "Cliff of Confusion":




The Cliff of Confusion





So you build. You fight and scratch your way to a barely-functional solution but there's something missing. You're at a war with bugs that makes Starship Troopers look benign. It feels like each victory was gained only by a stroke of lucky Googling and your confidence that you can ever figure this stuff out plummets.




Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuug!!!





This is a particularly frustrating phase to see as an educator and to all participants in our industry. Programming may not be perfect for everyone, but we want you to make progress because sometimes the unlikeliest of stories become the grandest successes.


When the hand-holding ends and students are pushed off the cliff and told to fly, too many potentially awesome people are spiraling onto the rocks of frustration without learning how to flap their wings.


The scary part is that you haven't even gotten to the meaty stuff yet. This second phase, the Cliff of Confusion, is still very early. Once you've finally squashed enough bugs to end the eighth plague of Egypt and actually finished a couple of projects -- thus marking the end of Phase II -- you're still just getting started.


For those who are truly ready to make a career out of this, surviving the Cliff of Confusion is often the point where you decide to go all-in with your new life. But too many are left behind. And, unfortunately, you're just about to enter the "Desert of Despair".
The Two Key Factors at Play


So what really marks the difference between one phase and the next? Why was Phase II (the Cliff of Confusion) so awful compared to Phase I (the Hand-Holding Honeymoon)? Understanding this will help you realize that it's not your fault at all if your journey looks like what we've just described.


Basically, there are two key forces at work in every phase -- Resource Density and Scope of Knowledge. Let's see what these are before exploring how they define Phase III.
Factor 1: Resource Density


As I said above, when you first start out, it feels like there are a million resources out there trying to hold your hand and pull you into coding. That's because there are!


Search for "Learn to Code" and you'll be hit with a wall of helpful and useful tools, texts, videos and tutorials. And, frankly, they're great! Never before have there been so many ways to start learning to code.





Unfortunately, in later phases the density of resources drops off fast. Anyone who's made the jump from beginner to intermediate can attest that there is a BIG difference between the amount of resources available when you first start out versus when you're first looking for help building things on your own without too much hand-holding.


This problem exacerbates as the amount of knowledge increases rapidly entering Phase III, and is one reason why we call that phase the "Desert of Despair". Once you get past this and start to become comfortable with what exactly you need to search for, the resources return and you're able to work with more technical tools like industry blogs and screencasts. Part of this is just understanding which questions to ask.


Here's what the Resource Density looks like in each phase (greater line density indicates more resources):




Density of Resources in Each Phase -- Click to Enlarge



Factor 2: Scope of Knowledge


Now let's talk about a related issue -- the Scope of Knowledge. This represents the total breadth of new topics you need to learn in each phase. Here's what it looks like:




The Scope of Knowledge that's Required in Each Phase -- Click to Enlarge





When you first start learning, the set of things you need to understand is narrow. Everyone, regardless of goals or language or background, needs to figure out what a for loop is, how to build conditional logic, and other basic structures of programming syntax. There ultimately aren't even that many of these fundamental concepts so the Scope of Knowledge during that phase is very narrow.


As soon as you get away from the basics, you see a rapid broadening of the Scope of Knowledge as you need to begin picking up things that are more difficult like understanding errors and when to use the code you know know how to use. This is different because there is no "correct" answer to a clear question... things get fuzzy.


When you progress into the third phase, the scope of knowledge balloons wider. You now need to understand what tools to use, what languages to learn, underlying CS fundamentals, how to write modular code, object-orientation, good style, and how to ask for help (to name just a few). Every trip to Google or Hacker Newstakes you down another set of rabbit holes and overwhelms you with more things you don't know but feel like you should.


You don't know what you don't know.


Only when you've finally found some traction and left the desert does the scope again begin to narrow. By that point, you've found your chosen technology and its place in the ecosystem. You finally (pretty much) know what you don't know and can plot a path through it. You will continue to increase focus as you push onward and into the beginning of your career.
Phase III: The Desert of Despair


With an understanding of these factors, you can see that the Cliff of Confusion is really just a turning point. The pain caused by the toxic combination of a rapidly increasing Scope of Knowledge and a falling Resource Density results in what I call the "Desert of Despair".


In essence, this desert is where you know there's an end somewhere but you don't know how to get there:




The Desert of Despair





The desert is long and fraught with dangers. You'll find yourself drawn to "Mirages of Mania" along the way -- dozens of tempting resources which appear to hold the solutions you're looking for but which will deposit you, once again, in a place where lonely sand extends to each horizon line.


Maybe you sign up for a couple MOOC courses from Coursera or Udacity or edX. Or you find a tutorial which purports to take you all the way. You thought you learned the lessons of the Hand Holding Honeymoon -- that there are no easy answers -- but the temptation to seek salvation is too great and you fall for the promise that this one will get you to the finish where the others did not.


You can't learn this stuff in a week or a month or a single college class no matter what anyone says so stop falling for that!


There is a LOT more to learn than you probably expected. Even if you're able to get some apps running, it's hard not to feel lost in the greater scheme of becoming a true professional. It's difficult to measure your progress. How do you know what you need to learn or if you're even learning the right things?


Even if you're pointing the right direction, it's hard to measure your progress. You might feel totally lost until the very moment when you're finally able to build something that looks and acts the way you expected it to. But, with enough perseverance and a good compass, you'll eventually get your first few "real" projects launched and you'll realize that you're finally starting to get it.


Sure it's been hard up until now, but maybe this web dev stuff isn't so bad after all... Everything's coming up Milhouse!



Phase IV: The Upswing of Awesome


You've made it through the desert and your confidence is growing. Your Google-fu is excellent and you're finally able to understand those detailed industry blog posts and screencasts. Maybe you've gone deep into a particular language or framework and you have confidence that you can build and launch a functioning application.


This is the "Upswing of Awesome":




The Upswing of Awesome





All may seem well to the outside but you know deep down that you're not there yet.


You can make that application work but what's happening beneath the surface? Your code is duct tape and string and, worst of all, you don’t even know which parts are terrible and which are actually just fine. Your periodic flashes of brilliance are countered by noob mistakes and, worse, a creeping suspicion that you still don't have a damn clue what you're doing.


This is a bipolar phase. You feel like half of you is a bulletproof developer and the other half is a thin veneer of effectiveness covering a wild-eyed newbie who is in way too deep. The further you progress, the more a gnawing sense of uncertainty grows that someone is going to "out" you as a fraud.


You feel like you should be a developer already but the distance between the code you're writing and a "professional" work environment couldn't feel further away...


Eventually, though, you'll make it. There's too much momentum not to! The Desert of Despair is behind you and the Cliff of Confusion is a distant memory. You're finally, truly, on the upswing. You're learning faster and more intelligently than ever before and, eventually, you will have absorbed enough best practices that your swiss cheese knowledge coalesces into a production-grade skill set.


The Upswing of Awesome always takes longer than you expect it to and it feels interminable because you're so close... but you will get there. If you're persistent enough in the right ways (the topic of a future post for sure), you will convince someone to pay you to keep learning. The job is yours.



What it All Looks Like


So now you've seen the road ahead and the reasons why it can be difficult. When you combine all four phases we just covered with the factors that define them, it looks something like the following chart:




The Whole Shebang -- Click to Enlarge





It's one thing to know the path and another to walk it. Let's get you started on the right foot.
How to Make it Through Alive


The journey seems intense and, frankly, it often is. It's important that you understand what you're in for, particularly if you go it alone. But you don't have to. There are ways to short-circuit most of these problems. Learning to code is rarely as easy as people make it out to be but it's also rarely as difficult as it seems in the depths of your despair.


In this section, I'll introduce the key tactics you can use to keep yourself pointed in the right direction.




Your Progression Through the Phases -- Click to Enlarge



I: Surviving the Hand-Holding Honeymoon


The plethora of available resources in the Hand-Holding Honeymoon make it a lot of fun. They do a great job easing you into the kind of logical thinking you'll need to cultivate over the coming phases. It's a great time to start learning to code so try to enjoy it and keep these two tips in mind:
Start by trying out different resources to find how you learn best and what sorts of projects are the most interesting to you. Maybe it's Khan Academy's quick challenges, Codecademy's in-browser exercises, Chris Pine's Learn to Program book or Code School's wacky try Ruby experience. Be open minded at the start and ignore anything about what you should learn... all code is the same at this phase.
Then pick one resource and stick with it once you've found your fit. Work through to the end of their introductory course arc, which should give you all the foundational knowledge you need to write basic scripts and apps. Then get ready to start building on your own.
II: Surviving the Cliff of Confusion


Almost everyone will experience the Cliff of Confusion because the only way to become a developer is to, well, develop. You can pretend to be building by signing up for tutorials (or tutorials which masquerade as "complete" courses), but you're just putting off the inevitable. Tutorials are a good way to bridge from more high-touch introductory offerings but you'll need to wean yourself off the pacifier and face the real world at some point.


Three tips for making the transition to building on your own:
Work with someone else, even another beginner. You'll be surprised how much easier it is to debug an impossible error when sharing two pairs of eyes.
Read other people's code to get comfortable with good patterns. Try to understand why the author did what they did. You wouldn't try to become a novelist without reading books as well, would you? We'll focus on this in an upcoming post but, for now, keep your eyes open for any small problems or projects that other people have written solutions for.
Start small and build constantly. You should have interesting big projects in mind for the future, but you'll need to get comfortable debugging and searching for resources with bite-sized challenges. There's really no substitute for experience.
III: Surviving the Desert of Despair


Once you've become comfortable debugging, your biggest problem becomes the fire hose of required knowledge and a total loss for how to learn it all... the Desert of Despair. In this case, what you really need is a strong path forward. The Mirages of Mania represent all the interesting side paths and rabbit holes and get-skilled-quick schemes which ultimately waste your time.


So the keys to getting out of the Desert of Despair are:
Have a strong goal for what you want to accomplish because otherwise you will end up chasing your tail learning all kinds of interesting but ultimately unproductive things. If you have the time to spare, by all means skip this...
Find a strong path which leads directly to the goal you've set and verify that it will actually get you there. This is where you need to dig deeper than the marketing slogans and smiling faces on course websites or book jackets to ask "will this help me accomplish the goal I've set or not?"
Focus and avoid distractions because, if you're the kind of person who's interested in learning to code, you're also the kind of person who gets interested by learning all kinds of other awesome things. When coding gets difficult, you need to be able to push forward instead of just trying out the next cool-looking thing.


If you're able to identify a path and stick with it, you'll eventually push forward to the next phase instead of spending months or years chasing mirages across the shifting sands of the this desert.
IV: Surviving the Upswing of Awesome


The Upswing of Awesome is one of the trickiest transitions. You can develop applications but you really want to become a web developer. Getting past this phase and into a job requires you to do three things:
Seek and follow best practices for programming. You need to understand the difference between a solution and the best solution. Best practices are a major difference between hacking on your own and building production quality code in a real job setting.
Check your assumptions because you've probably skated by with some gaping holes in your knowledge that you didn't even know you had. You need to diagnose and fix these holes.
Tackle the unsexy skills that are rarely addressed but highly important for transitioning into a professional setting. This includes things like testing, data modeling, architecture and deployment which are really easy to breeze past but which are totally fundamental to good development.


The key to accomplishing these things and pushing through the Upswing of Awesome is to get feedback. Students who have learned entirely on their own may be productive but rarely have the kind of legible, modular, and maintainable code that makes them attractive in a professional setting. You need to work with other humans who will challenge your assumptions, ask piercing followup questions, and force you to fix the leaks in your bucket of knowledge.
So... Can it be Done?


This all may sound overwhelming but I promise that many others have persevered and survived this journey before you. By understanding the road ahead, you're already in a good spot to take it on with a focused plan and access to the right kind of help.


Obviously there isn't space in this particular post to dig as deeply into each phase of the journey as we'd like or to provide the kind of granular how-to advice you deserve. That said, this is a journey with which we're quite familiar and about which we're highly passionate so we want to help in any way we can.


Our core program is specifically designed to bridge this whole process but, if you're interested in following along on your own, we'll be addressing it publicly and in depth during future blog posts as well.


Sign up below if you'd like to come along for the ride as we dig deeper into everything here -- from finding a mentor to bridging the gap to a fulltime job in web development. Because, though it's a challenging road ahead, you don't have to walk it alone.