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Today I met with Evan, an aspiring programmer. I am determined to help him learn how to code. I am conscious of how detached I am from my early stages of learning to code.
I am a strong proponent of going directly into development. Rather than treating yourself as a beginner, I believe its best to approach coding from a “do – without understanding” method. This is method is reinforced in scientific study. This forces the learner to use holistic practices, while focusing on learning to ask the relevant questions.
Evan doesn’t have any programming experience. He has never written code. He doesn’t understand HTML-CSS-JS constructions of the internet. Everything from software infrastructure and network topologies is new. Regardless, Im encouraging the “do – without understanding” approach.
Evan asked me three to answer three questions he prepared beforehand. I was intrigued by the points he currently wanted to have addressed. First, he wanted to know the most important habits that I believed I have. Second he wanted to know what I read to stay afloat. Lastly, he wanted to know what I eat. I decided to answer his questions in reverse order.
Starting with food, he explained he notices the impact of food on his thinking process. I explained that beyond food was the importance to recognize the conditions in which we best focus or are most creative. To learn anything, we need to be conscious of how we learn and what may disrupt that process. I am not an extremely conscious eater, but I do my best to establish environments to enforce maximum learning for designated periods of time. Being able to know how to do this is important for me to think clearly.
In response to his question about reading, I shared the importance of conscious consumption of ideas. Looking back, I would have explained the economics of information. When there is an abundance of one thing, it results in a deficient of something else. In an information rich economy, we have a deficit of attention. I shared the importance of maximizing opportunities to consume information. I do this through taking notes and creating personal references. Beyond reading, I also suggested following relevant podcasts. Maximize passive activities by using it to consume learning material.
Lastly, I answered the most important habits. My habits can be refined to one idea: continuing momentum. Its easy to have bursts of learning. A one month roll can help you produce great temporary results, but every week following can make the difference of forgetting everything or continuing to move forward.
Going forward, I am guiding his own process of learning. I will suggested resources for him to use. I will be there to answer questions. But at the end, he will teach himself. I believe this is the best way. I will do my best to make sure he is guided in the right way.