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General Discussion

Jen Lanham
Jen Lanham
830 Points

Newbie trying too hard?

I am so new to this, having just signed up yesterday. Im a wife and mom of three wanting desperately to supplement our income in a creative way. Anyway, I see my future self getting on every night after the kids go down and burning through as many lessons as possible before I crash. My question is, what is a realistic goal for absorbing the knowledge? Has anyone had this problem or does it naturally work itself out?

So excited to find this site and start this journey... Thanks in advance!

9 Answers

Callum King
Callum King
Front End Web Development Techdegree Student 4,934 Points

When I first started, I tried to watch as many lessons as I could in one sitting, and found I was forgetting much of it the next day. I found the best way wasn't to try cram in as many lessons as possible for a couple of hours, but to instead watch a few lessons, and then try to practice what was taught in the lesson. If I found I couldn't replicate what was being taught, Iā€™d re-watch the videos again, or find another source explaining the ideas.

James Hall-Treworgy
James Hall-Treworgy
3,326 Points

Welcome! :)

Although I can't really speak to your exact circumstances in reference to having children. I can say that 2 months ago(65 days to be exact) I didn't even know what an html page looked like or what it meant. Now I have a website of my own halljames.com which is under construction of course but it's a start.

In my head acquiring a job within 6 months from when I started seems reasonable. I know others who have done it. Now I don't think it'll be the highest paying job ever but something.

So, with your time constraints. I'd say less than a year if you are truly dedicated.

Note: I study probably 6+ hours on average a day. I was a 3.0gpa student in college. Not saying I'm impressive or anything, just trying to give you an idea.

Be sure to take the html/CSS basic course and buy a server as instructed by the course. There's no better way to learn then to tinker with your own website.

Have fun! :)

Your web designs look great! I'm just getting started with HTML and CSS. I want to practice but don't know what text editor I should use....any suggestions? What do you use?

Thanks! Brooke

Steven Deutsch
Steven Deutsch
21,046 Points

Hey Jen Lanham,

I can't determine what a realistic goal for absorbing knowledge is. I tried to speed through the courses myself, and often found myself having to go back and re-watch the courses later. There's nothing wrong with this - everyone will have to reference courses here and there, however, a slow and steady approach can work wonders as well. Sometimes speeding through material can be a good thing, I find that the more I expose myself to, the smaller the previous concepts become. It is still extremely important, however, to build a good foundation.

The thing about development is - a lot of what you are learning has no context. Programming is unlike any other skill you have learned before. You have to train your mind in a different way and develop a whole new vocabulary. The learning curve in the beginning, in my opinion, is quite harsh. This is nothing to be afraid of though. You just have to realize that the first hour you put in will provide you with a lesser gain than hour 500.

Treehouse is the best place for beginners to learn, so you're on the right track. The only other thing I can recommend is to work at it every day! If you don't use it, you won't retain it. Even if it's only for half an hour on a busy day - write some code.

What track are you looking to work on?

Good Luck

Anthony Endrina
Anthony Endrina
1,779 Points

I'm in your boat right now. I flew the digital literacy with no problems.

I find myself slowing down now due to the fact the code is getting more complicated to write. I can read the lines better than before I started the programs. I was a bunch of nonsense before.

The problem, is finding the right track for you. I dabbled with the Java, HTML, CSS, Objective-C, and Swift Tracks but I find myself leaning on the game development track now. And that's in C#. Of course, I managed to do that in a couple of days.

Can I read the code? Yes.

Can I edit the code? A little.

Can I write the code from scratch? No way...not there yet.

Good luck to you Jen!

I can only give one advice for saving a lot of time: Think about what you wanna do in you future. Do you want to design or do you want to programm? And if you want to programm: What are your goals here? Mobile applications (next questions is iOS or Andriod?), web applications (next questions is php, ruby, python or java?) which will mostly work with a database (so you might need some SQL skills too).

First think about what you want to do (and take your time about that question) and then look what skills you need to get there.

And then you can calcuclate how much time you will need. (Most of the time you will need a lot more than calculated :D)

It only a questions about efficency...I am sure you dont want to "waste" time if you dont have to.

Good luck

4,685 Points

Jen, I can relate to what you're saying as well. I think it's perfectly normal having to rewatch videos and practice what you've learned before moving on to the next thing. I often also write a couple of things down, so I can remember more easily and refer back to how something is done without having to necessarily rewatch the whole video. Yeah, sometimes it's tough finding the time to practice, especially with kids (I've got 2 myself), but keep at it!

Aaron Arkie
Aaron Arkie
5,345 Points

Since you are just starting I recommend you just learn the basics and practice for a half an hour or an hour a day. The more you practice the more you'll understand the underlying principles of what you're learning rather than thinking its some kind of magic. Practice is key here, you'll often find people saying "I know all this information but when I start on my own I don't know what to make" this is due to, In my opinion, a lack of practice.

Supplement your knowledge on treehouse with other courses such as those found on udemy. I feel treehouse prepares you really well with the basics and udemy courses give you a better scope of the big picture and moves really fast. At some point you'll feel frustrated and question whether your cut out to learn this stuff. Don't give up! Your failures and frustrations is when you're at your prime! Part of development is learning how to find solutions to your problem with other resources. Chances are someone else is struggling with the same problem you are.

Here are some things you can do to get started:


  • - Choose a text editor and learn it well enough that you can navigate around and use shortcuts. This will make you more productive and efficient.

-- Learn web technologies in this order: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, DOM(Document Object Model) and then learn a web stack such as MEAN or LAMP

-- Pick a framework, I learned how to use bootstrap and the 960 grid system. This will help structure your design and prevent you from creating everything from scratch for the billionth time.

-- Practice, Practice, Practice!

(This is the extent of my knowledge on web development I'm still learning!) :)


-- For Android learn Java ( there is a difference between Java and JavaScript) and the Android SDK -- I believe IOS uses XCode or most recently Swift. -- Can't offer much here as I am just getting started myself.

Programming Concepts in general:

-- Learn your primitive data types: Mainly just int, char, float, double, and long. -- Learn about the data type Strings. -- Learn how to use and create arrays -- Learn If -else and elseif statements -- Learn how to create a loop: for, while, do-while -- Learn how to debug your program -- Learn how to write out to the console (this will be your best friend)

Side Notes:

-- Be humble. Don't just speed through every course like a Ferrari. Learn it and Learn it well. -- Practice everyday. -- Read up on the latest trend -- Start a blog or help other people on forums -- Build a portfolio -- Look up job descriptions and find out what employers are looking for. Don't worry if you find some that say "Best candidate will have 100 years of programming experience, mastered languages such as html, css, SASS, javaScript, node.js, database experience, java, spring and hibernate, LAMP, MEAN, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Python, Peral, Haskell, C/C++." etc...This is technically unrealistic and are just some things you should know of and you should already be comfortable with the basics.

-- Descriptions like these are just there to narrow down the applicants to those who want to enter the field because they have passion for programming. ALOT of people want to learn programming because they see dollar signs. Truth is, it is very intense, difficult, and requires a lot of patience and practice. People who get in the industry without a degree is a rare exception and not the norm.

-- Stand out, be unique from all your average coders. This show's your comfortable with your skills and creativity is a skill that is hard to come by( I should know I suck at design).

--But, Practice(Sorry for sounding like a broken record) your weaknesses and don't let them control your progress.

-- Always remember, in this field you are a student. No matter how far you get.

Remember start small! Everyone want's to create a beautiful dynamic website or the next flappy-bird craze. Learning how to program is very exciting and it's like nothing you've ever experienced before. Lastly, I really hope you succeed in all your endeavors. You can master anything if you set your heart and mind to it. Don't give up and Goodluck! :)

Couple of books I recommend:

-- Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and JQuery Set - Jon Duckett

--Android Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide

-- Java A Beginner's Guide Sixth Edition

Jen Lanham
Jen Lanham
830 Points

Wow! Thank you all so very much. It is so heartwarming to see people take the time to answer a stranger's question. I'm so excited to learn, and be a part of this amazing community. At the moment my husband works for a homeless veteran's foundation and they need a completely updated website. I want to learn that side of things, and help out if they don't get someone else in there first. Beyond that... I just want to create. Im not sure what specific direction I'll head in afterwards, but I look forward to finding my niche.

Jay Padzensky
Jay Padzensky
4,731 Points

Welcome aboard! It's awesome to see our Community come together like this. I was going to pipe up, but it seems everyone else already did :) If you ever need a hand with account issues, help@teamtreehouse.com is your best resource! If you need a hand with your code, our Community members will take great care of you.

Jen Lanham how's your progress been? did you ever get to help out with the website?