I’ve held this post on hold for a while, but it’s time to release the Kraken… or well, the spreadsheet! I’ve decided to split this post into two parts because the first headline is why I’m really writing this post and I think it can be of great help for many of you who decide to read this. If you’re interested in my path to where I am now I’ll be posting that in the “Getting a Developer Job” section, since I don’t think it belongs here.
Why I’m Writing This Post
Time and time again the same question is asked by people wanting to become developers: “how much should I study?”. Often combined with: “what should I learn?”. And the same answer is given for both of these: “be consistent and focused”.
For me I’ve had a somewhat definite goal in mind since I started the grind towards a new career, I want to do web development. I don’t care a lot for robotics and I’m not interested enough in math to do Data Science. I also believe that the web is the future and that most native apps will slowly die out in favour of web apps. To help me with my studies, I’ve kept a spreadsheet going, which I’ve modified a little bit to remove personal information, but which you can find here:
How Do I Read This?
The spreadsheet is split into 3 different columns, repeating a few times because a year consists of many days. The leftmost column are dates (obviously), the middle column is what I’ve planned to accomplish that day and the right column are notes to myself about the day. Perhaps I won’t have a lot of free time that day? Or maybe it was harder than I thought?
The spreadsheet is also color-coded, where black is days, white is planned stuff that I’ve not yet accomplished and gray means I’ve accomplished what I wanted to do that day. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the previous day is grayed out immediately, because it depends on if I’ve actually accomplished the task or not. Sometimes I’ll have some leftovers that I’ll have to fit in another day.
Lastly, the right column can have three different colors: light blue, pink or blue. They correspond to the days of the week and since my non-developer job is just at 80% (i.e. 32h/week) each week usually have 4 light blue rows and 3 pink rows. If I have to work extra, those days turn light blue and if I have some PTO, those days will turn pink. As you can see, some days in the latter months are a solid blue color, which are the days where I’m working at my new developer job rather than at my old job or remotely (I’ve been working 60h weeks for a while now).
How You Can Use This
It may be obvious to some and not to others, so I figure I’ll provide some advice. This spreadsheet basically shows what I’ve done coding wise for the past year and I realize (and you should too!) that not everyone can put this amount of time into coding every single day. I should point out that I have both a fiancée and a dog, so my time is not completely unconstrained. You may:
- Have kids
- Have a non-understanding partner
- Work double jobs
- Have low self-discipline
- Have ADHD or similar
Or perhaps something else. Any of these will make your journey take longer time or be more difficult, but you can still make it! Have a look at my spreadsheet and figure out what would work for you.
- Can you do four days a week, or five, or seven?
- How many hours a day can you keep as a minimum?
- What do you want to focus on?
To finish off, don’t beat yourself down if you feel slow. Or if you feel stupid. Or if that guy/girl is so much better than you. Everyone learns at their own pace and the absolute best way to learn is to fail.