So every so often, I do this…
So I play classical guitar. It’s a thing. I play to Zen my mind, I play to relax myself, I play for fun. But I play.
But I didn’t sit down and start playing “Claire de lune”. I first had to teach myself what the strings were, and what the intervals on the frets were, and what the relation between the different strings meant.
I’d found a great book, written in 1886, about the “Carcassi method”. Great book. Love that book. Now I had to learn to read sheet music, as well as learning to read tablature.
My fingers bled, because I was learning to press on the very tips of my fingers. I was so frustrated, because both hands would cramp into claws, and I was slow at reading the music. It would take me a few days to read a simple song, and longer to get comfortable playing it.
But, as it happens, I was in a situation that gave me ample time without distractions. For the first year, I would spend four or five hours, seven days a week, struggling.
Now, I play for fun. I play guitar, and uke, and mandolin, and violin. I have a great time, and I still seek out challenges, songs I don’t know or instruments that baffle me.
End of story time
Coding, for me, is exactly like that. Without the bloody fingers, thank God.
I struggled to understand the concepts at first. Struggled to understand loops, or branches. Started out without even the concept of functions or objects. Had no understanding of the DOM, and how that was structured.
Twenty-five-plus years later, I do this for fun. I’m trying to get back into the field, but time I spend here answering questions is a joy to me. It helps me to refresh my own knowledge and ideas, and it challenges me to push my own understandings.
It didn’t take twenty-five years, mind – the basics were there within a year or two. Now, it’s a matter of the languages themselves are evolving, and my knowledge is evolving with them.
Getting the challenges done in record time, or in a pretty way right of the bat, is not the purpose. Learning not only how to build pages, but how to research the bits you aren’t sure on, are both valuable skills. I often say to new folks, “Web dev isn’t about knowing what you need to know - it’s about knowing how to RESEARCH.”
I still find myself searching for articles on CSS patterns, or on “semantic HTML.” The information is there, and I take pride that I can now understand the stuff!
You’ll get there. Just mind you don’t get bloody fingers on the keyboard.