Going back to learning something after taking a break can be rather difficult. Especially if the break was long enough. Even more so, if we are talking about a genuinely complex and difficult to master subject, such as programming.
Here’s how it goes most of the times: you make a commitment to learn programming, start learning, achieve some progress, but at some point along the way life interferes, with its problems or joys, and you take a break, then extend it again and again, and find yourself having put learning away for indefinitely. Does that sound familiar? It sure does for many of CodeGym students, as well as other people trying to master programming.
Fortunately, this problem is not that difficult to overcome, given your commitment to the goal is strong enough. Here is a set of recommendations to help you get back to learning how to code in Java which we came up with based on the feedback from former CodeGym’s students and recommendations by experienced programmers.
1. Set your motivation straight.
It is always a good idea to begin or get back to something with setting up the mental side of this process and the motivation behind it. Ask yourself why you want to learn how to code, why this is important for you and what you are planning to achieve with it. Build a clear and strong motivation behind getting back to learning how to code.
2. Start small.
Starting little by little and increasing the time you spend learning is always a good idea. You can stick to the learning schedule that you had before the break, if it worked fine for you, or try to come up with a new better one. Just make sure the schedule is not too tight and give yourself enough time to get used to it.
3. Read some programming-related books and articles.
Reading about programming is a chance to get some new knowledge and set your mind towards the goal at the same time, without needing to put much effort as simply reading is easier than trying to learn new information and then practice using it right away like the CodeGym course students do. Here is a list of 20 books for beginners in Java
that you can read to freshen up your memory.
4. Watch programming-related YouTube channels.
As an alternative to reading, you can watch some videos on YouTube channels about programming and Java. Here is a good list of YouTube channels for Java learners and Java developers
5. Refresh what you have already learnt in the past.
Another part of getting back to learning in small steps would be to refresh in memory what you have already learnt and did as part of the learning process, while also checking how well you remember these topics and if there is a need to go through them again.
6. Try using tools to overcome procrastination and be more effective.
If you are having problems with self-discipline, procrastination and staying focused, try using tools to make your learning more effective
, such as pomodoro technique apps, distraction blockers, habit tracking apps or study planning tools. You can also check out this article on how to increase your attention span and improve self-learning skills
7. Utilize the power of innovative learning techniques.
You could also adopt some of these innovative learning techniques
to achieve better results and find a way of learning how to code that will work for you the best.
8. Socialize and ask for help.
Sometimes socializing can be extremely helpful to get over the procrastination block and start moving towards your goal. This is why CodeGym has so many different social features
. So you can try to talk to other Java learners and programming beginners. There is also nothing shameful in asking for help by the way. We have a separate Help section
on CodeGym for this.
9. Find a mentor.
Another way to get help from those who are more experienced is to find yourself a mentor. Mentoring is quite a popular concept in software development. Finding a mentor can be extremely useful for those who feel they cannot make it on their own, generally have trouble with solo learning, or just looking to apply every possible tool to take maximum from learning. Check out this article with recommendations on how to find yourself a coding mentor
10. Set yourself a timeline.
Finally, you can try setting a timeline to accomplish the goal and challenging yourself to do it. You can give yourself 6 month to learn programming (or to complete the CodeGym course for example) or a year. No need to make the timeline too tough but it has to be pressuring. Challenging yourself to actually do it is the part that makes this work. If you want to make this a little bit tougher, try blocking yourself from some fun but distracting activities, such as social media, watching movies or playing games, until the goal is completed. After all, they do say, the harder the battle the sweeter the victory.