Quite often, students take long breaks because of burnout, illnesses, family emergencies, or other reasons. Naturally, resuming studying after a hiatus can be tricky since the keys to success are regular coding practice and minimum learning gaps. A long break or studying in waves will mess up your progress. Also, you may lose motivation and end up feeling stressed. If this sounds like you, the good news is that you can do a lot of things to re-enter “the world of coding” and even make the learning process more effective and enjoyable than ever before.
So, if you’ve decided to return to coding after a long break (weeks, months, or even years), use our tips to get back into the “study mode”.
Learning the Basics (Again)
Entering your comfort zone again is a great place to start with. So, when you decide to get back on the coding track, don’t rush into learning new topics (it won’t be easy from a technical standpoint). Instead, go back to what you’ve already learned. And only once you’ve recalled the technical skills of the past, move ahead.
Build a Plan
Don’t try to delve into many new topics at once, as no consistency may lead to slow progress and loss of motivation. Hence, take breaks. A cohesive roadmap can be a real lifesaver at this point. If you have a clear plan, the chances of succeeding increase significantly. When you control the process, it minimizes your stress levels. Those who prefer sticking to deadlines may also set daily and weekly tasks to boost their progress.
If you like working digitally, you may use such “helpers” as:
- Trello. It’s a popular note-taking tool that helps you organize anything from a learning strategy to a big career move.
- Notion is a bit simpler app that includes notes, calendars, reminders, as well as kanban boards, wikis, and databases.
- CodeGym Kickmanager. As the name suggests, it’s a proprietary app that can help you kickstart the learning process every day. Just set your comfortable schedule, and the app will automatically notify you when it’s high time to get down to learning.
|“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination” — Earl Nightingale.
Set a Schedule
As for the schedule, no plan can do without it. That’s why we highly recommend you make a personal learning schedule that fits your lifestyle. Don’t start coding 6-8 hours a day right away, as you’ll definitely burn yourself out quickly. Keep in mind that even small daily efforts, combined with consistency, will lead to big progress.
Of course, there’s no magic number, and everyone is different, but our general recommendation is to devote 2-4 hours a day to coding, at night or in the morning, whatever fits your schedule. Also, it helps to identify your peak hours and make learning during them a habit. This routine can reduce anxiety, help you feel more productive and stay more focused.
If you have problems with self-discipline, the CodeGym's schedule app can also come in handy. Moreover, it will also trace your achievements, keeping you motivated.
Another effective way to stay on the learning path is to find your “partners in crime” who have also had a hiccup at some point. By supporting and challenging each other, it’ll be easier for you to get extra motivation and overcome difficulties if you get stuck on some task. Anyway, it’s always better to seek help than struggle alone.
Luckily, the Internet currently offers an abundance of different communities where students and developers of all levels share their experience and knowledge. Plus, they are always ready to solve tricky tasks. On Quora
, you can ask any question, whereas such websites like StackOverflow
, and Codecademy Community
can help you find peers and go through the challenging journey of learning to code together.
Whatever you’re struggling with, keep in mind that you can always find someone to help you.
Create the Comfortable Environment for Learning
To get the maximum joy and productivity out of each lesson, you must find the right spot for studying. It shouldn’t be a place where you typically relax (a living room or a game room is a big no-no). This zone should let you work without distractions. If you don’t have an office desk, you can consider using a kitchen table to keep the learning area tidy and clutter-free.
Add a vase of fresh flowers or a scented candle to turn your learning space into a more comfortable environment that will motivate you to spend more time studying.
Some students say they prefer learning outside since it energizes them and eliminates distractions like a sink filled with dirty dishes.
Speaking about distractions, some people find the ambient noise in cafes annoying, whereas others believe that gentle music can even improve creative thinking. So, you may try learning inside and outside to see what works better for you.
The one thing we know for sure: it’s quite difficult for our brain to refocus each time we get distracted by incoming calls or notifications. Thus, to make the most of your learning time, it’s better to switch your phone to the “do not disturb” or the “airplane” mode. It’s also a nice idea to leave your phone in another room. Out of sight, out of mind.
If you have other distractions near you (like roaring cats, loud relatives, etc.), you may consider using noise-canceling headphones. Without annoying sounds, you will likely focus entirely on coding and make your lessons as productive as possible.
Try to Maintain an Optimal Study/Life Balance
When you start learning again after a break, you may be lured to throw yourself into studying too intensively. Of course, it’s great to feel enthusiastic and motivated, but it’s very important to set some boundaries and not overwhelm yourself with learning. Otherwise, you may end up feeling frustrated and getting severe burnout.
Study hard, but don't overdo it. If you’re studying for long periods of time, take micro breaks to re-energize your brain and refresh your mind. It’s also a good idea to have one or two days off learning each week (but not more).
Don't forget about your personal life and listen to your inner self when you feel tired. Sometimes it’s essential to take breaks (short!) to shift your focus and clear your mind.
We know that starting to learn again after a long hiatus may be really exciting. It can become the beginning of a new, interesting adventure in your life and, perhaps, a new career. Yes, getting back into studying can also be a daunting experience, so it’s esential to be consistent and motivated. We recommend not to set the bar too high. Be kind to yourself, celebrate your wins, and move step by step.
Learning to code is like riding a bike – it’s really wobbly, and you may fall many times before you really get the hang of it. But the more you practice, the easier it will become for you. So, let’s get back to coding!