I just need to share this with someone.
I started learning to code over the summer. I enjoyed it so much I decided to drop out of business school (which was starting this month) to instead become a web developer. I just didn’t want to spend 6 figures on an MBA and learn a little bit about EVERYTHING in business without becoming a master in anything. I’m in my 30s and a career changer from the helping sector. I’m also a follower of Cal Newport’s teachings to get really good at a skill that is marketable.
So that’s the background. I’m unemployed and learning full time. And I really want to be employed by next June at the latest. I also have money that would have gone to MBA which I decided to use to support a good learning experience for coding.
My issue is in the last week I have lost a lot of motivation and now I’m too scared to learn. Obviously this is increasing my depression. I also realise that being “productive” is a +ve for my self esteem and mood, so this isn’t good at all.
Here’s what I think went wrong:
- I liked the idea of studying from a coworking space. It’s how I aced the GRE last year, it’s a way to meet people in my new city (I’m now living in the city I was supposed to do the MBA in) and psychologically there is something encouraging about going somewhere everyday just to study. The problem is that except two, every space I tried is noisy AF. I already paid for a 2 month membership and since 3 days ago I’ve refused to go there. I can’t concentrate, and I am pissed at having to wear headphones all day in general but to make matters worse it’s so noisy the headphones are useless. Paying the equivalent of USD400 a month to be aggravated makes me furious and sad. As a frugal person it already feels like an unreasonable luxury to pay for a desk to study. To not be able to use it makes me sad and I feel even more useless at the thought of paying for a more quiet space in September (in which case I have TWO desks paid for that month).
- I was using a course that is highly rated and geared towards people who want to thoroughly master coding. It has sucked out all my motivation to learn. I spend the day reading their ebook about the command line and getting frustrated with the exercises because apparently the people who wrote the course are not Mac users and even though this is supposed to be for beginners they don’t explain a lot of things. I’m having to constantly google words like shell, bash, Unix, etc. I can’t finish a chapter googling everything. I feel dumb for not knowing stuff already. I’m bored and dread doing even just one 40 minute Pomodoro a day, much less the ideal 4 - 6 hours of studying. I also feel shame because the makers of this course often criticize people who learn things at a shallow level (eg. Through time-bound bootcamps) and they seem to be believe learning should be difficult not “fun”. Plus the course is 5 star rated every where so I feel like an anomaly.
- I wanted to build websites. But this course frontloads back-end programming. I’m not going to get to front end for at least 6 months. I’m not going to be building a portfolio or seeing my learning translate into cool websites. It was never explained that software engineering =/= web development and even now that I know I’m in the wrong course, I’m afraid that I wont enjoy more web-dev focused courses.
- I thought about attending a local bootcamp. The options here aren’t great. The “best” bootcamp I like but their alumni all look the same and use the same descriptions in their portfolios because they’re being mentored by the same career service. “I’m Anna and I love code so much! I am passionate about translating a client’s vision into clean modular code!! I’m so thankful I get to build cool things” . I fucking hate people who talk like this and can’t imagine having to be pushed to market myself in this way in order to get a job. Plus the bootcamp I think is way overpriced, probably because they’re no good local alternatives. No scholarships are offered.
- I joined some Facebook groups for people in programming. There’s one group for women in tech generally (not just coders). Im finding it is a toxic wasteland for me as someone trying to break in. It’s kind of like if you were starting med school and planned to be a dermatologist and you joined a Facebook group for folks in medicine. And you keep seeing posts like “my head nurse is bullying me!” “I hate being a nurse!” " If you didn’t go to a top 10 med school, should you accept a low salary?"
- I found a different course that I think meets my needs better. It’s still onlune. But it pairs students with a mentor. It’s web Dev focused and involves weekly deliverables w a good structure. It’s more expensive than my current course but cheaper than the local bootcamp. In short it feels like a “bargain” - which is how I like to feel when I spend money. This is very positive but again I’m scared that I have no motivation anymore.
Here’s what I’m doing to help me.
- I’m in a mindfulness meditation group
- I found a naturopath locally and will meet with them to discuss improving my energy levels
- I’ve stopped the course. Even though I feel like the laziest person on earth for not doing anything this week. I just can’t do it.
- I’ve applied to the mentored online course
- I’m considering writing off what I paid for the cowork space and then paying for another one. OR going there in the evenings, from 5:30 - 9:30 pm.
- I think I need to find a way to deal with harmful advice I get from people who don’t understand me. Such as , in the current.course, “you shouldn’t take any coding job!” or in general “why pay for a course when you can use Freecodecamp!” or my favourite “you don’t need to pay for a study space. You can learn a new field at home in your PJs next to your smart TV without interacting with anyone all day!”
- I left the Tech Ladies group.
- I’m sharing here
Thanks for reading. I know this was long.