It’s OK To Take It Slow

… That is what I wish someone told me when I first started coding. Although, I probably wouldn’t have listened. In the tech world filled with weekend projects and 24-hour hackathons, there is this pressure to learn and crank out projects as soon as humanly possible, often sacrificing your health and your loved ones.

It has almost been a year since I first started learning to code, and I’ve always felt that I was in a race. I dismissed my accomplishments knowing that for every one thing I learned, there were 100 new things that I needed to learn, feeling the pressure to keep learning as many things as possible without focusing on mastering each one individually. I mean, I’m in my 20s already – I need to catch up with the 17 year olds out there!

Well, now, looking back, I am proud to see how much I have learned. I went to the SF Ruby Meetup the other night and was really proud of myself when I could understand a conversation between two guys that the other guy in the room thought was “too technical” for me after seeing that I’m a girl (he actually also told me I should go to the women’s meetup to learn to code instead! Luckily the other guys were way nicer, but that’s a different story).

Learning to code is not an overnight thing. As the now famous saying goes, it takes 10,000 hours to be really good at something. When I think of it in that context, that it will take me 10 years to really master coding, I can finally slow down. I’m no longer racing to be the top coder or to build the best application in 24 hours or to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, I’m simply taking my time to master something.

So if you ever feel extra stressed about not getting something while learning to code or just feel frustrated about how much you need to learn (I know I get stressed about this stuff a lot!), just slow down and realize that this is part of the long journey of you becoming the expert in another few years. No need to rush.

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