It’s Getting Steeper

By Wilhelm Uschtrin, Moringa School Student

Week 4 is coming to a close. Although it is Friday night, the week is not quite over yet though. There are a few Android assignments due this weekend, as we quickly moved to Android after briefly exploring Java per se. Rails (our other major track) is kind of on hold over the weekend – we do have to do some reading and finish an app, but that’s negligible compared to what Alvin usually has in store for us.

Anyways, I decided to finish this evening by actually sitting down and writing another blog post.

One thing that’s been on my mind lately corresponds with a blog post Audrey shared with us the other day (Why learning to code is so damn hard). The author, Erik Trautman, describes the different phases everyone, according to him, goes through while learning to code: the (I) Handholding Honeymoon, passing the (II) Cliff of Confusion, crossing the (III) Desert of Despair and last but not least reaching the (IV) Upswing of Awesomeness. It’s actually very much worth a read, if you’re learning to code, contemplating learning to code, or learned to code at some point in your life. 😉

But what I am getting at is this: I have the feeling I am rapidly approaching that Cliff of Confusion. It’s not that Moringa School is doing a bad job, it’s just that we’re still moving very very fast and stuff is getting more and more complex. While with Ruby on Rails we’re following a tutorial, constantly debugging the stuff we’ve just implemented and getting input rom Alvin in between, with Java the move to Android Studio was absolutely overwhelming. It felt like moving from drawing houses with pen and paper to designing buildings with Adobe Illustrator.

But even with Rails I am wondering what it would be like to have no teacher, nobody to just drop a mail and get a hint or solution latest the next day. Not having the luxury of following a tutorial and just being required to solve the micro-challenges deliberately built-in by its creators. What it must be like to design something by yourself from the ground up.

Personally, I really have the feeling that I’ll be copy and pasting code snippets for a long time to come, still kind of orienting myself along tutorials, even if what I am building will be only remotely similar to what the tutorials are about. Knowing what a certain code snippet does, but maybe not really understanding why or how it does what it does, and most probably not being able to rewrite it from memory myself at all.

I guess that’s all right though, because that’s seems to be how you learn to code. Nevertheless I am kind of scared of the moment the tutorials end and I’ll be required to build something non-trivial from scratch. I mean, I already signed up for Stack Overflow, but maybe I should already book a room with them, since I’ll be moving in anyways.

Now, seriously: it’s all good, but lately I’ve been wondering how I will do after finishing MS and having to go on by myself. It’s kind of a scary thought – luckily we still have 8 weeks in front of us. I’ll let you know how I do.

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