Learning to Code: Working full-time

Let’s talk about it!


So I feel like I’ve written this blog post at the perfect time, considering I haven’t done much coding in the past few days. *facepalms*

I’m sure many of you can relate to how difficult it is learning how to code alongside working a hectic 9 – 5 job!

Here’s a typical dilemma:

You’ve had a long day in the office or on the shop floor, your mind is telling you to do that code exercise / watch that coding tutorial, but your mind is telling you “it’s been a long day”, what do you do?

A – You fight the tiredness, switch on your laptop and begin coding.

B – You agree with your mind and decide not to code today.

C – You send out a tweet explaining your dilemma and hashtag #100DaysOfCode

Choose your option.


As much as we’d all like to go with Option A the majority of the time, as many of us would know, it is not always possible.

I have chosen option A, B, & C throughout my learning to code journey.

Here are a few pointers that have helped to increase my drive.

Coding in the AM or PM?

I received some really good advice on Twitter on one of the many times I went with Option C as many CodeNewbies faced the same dilemma.

The advice I received, lead me to decide that I needed to code around my work schedule, whether it be earlier in the mornings or late at night. As a morning person, I thought I should try this first.

5:30 – 6:30 am were the usual times I’d begin my coding lessons on Codecademy. I completed more exercises at this time and often got carried away forgetting that I needed to get ready to head to the office.

In the morning, I’m the best-untainted version of myself so coding during these hours worked well when I managed to keep to it. I then alternated between mornings and evenings which is where I feel like I went wrong. Establishing a routine and forming a habit of coding in the mornings is what I plan on doing from now on.

What works best for you?

One follower suggested doing katas @codewars at weekdays/evenings, another pointed out that coding after work hours are not conducive to learning but he fits in 1hr by visiting gamification sides like codecombat.

Motivational videos

Because I’m learning on my lonesome, I have to constantly motivate myself especially when:

  • I’m stuck on a coding challenge.
  • I feel like I’m not understanding concepts as quickly as I’d like to.

My favourite motivational speaker right now is Eric Thomas! He has a countless amount of videos on YouTube that will literally make you want to get your shit together in a heartbeat.

We all need a little motivation every now and again! I also watch YouTube videos of people who talk about their coding journey before becoming a software engineer/developer or a data scientist.

Talk to Tweeters

I really value Twitter! I’ve been able to connect with soooo many people in tech that I wouldn’t come across in my day to day. I have a non-tech career and we don’t have any tech teams based in our offices.

Luckily, I have followers and people on twitter who are eager to help me with a coding problem or if I’m not understanding why I’m generating a SyntaxError or a NameError. I found that using the hashtags #CodeNewbie and #100DaysOfCode gives me a bigger reach, enabling more people to come across my ‘save me from this coding problem’ tweets.

I also follow/followed a bunch of people who code in Python or who are just learning like myself. I’ve directly reached out to people who have helped me with installing jupyter notebook via Anaconda.


Other than Twitter, there are a number of platforms that I’ve found useful in my coding journey.

joinelpha – A great women-only platform, where women in tech post about their good/bad experiences, their journey to landing a job in tech and general advice that women can relate to. I posted about deciding on whether to go with WordPress or Medium to start this blog, and I was really pleased with how responsive women were. Check it out!

Codecademy forum – This is really ace if you’re taking a codecademy course! I’ve found that there is always a solution to a python coding exercise that I haven’t managed to figure out. Also, people are great at explaining their rationale. We’re not alone, there are many people going through this self-taught journey.

Slack – I recently joined a slack group 100DaysOfPython, I must admit I have not been very active, but I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled.

Action plan

So work has really been kicking my ass, like literally kicking me across a football field. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!

BUT I really miss learning to code, especially the mini projects on Codecademy and problem-solving aspect.

Here’s a few steps I plan on taking to get back on track / develop:

Action Learning plan – So I semi had a learning plan but it’s worth me revisiting it and updating my key milestones. I also need to sit and formulate a plan that is SMART as I do have a career that I need to juggle this with.

Attend more coding workshops/meet-ups – I have been to quite a few and it is so motivational being around fellow coders. I attended a Django workshop where I partially built a website and pushed my code to Git for the first time. I’ll blog about this soon.

Coding Bootcamp – I’ve done extensive research and have reached out to people. There are 2 bootcamps that have caught my eye, I do see this an option in the near future. However, I am really enjoying learning at the pace I’m currently at. I also want to see what I’m capable of doing on my own.

I am more than capable, tomorrow, I’ll code again!

Tweet me tips – @MillennialRach