By Jennifer Nordell

Having been learning to code for more than a year, I have a few tips I’d like to share with those of you just getting started. These include things that have worked well for me from the beginning, along with practices I’ve adopted over the past year and a half that have made my learning smoother.

Prepare to succeed

When I first started with Treehouse, I wasn’t prepared to learn as much as I have. In fact, I’m still surprised every day when I progress more, learn something different, gain insight, or come up with an alternate solution to a problem. I have managed to meet some brilliant developers through Treehouse who are always willing to share a different perspective, great tip, or learning resource. The amount you can learn with a little motivation and a modicum of discipline is astounding.

The amount you can learn with a little motivation and a modicum of discipline is astounding.

In fact, the amount that you can learn can also be a bit overwhelming. The great thing about learning online is that you get to choose your own pace, your study material, and (to some extent) your instructors. That freedom also comes with a certain amount of personal responsibility. Ultimately, you will have to decide on how to order the information you’re taking in. Suddenly, your mind will clutter with inspiration for future projects, ideas about how to solve a problem or even things you might want to research. You will start receiving Treehouse badges and points, completing challenges, and potentially helping others. You should experiment with different methods of recording links, resources, and stray ideas that you have on the go. There’s a good chance you’ll need them again. If you are anything like me, you might feel like you’ve gone on an information binge.

Treehouse has a fantastic email notification system that provides a wealth of information, including responses to questions you’ve asked, upcoming courses, badges you’ve earned, and more. While you can turn off email notifications, I highly recommend that you don’t. Instead, I’d suggest that you do what I did a couple of months after joining Treehouse — create a free email account that you use only with Treehouse. While you’re at it, subscribe to the Treehouse blog with that account. That way, you can have a searchable record of all the things mentioned above and a sort of informal journal of your progress specifically about your school. I have found this immensely helpful.

The journey over the prize

I began my journey with Treehouse in 2016. On the day I started, I did something both brilliant and entirely accidental. I set a goal for myself to have fun and learn as much as I could. That’s it. That was my giant goal. I’ve had fun, but I’ve altered my other goal to include making real world projects that I can show off.

I didn’t envision a reward, nor did I set a “prize” at the finish line. That, apparently, was the smart part. Although …read more

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