Most programmers I know say they sometimes feel “stuck” in their learning progress. Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate developer, or an experienced senior dev—you’ll eventually hit a point where you feel like you’re no longer making progress:
- Where you think you’re no longer learning new things.
- Where it feels like you’re making backwards progress, and your skills seemingly atrophy and get worse over time; or
- Where you recognize you’re good at what you do—but you don’t know what to learn next, or how.
It happens to all of us. For example, I found that I’m the happiest when I can learn new things and then apply them in practice or teach them to others. Every time I hit a plateau like that this feeling of being “stuck” strikes at the core of my identity. If it lasts for too long I get uneasy. It’s almost like I’m losing my sense of purpose.
Not a nice feeling at all.
But I’ve also been around the block enough that I know I can overcome it, that I can shake it off eventually. What usually helps me get my bearings straight again is talking to my friends who also work in the tech industry. I found it’s important to talk with people who are in the same boat:
The folks that I went to university with or former colleagues who can relate to my “geek angst.”
I get it that many of the things us programmers are struggling with seem funny or weird to “outsiders”—
I’m not expecting my friend who works as an insurance broker to understand the strange headspace I can get in when I think that “my learning progress is stuck” (after having worked in the industry for a decade.)
Let’s be honest here, this sounds ridiculous to a “normal” person… 🙂
But it’s a real feeling—and one that’s quite common in the programming community.
The quickest way I found to overcome it is to talk to people that you feel comfortable pouring your geeky heart out to. Whether you’re learning Python on your own, working by yourself as a freelancer, or if you’re the only Pythonista at your company:
Experiencing this sense of community and exchanging your thoughts with other techies will have a huge benefit on your quality of life. I know it did on mine. And I want every developer I know to be able to experience the same:
That’s why I started PythonistaCafe, a peer-to-peer learning community for Python developers.
It’s an idea I’ve been kicking around and refining since July 2016. And over the last few months it finally became a reality.
A good way to think of PythonistaCafe is to see it as a club of mutual improvement for Python enthusiasts.
We have members located all over the world, and with a wide range of proficiency levels. I’m impressed by their diverse skill set and the depth and quality of the conversations we had. Every day we discuss a broad range of programming questions, career advice, and other topics:
We now even have some open-source projects and Kaggle data science competitions we’re collaborating on to help people build up their portfolio and gain experience. It’s been a ton of fun—and a great “Python support group.”
You can learn more about PythonistaCafe, our community values, and what we’re all about at www.pythonistacafe.com.
In part, I also started PythonistaCafe to “scratch my own itch”—it is my new home when it comes to Python. Each week I receive a ton of emails asking me for programming or career advice. And to be honest, it’s hard to keep up with them all.
If you need access to me to help solve a Python problem or get advice in what direction to go, the PythonistaCafe forums are where you can find me. I’m checking the forums and replying to topics and questions every single day. If you’re looking for an alternative to my 1:1 Python coaching program a membership in PythonistaCafe might be a great fit for you.