Why is learning to code so difficult? (+ how to make it easier)

Daniel Daines-Hutt
Daniel Daines-Hutt
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It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started, if you’re a couple of months in, or even if you’ve been coding for years. One thing is certain and that's the fact that learning to code can be extremely difficult for most people.

But why is this? Why is coding hard to learn for some, but simple for others?

  • Are they smarter than us?
  • Have they trained with monks in the mountains?
  • Or are they Neo from the Matrix and all they see is code?

None of the above!

The reality is, these people simply know something that we don’t.

  1. They know the cause of each problem that stops them from making learning easier...
  2. And the people that really have the easiest time learning to code are those that use proven systems.

Heck, sometimes we don’t even know there is an issue, simply because we’re so new to the topic we're learning. We struggle because we don’t even know the roadblocks that are in our way, and we try to push on with some good old grit instead until we finally give in.

Well no more!

In today's article, we’re going to pull back the curtain and share the 7 major roadblocks that make learning to code so difficult so you can understand why you’re struggling.

More importantly, we'll then give you 3 core principles that you can use to blast through those roadblocks to make learning to code far easier and faster than ever before.

More of an audio / visual person? Check out the video version below and watch along instead.

In it, former ZTM student and Youtuber, Aldo, shares his own coding journey, his struggles, and the ‘aha moments’ and systems that he used to make learning to code easier and push past the major roadblocks.

Or simply keep reading to learn more…

The 7 major roadblocks that make learning to code more difficult

Here at ZTM, we truly believe that anyone can learn to code, no matter your age or background, as long as you're given the right tools and systems.

It’s why we don’t just teach specific languages and frameworks, but we also teach you how to actually learn more effectively, as well as other important soft skills.

Why are these skills so important?

Well, when we break it down and chat with previous students and their own issues, we find that there are usually 7 roadblocks that are causing you to struggle to learn to code, and almost everyone struggles with one or more, without even realizing the issue at the time.

Roadblock #1️. Information overload

There are literally millions of videos and articles out there, not to mention thousands of platforms and options when trying to learn to code.

Which is best for you? What's actually relevant to learn? What content is up-to-date or even well-made?

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It’s hard to know where to even begin, and it’s incredibly daunting, so most people never get past this first step.

Roadblock #2️. Fear of leaving your comfort zone

Then, when you do decide on a way to learn, it can be scary and uncomfortable trying to learn something new.

Even if you're understanding the concepts, they don't always quite sink in as fast as you want or you reach a point where you're struggling on the same concept for hours or days.

That's when you start getting that desire to run to the hills.

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Roadblock #3️. Perfectionism

Or maybe you’re the opposite? When something is hard, you stick to it because you need to be the best.

Each new thing you're learning opens your eyes up to 10 more things you don't know and you feel like you need to learn them all. But there's so much that it just seems impossible.

This fear of needing to know everything stops you from moving forward.

It’s a type of imposter syndrome, where you’re trying to cover your tracks just in case you don’t know something and people realize that you have gaps in your knowledge.

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Roadblock #4️. Learning the wrong thing at the wrong time!

Or maybe you're one of the people who start learning the topics in a less than ideal order and struggle to understand things that you should already know.

Example: skipping JavaScript fundamentals and jumping right to learning a framework like React, Vue, or Angular.

There isn't a "perfect" order to learn things in but you can definitely make learning to code a lot easier by following the right roadmap.

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Roadblock #5️. Trying to learn everything aka ‘Tutorial Hell’

Even worse. If you don’t have a path or structure, it's very easy to second guess everything and end up in ‘tutorial hell’, where you’re just constantly learning random bits from various topics, but never moving forward because you don’t know the path to follow.

This is sometimes combined with Roadblock #2 where you end up watching tutorials on the same topics over and over but it feels good and productive.

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Roadblock #6️. Burn out from doing too much, too fast

And then when you do find a path? Well, it can be so exciting to start making progress towards your goal of learning to code but you dive head-first into it and attempt to learn at a pace that's not sustainable.

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You get exhausted and struggle to learn, and then that perfectionism creeps in again, and you want to give up because it’s not working exactly as you want it to!

Roadblock #7️. Trying to memorize and not learn

Finally, you’ve kept a sane pace for work and you're following a clear roadmap, but you’re not quite grasping the core ideas.

Often this is because instead of taking the time to understand the why behind what you're learning, you’re really just memorizing things.

It’s like remembering the ingredients for a cake, but not knowing that if you don’t add them in a specific order, it won’t rise and will taste awful!

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This is why you need to slow down and help yourself grasp these things. Don’t simply memorize like you did in school for tests.

Instead, take a bit more time to truly understand and actually apply what you’re learning by building projects. Applying information is the best way to understand and retain new skills, while also building a portfolio to get hired or even promoted.

Hands up if you were nodding your head along as you read these issues 🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️

I know I’ve suffered from them multiple times when learning anything new, and we’re all guilty of them at some point.

So, now that we know these common problems that stop us from learning to code (or learn anything really), how do we get past them?

The 3 things you need to understand if you want to make learning to code easier

We dive deeper into how to actually learn more efficiently as one of the first courses that we suggest our students take before even starting to learn to code.

We've also written a free guide on how to learn anything in detail, but let me simplify 3 of the core concepts that can make a huge difference for you and really help tackle a lot of the roadblocks we outlined.

If you can add in some:

  1. Discipline
  2. Patience, and
  3. Structure

Then you’ll find the entire learning to code experience far easier and less difficult.

Let’s break them down…

1) Discipline and consistency beat motivation

Most people rely on motivation to learn or do something new. They’re excited to learn and dive in, but when the excitement starts to drop off and the learning becomes more difficult, they often lose that motivation and simply stop.

For example

The gym is fun in the first week of Jan, but sucks by week 3 when you haven’t seen the results that you want yet right!?

That’s where discipline comes in, and it’s arguably the most important skill or habit to build.

Why? Because when you have discipline, you move away from the results and start instead following a routine. It’s less about asking yourself Have I learned to code yet? and more like Did I complete 5 lessons this week?.

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Once you can start tracking that habit, then you don’t need motivation. Instead, you simply make sure that you don’t miss a day and before you know it, you’ve learned this entirely new thing. All while keeping to a reasonable level of output each day.

Keep doing this for long enough and it all starts to compound and get even easier, as everything you’re learning builds on the previous.

2) Be patient and enjoy the journey

By following that disciplined routine and staying patient and not wanting it to be over as soon as possible, you can start to follow a more consistent, less burn out prone path and actually enjoy what you’re learning.

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Not only does it make the entire process more enjoyable, but it also increases your chances that you’ll follow through on it.

3) Use and follow a structured learning path

Finally, because you’re following a structured path to achieve your goals, you’re no longer stuck in tutorial hell, or facing information overload. You learn exactly what you need to learn, at the right time, and in the correct order.

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I cannot overstate the importance of this, and it seems like we’re being salesy because, of course, we sell training programs right? But no joke, following a tested path by someone who has done what you want to do, is the easiest way to achieve the same results or better.

Is coding difficult to learn?

Of course it is. But the same can be said for any skill that is worth learning.

But as long as you’re aware of the common roadblocks and know how to get past them, you realize that it's completely achieveable. Plus it's totally worth it.

Once in a while, make sure to stop and take a step back to reflect on your learning progress. Are you noticing yourself encountering any of the common roadblocks?

Amazing. Noticing it is the first step. Then come back to this post and remind yourself of how to get through the roadblocks and re-adjust accordingly.

Suddenly, learning to code isn't as difficult as it first seems.

Honestly, it really does feel like cheating when trying to learn something new and you follow these concepts, simply because of how much easier it makes that entire process:

  • No more burnout or second-guessing
  • No more learning the wrong things
  • No more learning 2% of a thousand different things
  • And no more bouncing around. You set the path, and follow it patiently and consistently, and you get there faster than trying to do it all in one week.


So now that you know this, what will you learn this year?

Will you become a Web Developer? Maybe you’ll learn a popular language, build large-scale apps, look to the future of the Web, learn to simplify and automate areas of your current job, or perhaps become a Cyber Security expert?

If you're looking to break into the tech industry but don't have that clear path yet or aren't sure where to start, check our tech career path quiz where we'll give you a personalized roadmap.

Simply answer the questions and we’ll help you find the best option for you and provide you with a clear career path roadmap that you can use to go from complete beginner to getting that dream job this year!

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