Why Learning To Code Is So Damn Hard (Review)

Steven Kneiser
3-minute read ⚠️ Work In Progress

“What every beginner absolutely needs to know about the journey ahead”

I used to recommend this
I used to

…until this timeless essay transferred to a corporate blog with a bland redesign that took all of the soul out of it

I take innovation & technological progress seriously, but I don’t empathize with the sloppy paint job from a “necessary” re-brand just because this “digital asset” changed hands. Have you ever been part of a group project that would rather rush to design logos & T-shirts than solve the problem at hand?

I’ll let you judge for yourself 👀


BEFORE acquisition

vcs-old


AFTER acquisition

vcs-new


You hate to see it: world-class writing just got bought & bent into a strange shape with no soul. It reminds me of a blog post by *ehm* Benjamin Franklin about Britain soon before Americans declared their independence: “Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One” …sound relevant here?

Alright enough ragging on the acquisition …especially their bad paint job. Below is my curated summary & re-interpretation of this framework, using the images I preserved from the original post.

Learning to code is damn hard
& so is crafting a brilliant essay
(not to mention these illustrations)

Consider this my tribute to someone who actually deserves the credit for something in a league of its own. Great work, Erik Trautman! I hope they compensated you well. You deserved it.

Unnecessary Disclosure: I’ve never met or spoken with Erik




The Big Picture

You’ll recognize this brilliant image from BEFORE the acquisition. It’s the very first thing you see, an elegant puzzle before the author cross-examines every angle. This time we get to admire it up-close with relevant labels before we descend into each component.

(tap to open image in a new tab)

The Big Picture

It almost feels wrong, like an unexpected spoiler, but I want you to appreciate that cohesive picture & how much information was packed into that original piece

“that rug really tied the room together”
–Big Lebowski

Why should we care?
What makes this so special?
Why is learning to code so damn hard?

Those are great questions
& fortunately there’s a great essay


Part I: Confidence

vcs-confidence

Day 1: “wait… that actually worked! It just works now everytime!”

Simply magic

You get this pure bliss. You’re an alchemist, a sorcerer. You not only punched a hole in some clay, but you did something that can repeated again & again & again & it won’t lose shape over time.

Simply magic

Day 2: “I’m totally ready to automate my job away”

Narrator: “they weren’t ready”


This is like right after you buy something expensive, with peak expectations about how your life is forever changed for the better


Part II: Resource Density

vcs-density


Part III: Scope of Knowledge

vcs-scope



Conclusion: So what should you do?

vcs-blueprint

Again, all credit goes to Erik Trautman
& I encourage you to read the original
(or what’s still standing)

I used to recommend this
I used to

I’ll savor my own copy from now on

⚠️ Full story: coming soon…

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