CodeNewbie Community

Cover image for [On-Demand Talk] The Beauty of Being Stuck
Jonathan Yeong
Jonathan Yeong

Posted on

[On-Demand Talk] The Beauty of Being Stuck

About This Talk

When we get stuck, we often have feelings of frustration, doubt, and stress. In my talk, the Beauty of Being Stuck, I argue that being stuck is a good thing. It's an opportunity for growth and an indicator of progress - something that can be hard to come by as a developer! By changing our mindset around this tough situation we are better prepared to get unstuck. Finally, I'll discuss the different types of being stuck and offer tips to get unstuck.

Takeaways

  1. A new way to think about being stuck.
  2. The "Ok Plateau" and why it's so dangerous if you're looking to improve.
  3. Different ways to get unstuck.

Resources

Slides

>> Click here to download slides

🌈 Comment below and ask me questions β€” I might just answer them during my live speaker discussion!


About Jonathan

Jonathan Yeong is a Senior Developer at Shopify and a Rubyist at heart. In his spare time, Jonathan produces videos about all things programming and writes on dev.to and CodeNewbie Community about topics that matter to early-career developers.

Connect With Me


This on-demand talk is part of CodeLand 2021 β€” a virtual conference brought to you by CodeNewbie & DEV on September 23 & 24, 2021.

Discussion (28)

Collapse
michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington (he/him)

Heyo! If you have any questions for Jonathan (@jonoyeong ) please drop them here! πŸ™

We're gathering up these questions for the live speaker discussion coming up later on. πŸ“£

Collapse
whatnotery profile image
Jos O'shea (they/them)

I'm early on in my learning journey. I've been coding little one page vanilla JS apps just to practice and on a couple of them have felt completely lost before starting but eventually after the coding equivalent of throwing spaghetti at a wall figure it out on my own . You said in your talk there's value in reaching out for help when you're stuck and I'm sure I would've solved these problems faster with guidance but is there also value in just hacking at it until you get something that works?

Collapse
jonoyeong profile image
Jonathan Yeong Author

Yes for sure! There's no hard and fast rule, it's all guidance. And everyone has their own way of approaching a problem. I'd still suggest using a timer to set how much time you hack on a problem. In a job you might not want to spend too much time on a task. And even though you might happily hack away, it may be a detriment to your work.

A timer is also a nice break, and a point to pause and reflect on how far you've gotten!

Thread Thread
whatnotery profile image
Jos O'shea (they/them)

Thanks for the response!

Collapse
elleon003 profile image
elleon003 • Edited

Wow - the first 45 seconds of this talk make me feel so seen LOL.

Question: what do you think are the best indicators for a person to identify what level of stuck they are on? I know for me, I struggle mightily with when I need to take a break vs when I'm just going down the wrong path. What are some of the warning signs to look for?

Collapse
jonoyeong profile image
Jonathan Yeong Author • Edited

Hahaha yay I'm glad it was relatable! Also, great question! Knowing when to take a break vs going down the wrong path comes with practice. The more you get stuck the better you get at getting unstuck.

Some indicators that have helped me in the past have been:

  • Try explaining a problem to someone else who doesn't have any context. This is like rubber ducking, but the added benefit of them asking you questions. If you're struggling to explain something that's an indication of where you should focus on. And it can help you figure out what level of stuck you're on.
  • Use a cue to reflect on your current mental state. A timer is popular, but you could use a visual cue (every time you see your dog yawn for example). What you're trying to achieve is figuring out where your attention is. If you can't really remember what you were doing or you're not making progress. Then that's a good indication for a break!

Hope these help!

Collapse
peeyou profile image
pee-you

getting unstuck is possibly the greatest temporary high in programming. until you hit the next block.

Collapse
austinxduong profile image
austinxduong

so trueeeee, its roller coaster of emotions haha

Collapse
callumreid profile image
callumreid

Figuring out what the question is always seems like the hardest part. Escaping the woods by learning greater concepts is a great answer to that, but even figuring out what concepts you are missing can be tricky if you are lost enough

Collapse
austinkempker profile image
AustinKempker

Amazing job with this talk Jonathan. You gave really great examples on being stuck and how different "types" of being stuck can be solved in different ways. The perspective shift from fearing being stuck to acknowledging it as growing as a developer is one that I will have to practice and adopt. Thank you!

Collapse
jonoyeong profile image
Jonathan Yeong Author

Thank you! I appreciate it!

Collapse
noviicee profile image
Novice

Amazing talk Jonathan! Those examples really got us. This is definitely going to be helpful for the audience. The connection you made with as growing as a developer was amazing! Thank you!
(Going on YouTube and Twitter to subscribe and follow :)

Collapse
sharacrosslin profile image
Shara Crosslin

Thanks for a great talk, Jonathan πŸ‘πŸΌ
The intro was so relatable! I really appreciate the mindset that being stuck is evidence of progress. I find myself getting lost in the woods fairly often. Do you have advice for how I can prevent myself from going down a rabbit hole when trying to nail down the concepts I'm stuck on?

Collapse
jonoyeong profile image
Jonathan Yeong Author

I mentioned this in the panel, but setting a time limit is the best advice I can give. When that timer goes off, that's an opportunity to step back and figure out if you're making progress. If you're feeling like you have more to learn then keep going. Otherwise, stop, take a break and come back to the problem. Or ask for help!

Collapse
kirandev profile image
Kiran

This was fantastic! There's a lot of valuable pointersΒ here, and it's all conveyed with a sense of humor. It's been quite beneficial to me as I learn to code. Thank you for the extra resources, as well!

Collapse
peeyou profile image
pee-you

It's almost like there's a link between learning your way out of getting stuck, and learning your way out of imposter syndrome (community.codenewbie.org/metzinaro...)

but i'm stuck on what it might be....

Collapse
stephback profile image
Stephanie Back

Thank you for such a great talk Jonathan! It was great to hear the trials and tribulations of being stuck can be restructured for good! It's difficult to overcome being stuck as a newbie but your insight will make these instances less terrible! Thanks again! :D

Collapse
debrakayelliott profile image
Debra-Kaye Elliott

Jono! πŸŽ‰

Collapse
fizzybuzzybeezy profile image
fizzybuzzybeezy • Edited

OMG, it's not an exaggeration! Though mine typically goes D-A-Gaming-B-OkayMoreGaming.

Sometimes I feel like I need some of that doggo math. Just wag and press on, lol.

Love the analogies, Jonathan! Breaking it into categories where we step back and ask ourselves what kind of problem we're facing gives us some space from the issue as well.

Thanks for the talk!

Collapse
xelaflash profile image
AlexG

very nice talk.

Collapse
tracycss profile image
Jane Tracy πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»

Great talk, enjoyed it.
I was stuck in a project this week but after taking breaks helped me think outside the box and find a solution.

Collapse
stevenyholm profile image
Steve Nyholm

Good talk about a common experience. I think how many times you get unstuck is a key difference between a beginner/hobby developer and a professional. Loved the editing, made it fun to watch!

Collapse
ckn00b profile image
Christian New

great stuff @jonoyeong ! It really is important to let go and take a break so you can pass that sticking point.

Collapse
austinxduong profile image
austinxduong

Loved this talk and will most definitely check out the resources, thank you JonathanπŸ€—

Collapse
terabytetiger profile image
Tyler V. (he/him)

Stuck Stonks πŸ“ˆπŸš€

Getting past a "stuck point" is always an amazing feeling!

Collapse
chisomochiweza profile image
Chisomo Chiweza

A bit late to session two but I am glad I have landed upon this beauty !

Collapse
srivera12 profile image
Sarah Rivera

This was amazing! So much great info and conveyed with humor. Really helpful for me as I'm learning to code. Also, thank you so much for the additional resources!

Collapse
ana profile image
ammpedro

I loved how you differentiated the levels of being stuck and then working from there to get unstuck. Thank you for the introduction to Joshua Foer’s work 🀩