Day 5: Learning Something vs. Practicing Something

I hit a wall yesterday. I’m rushing through the Codecademy course so that I can get into the Free Code Camp curriculum since I’m going to repeat all of this through that program anyway.

That reminded me about learning vs. practicing though.

I once had a martial arts instructor in New York City that mentioned if a person just did 30 minutes a day, they’d be way ahead of the pack within six month. ...a lot of that is practicing though, it’s not necessarily learning something new.

Professional developers might write and debug code all day but a large percentage of that is not learning code. They might learn something new in debugging it, but most of their efforts are put toward doing what they already know, over and over. Building something with a skillset they’ve already learned. Practicing their art.


Learning entails getting something through your short term memory, reinforcing it enough so that it sticks to ultimately get it through to long term memory. A huge element in cementing memories into LTM is sleep. You can’t get around that. There are ways to hack this process a little (or to increase STM capacity), but you’re dipping out of 80/20 benefits quickly there.

At the end of the day (literally), you can only retain so much in your short term memory.

If you want to truly learn something, consistency over a period of time is more important. Lean in to your limits of retention, but recognize burnout and avoid it. 


The biggest difference between the two is that practicing involves repetition, or re-execution, of what you already learned.

A good learning plan would entail breaking your daily lessons into reviews, learning something new, and then practicing what you already know. If I was optimizing this 100 Days of Code. I would systematize the process more to support practicing over learning (Memrise’s process comes to mind. They’re really good at that!).

Since I know that I’m jumping right into the Free Code Camp curriculum after this though, optimizing is less important to me. I’m more interested in getting through Codeacademy’s courses (HTML, CSS, JS, Git, Console) so that I can jump into Free Code Camp and relearn (re-execute, iterate, retain through use and application).

Show Up and Keep It Fun

All this to say: don’t beat yourself up if you get to a point that feels tough, or you feel burnt out. Just show up and play with some code. If you do five minutes, amazing! Two hours? Awesome. 

Today’s Log and Notes

  • typeof operator
  • hasOwnProperty
  • if (suitcase.hasOwnProperty("shorts")) ...couldn't you just use if (suitcase.shorts) { ?
  • I'm still sketchy on for-in loops. :-/ I'll find a video later. 
  • constructors to define classes
  • Why no semi-colon after a function (class, object)?
  • prototype intro
  • className.prototype.newMethod ...I see where they're going with this.
  • class inheritance
  • DRY principle restated ;)
  • Prototype chain
  • Private variables

Time Coding: 1 hour 1 min.

Pushups: 12 (bench pushup). Also rode the bike to and from the office. 19.6 miles.