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This story is addressed to my students (If I didn’t state in a previous post, I have landed a Team Lead internship at Lambda), but I thought it’d be a good thing to share with anyone else who might feel like they are struggling as they start coding.


As I was showering tonight, I remembered an experience that might be relatable to some of you from the last few days.

When I was first learning how to write software for iOS, I was following a tutorial that was creating a game. I was looking forward to what we were going to do to make a score tracking system, so when the presenter got to that point, he said something like, "so now we need to create a scoreboard to track how many points we get." I was like "okay, let’s get into the meat of this…", preparing myself for several layers and steps compounding in what would be a comprehensive scoring system.

So then he had us create a label to display the score in. Cool.

Then we created an integer value that the label would refer to in order to display the correct score.

Then we did something like score += 100 and told the label to show the new score in a method where we killed a bad guy or something.

Then he started talking about something else…. I was all, "okay, but what else do we have to do?" and just waited for him to come back to this and flesh it out into a full feature.

The thing is that is was a full feature. I was ridiculously overthinking it. A score is literally a number that is displayed. That’s it. Period. End of story. It doesn’t have any voodoo that makes it special. There’s no extra complexity about it, yet here I was assuming this number was somehow special and therefore treated that way in code.

I think what happened is I was coming into this playing games and apping apps not even remotely comprehending how they come together and make something that works. Therefore, due to my ignorance, I was assuming extra complexity behind the scenes and, when trying to break the problem down, didn’t have any idea where to start. I imagined extra complexity existed that isn’t actually there.

Waiting for the extra complexity actually distracted me from the guide and I wasn’t able to concentrate as well for the rest of the tutorial. Obviously, that made it hard to follow along.

The moral of the story

It’s easy to say "don’t overthink it", but it’s a lot harder to do it. I would suggest trying to identify when it’s happening and perhaps taking a break to process what you just learned or try to change your frame of mind to just focus on what’s in front of it. I don’t know, I’m probably over thinking it, to be honest.

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