Scheduling can be a headache, whether you’re trying to find time for a team meeting or finally booking that dentist appointment. Making time to learn to code might feel like just another commitment you have to deal with — but luckily, there are lots of different ways to make it work.
The cool thing about Skillacademy courses and paths is that they’re designed for self-guided learning — meaning you get to decide the pace and frequency that makes the most sense for you and your life. You can stop to take a break at any time. Whether it takes you three months or three years to find a rhythm, we get it: There’s no one-size-fits-all learning schedule, because we all have different priorities and responsibilities in our lives.
Skillacademy learners in our community have come up with some creative ways to carve out time in their schedules to learn to code, often balancing full-time jobs and childcare duties to boot. Read on for the top time-saving tricks that helped Skillacademy learners fly through courses, discover their passions, and even launch new careers.
Got your own go-to trick for making time to learn with Skillacademy? We want to hear about it! You can share your story with us here.
Block out time on your calendar
When React and Native Developer Doug Henderson got serious about learning to code, he would look at his Google calendar every morning and mark any free time that he could devote to coding. “I knew during my lunch breaks I could do 20 or 30 minutes; and sometimes I could learn before I left for work, if I had time,” he says. Scheduling these chunks of time allowed Doug to spend a cumulative total of 2 to 4 hours a day working through Skillacademy courses and watching supplemental videos on YouTube.
Aim for bite-sized chunks
Between working at a pub and homeschooling her young son, Gwen Bradbury was already spread thin when she started to learn PHP and React. “Looking back, I have no idea how I did it, to be honest,” she says.
Skillacademy’s courses are all self-paced, so Gwen could split up courses and lessons into as many fragments as she needed to get it done. “Between homeschooling and working at the pub, I’d sneak an hour here and a half hour there,” she says. “Since it’s all in bite-size chunks, it was manageable to just do a section at a time.” At this pace, Gwen landed a job as a Junior Full-Stack Developer a year after she started learning.
Take advantage of free WiFi
Anyone with a commute can relate to the way Bobby Hutter felt at the end of his 20- to 40-minute drive home: “I had zero motivation to work on coding,” he says. “I mentally associated home with comfort and rest.”
Conveniently, Bobby discovered that a Panera Bread that he passed on the drive home had a membership option that enabled him to get free beverages and use their WiFi for $10 a month. It was easier to stay motivated while working out of the restaurant, so it became his “drop-in office space,” he says.
“Monday through Friday, I’d stop at that Panera on the way home, and I’d dedicate two hours to learning to code,” he recalls. “During the pandemic, they closed at 8 p.m., so I also had that external motivator of knowing I have to get this module completed or I have to get this portion of this course done.” Obviously, you don’t specifically need a local Panera to make this strategy work for you — maybe there’s a library or park with WiFi that could provide a similar change of scenery?
Multitask (if you can)
Learning to code while you’re “on the clock” at your place of work is probably not the best move — unless, of course, your team leader is A-OK with you doing so. As a security guard, Casper Tollefsen had predictable pockets of downtime during quiet shifts that he used to catch up reading books about game design and programming. “I made sure that while I was working my shifts, I listened to audiobooks on an earbud,” he says.
Don’t have the flexibility to learn at your job? You can try listening to podcasts about coding on your commute or while you’re out running errands. Or you can always consider asking your employer to give you time during the workday for professional development. (You might be surprised by their willingness to help you out!)
Give yourself permission to have off days
If you’re having trouble finding time or motivation to stick to your learning plan, it could be a matter of lowering your weekly learning target to something that’s more sustainable, or connecting with a programmer pal who can keep you accountable. You know yourself best, and there are lots of ways to adjust your goals and customize your schedule so it truly works for you.
How did you set aside time to learn how to code? Share your story here — it could be exactly what someone needs to hear to keep going. If you’re looking for coding motivation, read more success stories from Skillacademy learners like you or check out our blog for additional learning tips and handy resources.