Studio: Boosting Confidence

At this point in your learning journey, it’s normal to have doubts about your progress. This class can be challenging. In this studio, we’re spending time as a group to discuss our experiences, as well as build our confidence in our coding abilities.

Doubting progress is normal and common. Supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor, Serena Williams, Tom Hanks, and multiple CEOs have all questioned their success.

The struggle is real, and an open conversation often helps.


First, a little perspective. Identify which of the following tasks you have already done or know that you can accomplish:

  1. Use code to print “Hello, World” to the screen.
  2. Define, initialize, change, and use variables.
  3. Convert the string '1234' into a number.
  4. Construct a for loop to repeat a task 100 times.
  5. Construct if/else if/else statements to decide which of three tasks to perform.
  6. Build, modify, and access an array.
  7. Design and call a function.
  8. Call one function from within another function.
  9. Find and fix bugs in a segment of non-working code.

How many of the 9 items listed above did you indicate? There is no ‘passing’ score for this. Whether you checked all 9 or only 1 or 2, simply saying, I can do that, means you have more coding skill than the bulk of the world’s population.

On your own, spend two minutes gathering your own thoughts and writing down a skill area not related to coding that you have some experience in? Share this with the studio group.

Some examples from your home life:

  • Are you an avid home cook?
  • Do you know more about how your car runs than your family?
  • Are you so good at needlepoint that your friends are asking you to start an Etsy site?

Or examples from your work life:

  • Are your presentations so beautiful that your CEO weeps?
  • Is your calendar so organized that your coworkers blush when they see it?
  • Can you turn any grumpy customer’s frown upside down?

Doubt and uncertainty are normal, especially when exploring a new career. However, with the skills you already know, you can legitimately say, I am a coder. Combined with the skills you will learn during the rest of the course, there can be no doubt. You ARE NOT pretending.


Take a few moments in the studio to consider, share, and discuss the following with your group and your TA(s):

  1. Since joining the course, have you ever felt unsure about your future in the tech workforce?
  2. Have you ever responded to a compliment by diminishing the work that earned you the praise? If so, why did you answer in that way?
  3. Have you ever compared yourself to the students around you? Do you think that this was an objective comparison?
  4. What are you most proud of from your time working with this course?
  5. What are your strengths?
  6. What gives you confidence?
  7. How can you use your effort and strengths to boost your confidence?

Helpful Tips

Here are some tips that we recommend to help boost your confidence:

  1. Acknowledge the thoughts, especially when you enter a new point in your life. Recognize that your feelings are normal.
  2. Put it into perspective. You have been in this course for a short period of time. It is OK if you do not understand everything on Stack Overflow or recognize all the details about the latest technology.
  3. Review your accomplishments. Think about your life prior to programming when string, object and function all meant something much simpler. Your learning has been real!
  4. Share with a trusted friend, teacher or mentor. Other people with more experience can provide reassurance, and they probably felt similar doubts when they started.
  5. Accept compliments. Luck will not earn you your tech job. There will be LOTS of candidates, and you will shine enough to set you apart. When someone compliments your effort or the quality of your work, graciously accept!
  6. Voice your worth. Many people use daily exercises to affirm their abilities. Here is an example. .
  7. Teach. This is a great way to reinforce your learning, and it helps you recognize how much you know.
  8. Remember the power of ‘Yet’. You are not the master of all skills, of course, but you do know how to learn. With more practice, you will fill in any gaps in your knowledge.

Other Resources