Beginner confusion

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Sometimes I don't know where to start. On a knowledge scale, I don't know what I don't know! I need to remember that this feeling is ok. It makes things pretty tough for a little while, but not forever.

I've recently had two experiences using frameworks in iOS that were utterly new to me, and I knew nothing about them prior. In both cases, the most challenging part was right at the start, when I knew so little that even trying to search for more information was returning irrelevant or unrelated results.

A little while ago, I worked on implementing the most requested feature from users of my Barcodes app for iOS, adding cards to Apple Wallet (now available since version 1.1!). Earlier this week, I used SpriteKit to add a fun little easter egg game to a utility app that I am making to block sites sending cookies.

Mistakes I made:

  • Not searching GitHub deeply enough, to begin with, led to me missing some great implementations. Foolishly I did one search and decided there must not be anything there. Try multiple keywords and variations!
  • Discounting tutorials or resources as I assumed they were outdated.

Things I learned:

  • The absolute basics of Objective C while wrestling with an on-device approach with OpenSSL.
  • How used to Swift I have become.
  • The basics of SpriteKit!

I studied Computer Science at university, and during the course, I did a unit which taught C. It's been a few years since that class, though, and I have become very used to such fancy things as auto-completion and type safety! I'd also done a unit on graphics and animation, but it's been a long time between collision detections. Luckily SpriteKit makes all of this very easy to handle, but you still need to have a rough idea of what you're trying to do to be able to search and find specifics.

As I've become used to Swift and aspects of iOS development, I've also forgotten what it is like to be an absolute beginner. When you start learning anything, it will all seem incomprehensible. You may experience total beginner confusion, with no way out necessarily visible. Just remember that will change. Slowly but surely. Just stick with it, breathe, look for resources and help, and remember all the previous times you were a beginner and then you learned and succeeded.

Trust that your expression won't be the same as the puppy in the photo forever, just for now.


Cover image by Michelle Tresemer on Unsplash