How to Gain Study Motivation While Learning New IT Skills?

On our site, we constantly talk about the learning process - what to learn more effectively, where and how to learn what you need to succeed, but very rarely talk about where to find the motivation for this. Where can we find the force that will lead us to acquire new skills, educational resources, and materials, no matter how wonderful they are, are not able to motivate us - this is just a tool for gaining knowledge.

Let's talk today about motivation, and figure out how to support it when it seems that you don't understand anything at all, and you want to quit studying in the first minute. I will tell you a few personal stories and practices that help me personally not to give up everything halfway, but to finish each started training, each course, each book, or just a tutorial (you must admit that we very often do not even finish short tutorials to the end).

In order to gain study motivation while learning new IT skills, I would adhere to the following simple principles: focus on small tasks, not on a global goal, take your time and master the material consistently, adhere to at least one non-commercial goal during training, learn how the information studied applied in real life, be merciless to yourself. About everything in order.

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Focus on Small Tasks

For me, this is the basic principle on which all my personal learning is based - this is how I studied at the university and this is how I continue to educate myself now. Starting to learn new material and learn a new skill, for example, learning JavaScript, do not set yourself the goal of learning JS, no matter how stupid it sounds, set smaller tasks that are achieved in shorter periods of time.

For example, start by learning simple math, changing styles when the user meets certain conditions, or keyboard listening. In a word, divide your global goal (to learn JS) into smaller ones. These smaller goals to evaluate are often written in the table of contents of books, or they talk about them at the very first video lesson of the course, in extreme cases, you can google and find out which modules your training may include (you must agree that it is difficult to split the goal into smaller ones, even if the name of the course you do not understand up to the end).

Self-Focused Attention and Negative Affect

Self-Focused Attention and Negative Affect. Rather Older Article but still Actual. Highly Recommend (source)

Human psychology is so arranged that without getting any results for a long time, we simply lose interest and motivation in this. By splitting the global goal into smaller ones, we thereby make our tasks more achievable, which means we will notice progress, albeit small, but still progress. So, the chances that you won't forget the course you bought three months ago on Udemy and only took the introductory lesson are higher.

Take Your Time

We all have different rates of perception of information - we can memorize the same material in different ways - for different periods of time and in different volumes. No one argues with this, and this is normal. For example, I learned SQL perfectly in a week, and my classmate at university took three months to do it, but he learned Spanish in 2 years, and I still can't write a sentence. Hence, my advice is born - do not rush.

Take Your Time Meme

Take Your Time Meme

All these courses and stuff like "Learn Python in 10 hours" or "All you need to know about computer networks in 30 minutes" is bullshit designed for viewing, when in fact such headlines make you feel insecure and complex the fact that you absorb information and remember material much worse than others (although this is not at all the case) and they are not able to achieve any more effect.

Don't cheat and learn new material at your own pace. Broaden your horizons - if something is not clear to you from the current lecture, refer to other literature or a tutorial on YouTube, do not write off to watch the next lecture or read the next chapter - such training will only take you time and there will be zero benefits from it. For example, if when learning Python you feel that you are not strong in mathematics, then you should first remember the basics of mathematics. Continuing to learn Python in this case is inefficient, and inefficiency always leads to a loss of motivation, whether you notice it or not.

One non-commercial Purpose

I talked about this very briefly in the article about training tips for getting a job faster (if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you check out this article at the link), but today I will talk about it in more detail. Most of the time, our learning goals are the same - get a job, get promoted, become a freelancer, or succeed in a major study program (like a university). These are logical and clear goals, but they are what lead us to lose motivation.

The fact is that one way or another, all these goals have a commercial basis. Study to get more money. It is because of this thought that many employees quickly burn out to the position for which they have worked for more than one year, or students are disappointed when they cannot find a job after university. The point here is that you must have at least one non-commercial goal when teaching. It is this goal that will drive you forward and keep you motivated and willing to keep learning.

This non-commercial purpose can be anything. For example, when I was studying web development, my goal was to develop a website for a charitable organization that was engaged in providing educational materials for low-income children in IT (by the way, then I got the idea for this site). Or, when I was learning Python, I was eager to help journalists automate the collection of information from different resources to make their work easier (after that, I worked for a short time in online media, which I wrote about here).

Real Life Implementation

It is not enough to study something to the smallest detail, you need to know and be able to apply it to solve real problems. If you know how a nuclear reactor works, this does not mean that you can fix it if necessary or assemble the same one if necessary. You need to know the real application of what you are studying, and I think you understand this very well. There are two ways to understand this - when you have already started working or if you communicate with the right people.

Subreddits Search - Reddit

Subreddits Search - Reddit

The second option suits us just fine. Communication with different IT specialists in different areas has always attracted me because this area is simply huge and even analysts in different areas and companies can do completely different things and one may not be able to do what another can. That is why it is important to communicate. Reddit is the perfect resource for this.

By creating just one thread in the thematic community, you will receive a ton of comments from experts in your field, each of which can be sent to private messages, ask about the job, difficulties, and the learning process, ask about hiring, and the interview stage. In a word, ask them to share experiences. In 90% of cases, they will be happy to answer you, because the IT community is very open and loves newcomers who are just coming into this field and who are ready to learn.

Be Ruthless to Yourself

A lot of the students I've talked to find that the merciless learning process is much more effective - they try to learn everything very quickly until the motivation leaves them (Python in a month, Data Analytics in 3 weeks, etc.) while learning 3 -4 hours every day. I myself was like that and took this approach, for example, when a huge amount of material had to be covered for the graduation project. Then in a few months I "learned" Python, PHP, SQL, computer networks, and system administration.

Stop Hitting Yourself - The Simpsons Meme

Stop Hitting Yourself - The Simpsons Meme

Such intense training does work but over a very short distance. If someone has studied foreign languages, he will understand me - you can learn new words and expressions the evening before the dictation and write it successfully, but after a week these words will be forgotten and fly out of your head as easily as they flew in. A very simple rule - what is easy to remember is also easy to forget. Therefore, here I want to give you some very simple advice - study as long as possible in order to study thoroughly so that nothing knocks this knowledge out of your head.

Of course, within reason. You don’t have to study Euler diagrams for two years, but as much as you think is necessary, how much time you need to understand everything to the very end so that there are no questions for yourself. This point is very closely related to the second, where we talked about not being in a hurry. Going back to my example about the stack of backend skills I learned at university in a few months - I forgot 80% of what I learned after I graduated from university (depressing statistics, isn't it?). It was then when I covered so much educational material in such a short time that I lost my motivation to study for about another year and I did not receive anything useful from "effective learning".


In this article, it was important for me to show you how motivation works in the learning process. I wanted to show you how important it is to be mindful of yourself and understand what kind of really effective learning process will be beneficial for you. Listen to yourself more often and ignore the clickbait headlines and other people's opinions like - "I learned this overnight while watching Netflix and passed the exam with excellent marks." Learn the way you feel necessary and be attentive to yourself, then the motivation will never leave you.


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