February 28, 2023

What I Learned After My Self-Proclaimed 3-Month Sabbatical From Coding

This article was first published by Shannon Bentley on Medium.

I started to learn how to code back in January 2022.

It was the moment that I declared myself ready to transition from my interpersonal career of always caring for others’ needs from a healthcare and educational perspective.

January was a significant change for the fact that I was taking on learning a skill that was entirely new to me.

However, months later — I will be known to take a self-proclaimed sabbatical leave away from learning this skill.

How did my new journey begin?

Well — once I decided in January, I researched how to learn the needed coding skills. I started with YouTube by watching subject matter experts and IT professionals on the essential coding skills to focus on to transition into a tech career.

Then, I researched the different types of careers that possessed those skills. You would not believe the amount of research I did to ensure I made the right decision.

When February rolled around, I started a new job as a Help Desk Specialist for a staffing agency where we housed our timekeeping systems. It was great because I had a chance to learn about database integration, the differences between hardware and software timekeeping systems, and user authentication.

I also gained access to LinkedIn Learning for free through my company, which gave me a chance to learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If you guessed, I decided to pursue a direction in software engineering.

From that point in March, I signed up to complete SheCodes $99 workshop to learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript again to see if there was something that I was missing.

I only missed a little as the workshop provided a thorough review for me to dive into projects for the first time.

The struggle of learning to code…

Fast forward to my coding bootcamp, and I am coding day and night! Between starting Nucamp back in May to October, I completed 792 total contributions. These contributions did not include projects that I deleted, nor did the contributions include half of the year.

I didn’t get used to using Git and GitHub until officially July/August when my daily coding began.

Then, I started to work on a project that I consider my baby! It’s my baby as I utilized this specific project to continue my journey to learn how to code properly. (I will show it to you guys later once I publish it! 🙂 )

The tricky part about coding this project is, of course, the functionality of coding — i.e., JavaScript and React, which are the programming language and the user interface library that I’m focusing on mastering.

While HTML and CSS can be complicated, they are still the easiest to learn. JavaScript has various complex factors that will ensure you run into bugs and end up with a non-working website/app and an upset emotion.

Why did I take the 3-month self-proclaimed sabbatical?

Ah — coding and I had our faults with each other, and I was so upset that I would lay in bed wondering if this was for me. That ponder turned from one day into days into weeks into months.

At first, I thought that I was never going to code again. I postponed my last course in my Full-Stack bootcamp for Nucamp. The last one — it hurt a lot to know that I felt like I was giving up.

But I had to figure it out myself again. I had to figure out why I was feeling the way I felt with coding. I knew that if I didn’t take a break, I would’ve given up completely.

What did I learn from the leave?

There are a few things that I learned from this journey of stepping away for a few months:

  1. It is OKAY to take a break. Taking time for yourself after learning complex concepts gives your brain a chance to reset. The last thing you want to do is go into crazy mode because you’re determined to switch careers. Always put yourself first!
  2. Remember your everyday life and other ventures. I lost sight of the other things I wanted to do because I was so focused on coding. I even forgot I had a boyfriend — that is serious and not a joke.
  3. Do not start at the same spot when you return; instead, go back to where you left off and go back a couple of steps to see where the misconceptions occurred. Sometimes stepping away for a long time makes you forget why you were so angry at your project and decided to walk away. It also allows you to look at the project from a different perspective.
  4. Remember to ask for help! I have trouble with this only because I am shy in some instances or I feel like I can do it on my own. Do not do this! Remember that getting into tech means you must use your resources and know when you have exhausted them to ask for help.
  5. Go at your own pace. It’s not a race, and everyone has their own journey. You will be surprised at the progress you make versus others’ progress.


Guys — you need to take your life seriously first and learn to take a break from learning anything within tech. The tech world will always be there when you decide to come back.

Peace and love, tech heads!

This article was first published by Shannon Bentley on Medium.
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Shannon Bentley

Shannon Bentley (a.k.a theGlamTechie) is a tech-savvy WOC DIVING into the programming world as a new swimmer: React & JavaScript