Need some tips on working on programming projects

I do not know if it’s related to career question or not, but I would like some tips on how to work on projects.

Do you have any tips or what area I should learn in order to have good planning skills before working on projects?
For example, how to create visualisation on product you would like to create, or mapping the ideas on how to approach the goal, or how to create conception to completion

~Background story~
Last few month, while doing the python course, I had something that I wanted to try. Thus, I started my individual project.

I first started using the code that I learnt from Dataquest course and when I come across something that is out of my knowledge, I searched codes online.

One day, I face my first difficulty. I couldn’t find any codes for things that I wanted to do. (ofc I asked the question in the Dq community, but no response… )
And I realised I spent 2 months trying to figure out the code.

If I know how to plan/prepare better before working on a coding project, I would know how to approach differently and what to search online.
Also, I wouldn’t waste 2 months trying to figure out one thing.

At that point, I realised that it’s not only about my skills of coding, but also I need to know how to think.
I believe that even experts would facing a problem of their skills when working for some difficult projects. I wanted to know how they deal with it.

Thank you for reading and please let me know if it doesn’t make sense…


Hello @kanae.iwase

Sorry about not receiving help on your project on time.

I checked your activities and could not find this particular question that you asked in the past.

What’s it that you are working on?

What challenge did you face?

Like you rightly stated, thinking about the problem comes first. When you’ve figured it out, you then translate the solution into code.

Please ask your question again.


Thank you for your reply!
I was working on complex pivot table here.

Here is the link to my question.

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I will have a look and get back.

Thank you very much!

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Here are some of the things I find helpful when working on a challenging project:

  • Before starting create some documents of what you would like to achieve in as much detail as possible. This might be a list, outline, pseudocode, flow chart, sketch of a figure, etc. I find this helps me focus on what I need and helps with the next item…

  • Break work down into bites that make sense. I might figure out how to code something for a single set of fixed values instead of for an entire dataframe. Or might figure out how to make a static visualization, and not worry about interactive elements until that is refined. I like to create an ordered checklist so I can see my progress.

  • When I encounter problems evaluate if it needs to be solved now or if I can wait until the current work item is completed. Similarly, if you are trying to solve a problem and encounter another one, decide which one is the priority. If you don’t need to solve the issue immediately document it and add it to your list of work items.

  • Remember that sometimes you need to take a break (or several breaks) before you can figure out the reason something isn’t working. I don’t know how often I’ve picked my work back up the next morning and easily solved an issue I couldn’t resolve for hours the previous day.

Best wishes on your learning journey - I think perseverance is the most important part and you have already shown that!


Thank you very much for your reply!
That’s very interesting! I will keep the note and make sure to do those when I work on the next project!