Escaping Hell

bigboybamo profile image Bamiji Oyetubo ・1 min read

It's actually funny, the only reason i joined dev.to was because i saw a post off a google search about escaping tutorial hell and that the best way to learn (and really learn coding) is by building real projects. I found that article really helpful but also confusing and somewhat scared me a little because how are you just supposed to start building something you know nothing about. For example I've been learning and practicing javascript for about 5 months and i want to get started with node, am i just supposed to start building the backend service when i know nothing about it like at all? Honestly being a newbie the whole "tutotrial hell" stuff still confuses me.


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jakesweb profile image
Jacob Colborn

For me "tutorial hell" was going through a tutorial, step-by-step, and then just moving on to the next tutorial. My learning style dictates that I apply my knowledge first hand. Tutorial hell is going to look a little different for each person based on their learning styles. Here is my current strategy:

1) Run through a tutorial for a whole brand new technology (I don't always do this, for instance for the hackathon that Dev.to is doing with web monetization I just jumped right into Vue.js. I had seen someone coding with it on Twitch and I was intrigued. I just looked up documents for Vue.js from their site and other blogs).

2) Take the knowledge I have and apply it to a project to secure those skills in my brain. To run back to step 1, if I feel like I know the direction I am heading and I think I can tread a bit on my own, I may just dive right in.

The #1 most important/critical/useful thing you can do as a learner (a developer is just a life long learner after all) is figuring out how you learn the best. What makes you retain the knowledge. What gets you from 0-100 the fastest. It can be challenging. For me, going through American public school from the late '90s to the late '00s, there was no learning style. Learning happened one way and one way only.

Maybe you learn best with tutorials, but you need to know when to break away and build something. That's "tutorial hell" part 2. You can feel stuck going from tutorial to tutorial. You never build anything yourself. You never actually make. Making is a big part of development.

As one last bit, I have been rambling, don't stress too much. Take time to evaluate how you best learn. Join different communities and find peers that can help you succeed. Work hard, but don't overburden yourself.

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madeline_pc profile image

I don't have much to add to Jacob Colborn's thorough and well-articulated response, but I thought I could share my own perspective as a coding newbie who is just beginning to break out of tutorial purgatory herself. It is possible!

I think that what really helped me to feel comfortable about starting to build my own projects was just kind of letting the things I've learned percolate in my brain for bit. When I started learning some Javascript concepts (especially DOM manipulation) I quickly became overwhelmed and felt like I would never be able to do anything without following a tutorial. Nothing made sense after the video was over.

But I kept working at it a little bit each day. I felt like I wasn't making any progress, but I was. Now writing Javascript comes easier. What took me 30 minutes of racking my brains and googling now takes a few minutes. Be patient, be persistent, and don't be afraid to use tutorials as long as you are truly thinking through the process and writing out the code along with the instructor.

And absolutely, building your own things - they can be simple things - will help you see where the gaps are in your knowledge. Then you can go from there.

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Bamiji Oyetubo Author

Thank you Madeline

thaboradio profile image

I believe tutorials are great if you have a goal in mind.

I was learning Angular. I ran through the tutorial and started building using the knowledge acquired, and this was the best because it gave me an overview of what I can and cannot achieve using, I was able to get a lot of questions answered.

Jacob Colborn mentioned that the most important way to learn is to know your learning style, and I agree with him.
Just after I started using Angular, I thought it'd be best to share that knowledge with someone, and I did. I was helping a friend of mine with his Angular project, this was my way of retaining that information.

All the best in your learning journey.

bigboybamo profile image