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Things I Learned From #LockdownConf - Part 1

Recently FreeCodeCamp's Quincy Larson and Hashnode's Fazle Rahman joined forces to host #LockdownConf, a free online developer conference. It featured panels of developers from across the globe discussing topics ranging from learning new skills to finding developer jobs during the current pandemic.

In this series, I'll share some key highlights from each panel discussion.

Panel 1 header

Panelists included Dhawal Shah, Emma Bostian and Angie Jones.

One of the big takeaways for me was that we should be using this time to become more T-shaped developers.

T-shaped people have a basic knowledge of a wide set of skills with a more in-depth knowledge of one specific domain. For a developer this might be a broad understanding of front end development and deployment pipelines, and a specialisation in React.

Spend the time to focus on one area and on one course - pick something, then complete it before you move on to something else.

Key highlights header

  • Everybody has ups and downs. It feels like we have extra time at the moment, but sometimes you can't use it to be productive. You can't learn new skills if you're not okay. Take care of yourself first.
  • Use your up days, the days where you are feeling good and productive, to learn new skills. Don't force yourself to study if you're not in the right headspace to learn.
  • Don't get distracted by the choices. There are so many resources online to learn many different concepts, it can be easy to lose focus. Pick one or two things that you would like to master during this time, find a way of learning them and commit to it.
  • Learn things for fun that are not job related. Maybe you've been wanting to pick up a new language or learn to play guitar. By studying things that aren't related to your work, there is less pressure to learn the material.
  • Don't memorise solutions, understand the concepts. Knowing how to do something is different to understanding why we do something. It's important to learn the fundamental concepts behind the implementation.
  • Time and willpower are finite resources, don't make it harder for yourself by going back and forth on deciding what to study. Pick one thing and stick with it.
  • Teaching somebody is learning twice. Being able to teach another person helps you identify gaps in your own knowledge. Whether this is through making your own tutorial or answering a question on Stack Overflow, explaining a concept to somebody else helps cement the idea in your own mind.
  • Run your own race. Focus on your own journey and try not to get distracted by other people. Keep your eyes on your path. If you spend too much time looking at where other people are at in their own race, you'll start to go off-track.

Time management header

  • Form a system. Whether it's a to-do list, or sticky notes on your wall, or a Trello board; form a system that allows you to keep track of the topics you are studying.
  • Chunk it down into smaller, achievable tasks. If you want to learn front-end development, your first goal might be to learn the basics of Javascript. Breaking it down further, your first task might be to understand and use Data Structures in Javascript.
  • Make sure you're getting enough sleep. This helps the brain process and memorise what you're learning.

Imposter syndrome heading

  • This is something that a lot of people deal with. From famous authors and actors to people newly starting out in their careers.
  • Give yourself 30 seconds to write down 10 things you're good at. The time limit means there isn't enough time for Imposter Syndrome to argue whether you're good at something or not, and by the end you'll have a list of 10 things you can look at and say "I actually am good at this thing!".
  • Recognise your small wins. You won't reach your big goals overnight, or in the next week, or maybe even the next year - and that's okay. It's important to look not at the big picture but the small steps that will get you there.
  • What is an expert, anyway? There is no defined set of skills that somebody needs to be an "expert". Own your own expertise - just because there are other blog posts and tutorials out there, having your own voice and approach sets you apart from everybody else.

I hope you enjoyed this recap of the first panel from #LockdownConf, How To Learn New Skills While Social Distancing. You can find the conference in it's entirety on the FreeCodeCamp Youtube channel.

Stay tuned for my next post reviewing the second panel, How To Work From Home Effectively. Got feedback? You can find me online at

Top comments (5)

emmabostian profile image
Emma Bostian ✨

Aww great write up thank you!

cameocodes profile image

Thanks for some great tips!

andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦

I like this because it gives us (the panellist) an introspective on the experience.
I really liked what @emmabostian said about everyone having their own personal journey.

marcoosnt profile image

These tips are really encouragment.
I start learn front end dev during this quarantine on free code camp,and use complement materials from udemy.
it has been a way to keep mind focus and not so distracted on bad news that appears all the time on tv and internet.

josephmaina profile image
Joseph Maina

Thanks for sharing this summary.