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I'm in tutorial hell

franperezfolgado profile image Fran Perez ・1 min read

I'm a Java developer with two years of experience. Normally I don't feel like carrying out my own projects, but from time to time I feel like I want to learn new technologies and develop my own projects. When this happens I always end up following some tutorials and leaving everything. I always cheat myself saying that I quit the projects because they are too simple ideas or they don't convince me, but the reality is that I don't know how to program outside my comfort zone. Whenever I think of new projects in order to learn, I try to think big and have highly developed ideas, which only leads to frustration and abandonment.

I think that to get out of here I need simple and challenging projects that don't need to follow a tutorial in order to move forward.

Honestly, I don't even know the purpose of writing this here, I've been in a creative crisis for several days and I need to get it off my chest. If anyone reads this and wants to share with me their experience and ideas that I can develop, I would appreciate it.

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gabcimato profile image
Gabriele Cimato

Hey Fran, this is quite normal to be honest. Happens to me too, I start with a small idea and think of the 1 million things that I can add to that and then it gets overwhelming and I stop. What I saw that works with many people is to start as small as possible.

Sometimes the simple idea is to build an existing product that I use but a stripped down version of it. There are so many extensions, tools, software I use that don't work the way I'd want them to. So a simple idea is to rebuild them the way you want them to work!

To give you an example, I am using Todoist on a daily basis but I find the browser extension to be a bit clunky and I don't feel like it's worth the money (I purchased the yearly subscription). I'm REALLY confident I can build a simpler version with the bare minimum I need. And there you go, project number 1 is there!

Another idea is to look at things you do repeatedly and try to automate those. But start small! Think of the absolute MVP, as minimal as possible. Then go from there. Not sure this helps but don't be too hard on yourself, this is pretty normal ;)

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Andrew Baisden

Good answer, off topic what is it about Todoist that made you go with it? I have been using Tick Tick which is more a less the same. I think those two are the best To do apps at the moment.

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Gabriele Cimato

Nothing special, just one of the first things I tried and I was looking for something with a simple browser extension. Also I wanted to be able to see my daily checked items so I can basically create a daily report for work.

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franperezfolgado profile image
Fran Perez Author

Thank you for your response. I'll look for something simple to start with without pressure :)

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

What has worked for me is just being more organised when it comes to working on projects. I am using Notion for project management and I have a list of blog posts, apps and skills that I would like to learn. Start small and then eventually create more advanced apps. The most important thing is to actually start working instead of getting stuck in tutorial hell because that leads to stagnation and procrastination which is bad news for programmers.

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Ricardo Luevanos

This resonates with me Fran! I've been dealing with this throughout my entire software engineering career. Here is what I learned:

  1. Going from one project to the next, without finishing them is ok, it's actually a strategy and I try to have a portfolio of projects that are in progress so that I can bounce between them, or something new, to my heart's content. This helps me stay engaged and it gives me broad exposure to different challenges and styles of doing things. I'm not hard on myself for moving between unfinished projects anymore.

  2. Projects that get finished, no matter how small, will yield different learnings. Something completed can be analyzed, scaled, and improved - these are important areas for developing your skills. The size of a project hasn't mattered for me. Small can still be complex, and large can still be simple. Focus more on the process and what you are learning vs the size of a project. The importance or value of a project won't be its size, it's the problem it solves and what you learned building it.

One last tip. Something that has helped me with my frustrations and abandoning projects was to find someone at the same level as me, trying to do the same things, and start tackling projects together. There is power in teams, and this will unlock a whole new set of skills. It's also easier to build momentum and be accountable when others are depending on you.

Hope this helps in some way, keep at it!

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Fran Perez Author

Thank you very much for your response