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Matt Studdert
Matt Studdert

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Why it's never too early to start teaching others to code

For many new developers, there is no small amount of imposter syndrome in the early days of learning to code.

I remember when I started out I was intent on hoovering up all the knowledge I could from books, tutorials, articles, etc.

The fact that I started coding at 28 years old also meant I had a strong sense that I had some catching up to do.

I wanted to diversify my approach to learning and also give back to the community that taught me. So, I began helping others learn to code early on in my new career.

You too may feel that you need to constantly have your head down learning before you feel you "belong".

Hopefully, what I'm about to tell you will show that you are never too "junior" to start teaching others. Also, by teaching others, you too will speed up your own learning!

So, here are my thoughts on why it's never too early to start teaching others to code.

There is always somebody who knows less than you

No matter how far along your coding journey you are there will always be someone who's at an earlier stage.

Have you done a single tutorial? Congratulations, you're now more experienced than someone who has done none!

You can help others take the next step in their journey. Write about your experiences, offer your time at local workshops or online courses. There are so many different ways that you can help people who are newer to coding than you.

The fact that you might be new to coding can actually be an advantage. If you're teaching people who are one step behind you on the ladder, your experience will instantly be more relatable.

Teaching others will supercharge your own learning

Want to speed up the learning process? There is no better way to do that than to teach others.

If you would like to truly master a concept, you need to teach it to someone else.

Explaining concepts to other people will help you internalise them. Even if you feel you know a topic by heart, you'll be surprised at how others will open your eyes to new perspectives by coming at it from a different angle.

Help the community move forward

You may have a unique way of teaching or some characteristic that resonates with certain people. By putting your thoughts and experiences out into the world you can help others improve.

Find your own voice and teach people in a way that you'd love to be taught. You never know who you might help!

Employers love mentors

Helping others proves to potential employers you've got more than just technical skills.

Even as an inexperienced developer, you can show that you're a well-rounded professional who will work well in a team. Help tip the balance of potential job offers in your favour by showing that you enjoy teaching others.

The process of helping others also has a massive impact on your own communication skills. To explain concepts in an approachable manner requires thought and clarity. Building your communication skills alongside your technical skills will only ever benefit you.

Meet new people who love to code

Teaching others is a great way of meeting new people who also love coding. Whether it's online or in-person, you can meet some amazing people from all walks of life.

Coding can be quite isolating at times, so it's nice to find one or more communities to become a part of. It can be extremely fulfilling to be an active part of a community that is helping people develop and improve their lives.

Keep in touch

I love meeting new people, so please feel free to say hi πŸ™‚

Follow me on Twitter @_mattstuddert.

I run a site called Frontend Mentor where you can practice your front-end skills by building projects in a real-life workflow. If you'd like to practice building web pages with the help of a supportive community, check out the Frontend Mentor site.

Follow Frontend Mentor on Twitter @frontendmentor.

Cover image credit: NESA by Makers on Unsplash

Top comments (8)

juniusfree1 profile image
juniusfree • Edited

I'm 27 and also trying to catch up FAST! This is great.

Unrelated questions:

  1. What do you think are the most important skills that you developed that led you to your first job as a front end developer?

  2. What do you think are the least helpful skills? (e.g. time wasters or can be developed later)

  3. What are the other learning techniques that you used?


mattstuddert profile image
Matt Studdert

Glad you liked it!

  1. Beyond being technically able to show that I could build interfaces, I would say my communication skills were a big reason for getting my first job. As a junior, people expect your technical skills to need some work, however as a professional it helps to be able to communicate your ideas effectively regardless of your background. Also, a willingness to learn is obviously crucial.

  2. Distractions with new shiny toys (libraries, frameworks etc) for sure. It's great to keep your ear to the ground and stay up-to-date with the industry, but as a junior I feel it's important to focus on the fundamentals of a language. So clarity of focus is a must-have skill, especially in the early days trying to break into the industry.

  3. I try to learn from all different sources, as I find it helps solidify my understanding of concepts. So, from very early on I started reading books, doing online tutorials, building personal projects, listening to podcasts, attending meetups and also teaching others. I also made sure that I learned the same topics from multiple people to try and get a more well-rounded viewpoint, even if I already knew the concept.

Hope these answers help!

juniusfree1 profile image

Thanks Matt!

leocsdev profile image

I'm on my late 30's now learning to code...

hashimwarren profile image
Hashim Warren

This comes at the right time. I've been wanting to teach a few JavaScript basics that would connect well with marketers, but I'm a bit afraid of not being technical enough, and missing something important.

mattstuddert profile image
Matt Studdert

Glad this article came at the right time for you Hashim!

It's always a scary proposition, but you will be absolutely fine. In the beginning, there were some questions I couldn't answer. But you just say "I'm not sure, but let me look that up for you" and then you learn something new for next time someone asks the question.

People will always be supportive if you're also trying to help them move forward.

mattstuddert profile image
Matt Studdert

Thanks for the reply Charlie. The catch up is definitely real! Just keep at it and it will come with time. 20s is still super young! πŸ™‚

ben profile image
Ben Halpern