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Naftali Murgor
Naftali Murgor

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How to get out of tutorial doom

Introduction

As a new developer, you are constantly bombarded with Youtube tutorials, newsletters with titles like: “Learn React in 30 minutes” and whatnot. It’s so insane.

In this blog article, I’ll share my view about the so-called “tutorial doom”.
Tutorial hell is when one confines all forms of learning to curated tutorials in the form of Youtube videos.
Let’s see how to avoid falling into this pit.

1. Get out of the comfort zone

Getting out of a comfort zone is like a rest. Taking on a project as a freelancer and sweat through it to the end can be a great way of learning. At some point, you will learn things on the way as-needed using standard docs, blog articles and tutorials as you build the project towards completion.

2. Goal oriented course of action

Want to build a mobile app for a business? chances are you already know some React. You can begin by building a mobile application using React Native. As you progress, the overall goal would be to build the mobile app. 6 months down the line, you’ll see your React Native skills slowly improving. Why? because you have a goal set.
I blocked Youtube using an extension because Youtube nowadays has “clickbaity” videos such as “Learn X in y minutes”

3. Going back to the basics

Our brains are tiny, we can never recall all the details. We can never memorize details instead we refer. Once I feel stuck, I go back to the standard documentation or book to refer and get the gist of what I’m supposed to do.
Memorization is for school, once you feel you are stuck, ask for help, look up the problem or call a friend to help out.

4. Build, build, build

Build things off the concepts you already grasped. You don’t have to complete the projects you’ve built. I recently wanted to learn how ORM and Migrations work in Laravel, I built a small dating site to learn the concept. Build small throw-away projects to get a finer grasp of the concept. It's much easier to learn a concept in a small project than learn the concept in the midst of a large project. It gets quite overwhelming.

Conclusion

Tutorials are good at breaking down a concept so one can dive in and start hacking but tutorials are not the alpha and omega of learning. My use of tutorial goes like this:

  1. Get project concept
  2. Break the project into small bits
  3. For new parts, I look up tutorials related to these parts to see how it is done(blog article type)
  4. Use the tutorials to tackle the project with all project requirements and goals in mind

Summary

Here's how to get out the most of tutorials:

  1. Look for projects as a freelancer and tackle these projects. Small projects can be a great start.
  2. Build small projects that solidify learning about a concept
  3. Write blog articles about your progress in learning and observations, tips to document the fun!

Do you feel stuck with learning modern JavaScript? You may preorder Modern JavaScript Primer for Beginners where I explain everything in a clear and straight-forward fashion with code examples and project examples.

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