(ง •̀_•́)ง Ming's blog

A visit to the Tutorial Hell

Like all others who try to teach themselves how to code, I once visited the famous Tutorial Hell.

Elmo with fire GIF

It all started when

I landed in the project section of freeCodeCamp’s Responsive Web Design Certification. I have completed all lessons before it, so I guess, technically, I should (at least) know how to start the project.

No, I don’t. Well, if not, I can always watch a tutorial on YouTube.

One after another, watching tutorials started feeling like talking to my dad: I keep getting an already told story/concept. Then why do I still get overwhelmed when starting a project from scratch?

First problem: I have no output after all the inputs.

Sure, watch a tutorial if you are new to the topic, but remember to always (and always) output something after consuming content. Any kind will do, you can talk or write about it.

If you take notes, be aware that your goal is never re-organizing information that already exists.

If it is a follow-along tutorial, explain how to build it in your own words. Listing out the building steps helps you reverse practice breaking down a big task. Plus, you are collecting building blocks that you can use later. For example, you can build a web page that gives you random gifs when you typed the word GIF by combining a “key sequence detection in Vanilla JS” and a “serving data from an API” tutorials.

Everything is well

Baby Yoda GIF

until I found myself keep failing to stick with freeCodeCamp curriculums and a learning roadmap I put together. I got sidetracked by project ideas or tools I want to learn.

At first, I thought this must be my inability to stick through a plan/tutorial, and it should be painful because I am training my “sticking with something” muscle. As you might tell, this is a very wrong way of thinking.

Second problem: Trying to follow a too specific plan

One of the fun parts about learning programming is there are so many things to learn, and to an extent, there’s no specific learning order. Just pick one and start learning. You will naturally create your learning path as one concept leads to another.

In the end, any online or offline courses are just a collection of information about a topic. Go in and take what you need, then use it for what you want to do.

Coming back from the hell

simon pegg and nick frost GIF

I learned how to jump between tutorials to find the one building block I need. I am experienced enough to build stuff just by reading the documentation.

Whenever I stumble onto someone’s craft that makes finding the building blocks easy, I thank these tutorial angels from the bottom of my heart. I try to be one myself by writing about the projects I build. Your work will always benefit at least one person: the future you.

If I can talk to the pre-hell me

I am still sending her to the Tutorial Hell. I will never truly learn what my learning style is until I have been through what I don’t like and adjust accordingly.

#codeNewbie