I’m working on becoming a front-end web developer. Something I’m struggling with is finding the balance between studying and applying the knowledge.
In the world of web development, there’s an infinite amount to learn. There’s always a new framework, a better way to do it, a new programming language. By the time you’ve finished a course something better already exists. This makes it easy to get stuck in tutorial hell.
Going from learning one thing to the next. Chasing the shiny tech of the week. But after a couple of months, you look back and see that you haven’t made any real progress. You have a lot of knowledge but your skills didn’t improve. Knowledge is not the same as skill. You didn’t internalize the knowledge and apply it. The client is not paying you for your impressive knowledge, but to build something which solves their problem.
Does this sound familiar? You’ve completed a course and think you understand the concepts. You open your code editor only to find out you’ve no idea where to start. You have some knowledge, but you didn’t practice it to turn it into a skill.
Practice takes time. It’s slow. You can watch a 10-hour course at 2x speed and skip the exercises. But you didn’t save time… you just wasted 5 hours. If you aren’t applying and learning what’s the point in doing it anyway. Slow progress over a long time beats going super hard for 2 weeks and quitting.
You don’t need more information. You need more action, you’ll get the information just in time when you run into problems.
Reading a book about learning to play guitar get’s you started fast. But the value goes down fast if you’re not practicing 2x as much as you are reading. You can only become good at the guitar by practicing, not by reading about it.
If you are not building, you are not learning.
The Cozy Tutorial vs The Blank Page
It’s comfortable to follow tutorials. There’s no wrong way to do it, all the hard thinking has already been done. You only have to follow along. Practicing is hard. In courses, there are things you take for granted. Such as a clear definition of what you’re building, a pre-determined tech stack, and a design. Also, the application logic and structure are thought out. You don’t see all the trial and error and revisions.
If you are building something yourself from scratch you are faced with an empty page. This is way harder, but it’s the only way you really learn. It’s more frustrating. Because you’ll get stuck in all kinds of ways and the solution is not right in front of you.
Rule of thumb: Spent more time building than learning
Information feels good, practice makes you good.
Who are you more afraid of as your competitor?
The guy who’s watched 12 Udemy course or the guy who’s watched one and created 10x mini projects and rebuild 3x websites.
Always. Be. Building.