How To Escape Tutorial Hell?
And just like potato chips, tutorials too, have an adverse effect of excessive consumption landing us in a “tutorial hell”.
What is “tutorial hell” exactly?
Tutorial hell is when you continuously watch one tutorial after another, expecting to rise from your deep dive into Udemy as a master of your trade but realize that you did not learn anything practical once you actually start building.
But what lands you into tutorial hell in the first place? It is the sense of comfort. With tutorials, you have someone tell you precisely what needs to be done, creating a pseudo-classroom that leads you to believe as long as you are listening, you are learning.
With tutorials, it is also easy to measure how much you think you have learned. For example, 15 hours of tutorials translate into 15 hours of learning for you.
However, this is far from true.
Are tutorials ineffective?
Tutorials are not ineffective whatsoever. They create a solid foundation for experiential learning to build upon — but only when used in moderation. This is similar to how schooling or college worked — they form a great foundation, but aren’t directly helping you with gaining expertise at work.
Each tutorial is a solved problem, where all hurdles have been passed and solutions found. An overdose of such spoon-fed solutions, though, is what will stunt your growth as a developer.
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How to escape tutorial hell?
The first step towards escaping tutorial hell is to start building. Use the tutorial you just saw and apply it to an old project or replicate the code and customize it to a new project. As soon as you start running into problems, seek help.
Escaping tutorial hell through a simple application is easy and has the added advantage of benefitting from the 70–20–10 model.
If you are not familiar with the 70–20–10 model, it says:
70% of the learning comes from job-related activities (in this case, applying tutorials to build projects).
20% of the learning comes from others (seeking help when you get stuck applying what you have learned).
10% of the learning comes from formal and informal training (watching tutorials).
So, use tutorials as a starting point but avoid falling into a rabbit hole by building your own projects or forking some existing code to refactor. Even consider contributing to open source raising pull requests — whether the pull requests get approved or not is immaterial.
The idea may seem intimidating at first, but you will learn way more about coding by building than simply watching someone else code.
I write about growing as a developer and a career in tech and attaining mastery and faster growth in your role. — You can connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.