Break out of Tutorial Hell - What to Do When You're Going Nowhere
- Do an online course
- Follow a To-Do App Tutorial
- Start your own project
Surely if you follow this path, you'll reach the pot of gold at the end.
You start dedicating your evenings to this path, and after several months, and hundreds of hours of painful struggle and work, you're finally ready to set out on your own.
You fire up a text editor, ready to code your great idea - but you have no idea how to code. All the knowledge is in your head, but when it comes to how to string it all together, nothing comes.
What went wrong? You did the work. It all made sense in the tutorials.
Maybe you started too soon? Perhaps you need to spend more time doing courses? You struggled with generators, after all. You definitely have more to learn. You pick up another course...
You have now entered what is affectionately known as tutorial hell.
Why courses don't work
You need to build up the skill part of coding.
What you should do instead
It seems really stupid to say this, but you need to code on your own.
It sounds stupid because this is exactly what you have difficulty doing, and why you're going back for more tutorial hell.
The trap you (and most beginners) have actually fallen into is that you've picked a project that is far too difficult for your current ability.
You need to start with a tiny project that is solely to help you learn. These practice projects differ from regular projects in several key ways.
- It should have one clear goal
- It should be small (even smaller than what you're thinking)
- You should be prepared to throw it out at the end
I think the part worth highlighting here is that a practice project doesn't have to be useful or even good. In fact, it's better if it's not.
You'd be surprised at what you can learn by making a button chase a user's mouse around the page... or run away from it.
Set a small, achievable aim, and then commit whatever coding crimes you need to get there.
Right now, it's more important that you're able to code anything. You're building a muscle. It will take time and consistency to grow.
You'll get there one day. For now, do what you can do.