Following tutorials

I have a question which has been bothering me for quite some time. Sometimes (okay most of the time) when I start a FCC challenge I have no clue where to start, how to go about the challenge, etc. Just complete confusion. I try some stuff but it ultimately fails because I’m just writing random stuff.

So I end up searching for tutorials online whether that be through YouTube or a blogger who has finished the challenge. These tutorials help me pass the challenge and I understand 80-95% of what is going on.

However, isn’t that cheating? Since it isn’t my code. I don’t copy/paste, I type it all out, change the variable/function names etc to force me to think about what I’m using, and really try to understand, and take notes. However, like I said it isn’t my code and when I finish the challenge I feel grimy and like a fraud. If on the other hand I do try to write my own code I end up nowhere.

My question is, to what extent is following tutorials acceptable? How do I follow them without basically copying code? Looking at posts on here, Reddit, etc it seems like people have come up with largely original solutions to the challenges but for me it feels so impossibly difficult…


Hey! Interesting question. I think the best way - try to make stuff on your own at first. Make the best you can. And then - when you finished - go and follow the tutorial and see their solution (in the most cases - their solution is better- more efficient, more elegant, using some features of the language you haven’t even herd before etc - and actually this is normal, we are just beginners.
You will learn a lot from the both - sometimes, it’s very important to be ready for new information.“aha” moments are vital - they will appear only if you got stuck, fail, made mistake. imho

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The goal is to learn so do whatever you have to to learn quickly. You say you are understanding most of what you are doing so you are learning.

You’re right that I have to learn quickly. I’d love to take my time but I have a deadline to get a job :frowning: I definitely feel like I am learning but I can’t shake off feeling like a fraud :smiley:

I do not think there is a single person on this site who would say I have not cheated if they were to see all the things I have done to finish challenges on this site. Which is why every once in a while I try to go above and beyond on a project to make sure I actually know the things I previously learned.

Looking at my react redux roguelike project I am working on makes the “fraud feeling” go away for me. When I first started this site looking at a github project similar to my roguelike would be completely impossible to even begin to try to understand.

EDIT: I think I was kind of making it sound like its okay a bit too much. When you just learn something you should understand it 100% not 80%. If you move on without understanding something completely then the things that build on it later will also make no sense. If you really are that lost and can not do anything by yourself you probably should relearn things from when you first started having a lot of trouble. Going through things again will give you a better understanding and will be a lot faster than the first time.

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I agree with the part about understanding what you are doing. Once I mindlessly copied code for a project that I did not understand at all and I felt so bad I deleted it all lol.

I just finished my calculator project for which I used a tutorial but I understood everything and learned a ton, especially about object-oriented JS and I’ll use what I learned again but coding it purely myself.

I guess that depends on whose acceptance you’re going for and the tutorial you’re doing. I would advise against copying another camper’s project code, even if they’ve put up a walkthrough on YouTube. I would strongly recommend following tutorials that create their own projects to learn the concepts you need to tackle the fCC challenges.

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If you follow the tutorials, make sure you understand them fully. After you finish the challenge by following the tutorials, delete everything and rewrite. That would confirm that you really know, and the feelings of cheating should go away?


This is what I think I’ll do from now on! Learn the concepts from different projects and apply them to FCC projects. Good idea, thanks! :slight_smile: