Is watching someone code a good way to learn?


I have started coding along the curriculum, and learned a lot of stuff. However when i want to create something and i watch a video on how to do it i feel so guilty. Is watching someone code and code along the video a good way to learn?

It helps you learn to read code and can give you insight into the thought processes of other developers, but if you aren’t writing code yourself you aren’t going to learn to write code. (By ‘writing code’ I don’t mean typing. I mean coming up with the solutions yourself.)


I would appreciate if i could get more opinions and experiences!

Watching someone code teaches you how to watch someone code.

Writing code teaches you to write code.

That said, scrounging little pieces of code to help you do small, specific things is a good skill to build.

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Hey @Rebecka!

When I first started I was caught in the tutorial hell for a few weeks. I would code along with the instructor and build a project but then wouldn’t be able to create something on my own.

You have to be really carefully about video tutorials as tempting as they can be. You are not thinking about how to solve the problem or even questioning why they choose that particular method over another. You are just accepting the instructor method as absolute truth and only way to do things. When in reality there are plenty of ways to do things.

Tutorials are not evil but you do have to know how to use it. Watching a 15 minutes tutorial on how to do something small is fine. But watching a 5 hour course and just coding along isn’t going to help you grow as much in my opinion. Or if you are going to build a project from that 5 hour video, try messing around with the code afterwords. Break it if you have to and put it back together again your own way.

It is best to create a project away from a tutorial and google what you don’t know.

Hope that helps!


People learn by imitation, and by applying and exercising and extending what they learned, so they develop the ability do it themselves. So yes, you can learn something by watching others, but your skills will be limited to what they did, unless you code yourself and take it to your own levels.

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Lets say that i want to add a 2 factor authentication to my web page , but i have never done it or know how to do it. How would you or should i approach the problem?

This is the key. Watching a video to learn about a small, specific thing is good. Watching a video to duplicate a project is a bad idea.

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I would probably dig around a little bit online and on stackoverflow. I think watching a video for this instance is fine because you are looking up a specific task for a project.

Where you get into trouble are the videos where you do 15 projects in one setting or one giant project that is a 6 hour long video. That would be an instance where you are just copying at the point and not questioning anything. Or at least break apart those projects and put it back together but maybe with more features or something.

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