What's the difference between being stuck in tutorial hell and starting something on your own but constantly having to look stuff up on how to do things?

What’s the difference between being stuck in tutorial hell and starting something on your own but constantly having to look stuff up on how to do things?

Here’s the short version:

  • Tutorials = someone tells you what to do = no active learning
  • Building your own stuff and Googl-ling everything= active learning

In tutorials, you’re told what to do, basically. You take that information and then you do it. You follow along and nod your head and think you’ve got it, right? Not really, because you’re not actually thinking and coding. Even the best instructors like Colt Steele can only give you some guidance at best.

When you’re building your own application from scratch, the minimum you’re going to start with is some sort of “boilerplate” - i.e. a “Hello World” prototype usually. And then you’re not given any information on what to do or how to do it. You have to take an active role in deciding how to proceed, how to think and problem-solve, and then actually code. The problem-solving is the biggest part. You don’t learn problem-solving by following along to something. As much of a paradox it sounds, you learn it by doing it.


the second one is real programming

it is normal to look stuff up all the time, but you are deciding yourself what to build, making choices on what tools to use, which is not something you ever do in tutorial hell, where you just watch videos, maybe do some code-alongs

the second one is when you learn what you know and not know, and you progress


The biggest difference is more what your goal is for looking up the content.

Usually tutorials guide on how you can do something generically at a higher level, usually where everything works, and you get an idea of what you can do.

When your working on your own project, odds are you will need to look stuff up to help you deal with what you have done, and getting help on why it isn’t working the way you expect.

You can tell your in tutorial hell if you find your only doing the first thing, and almost never the second thing. As the second only happens once you start venturing out on your own, and run into your own challenges “not covered in the tutorial”. The fact you end up with problems is totally normal. Some people get scared and go for another tutorial rather than start digging into the problems they face.

Simply put building software is complicated and there will be problems. Programmers aren’t super geniuses writing everything from scratch with perfect code from memory with no help and creating no bugs. Programmers are problem solvers who run into a problem, understand the problem, then find answers to said problem.

Good luck, keep learning, keep building :+1:

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I think this is the main reason why so many people leap from tutorial to tutorial. Especially beginners.

When I first started learning, I would leap from udemy project to udemy project and just code along with the instructor.

I didn’t ask questions.
I didn’t do research.

And at the end of the day, everything just worked.

But when I tried to build something on my own, I couldn’t do it.

I didn’t know where to start.
I didn’t know how to research.
I didn’t know how to read errors messages.

Tutorials wrap everything up in a nice neat bow for you.

But building projects on your own forces you to think and act like a developer.

There is nothing evil about tutorials.
There is a lot of great content out there.

But don’t leap from video to video with no end goal.

Have a bigger goal in mind like building your own project.

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