Published on

What to do if You are Stuck in a Coding Tutorial?

featured Image

We've all been in that situation. I've been learning to code and finishing instruction after tutorial, but I'm still stuck. Then comes the self-doubt. "This is very difficult." "Perhaps coding isn't for me," you could think. I'm sure you've experienced it.

This is an issue that I recently encountered. I'm a reasonably experienced junior PHP developer, but I've chosen to brush up on my Python skills, particularly Django. I checked online and discovered what appeared to be the ideal lesson. Complex enough to be hard, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming.

I loved the aesthetic of the final project because it was a project-based instruction. I thought it would be a fun addition to my ever-expanding portfolio.

I experienced a moment of self-doubt around 80% of the way through this session. I had watched the tutorials and retyped all of the code by hand. I have a cool project that I wanted to show off. So why did I feel like I was in the same situation as when I started?

After many weeks of going through a lesson in the evenings, I had a great finished item. Even then, I didn't feel confident in my ability to duplicate the job without assistance. Is it possible for me to include it in my portfolio?

Was having a portfolio project that looked and worked the same as everyone else's really that impressive? And which of them contained code that was identical to the instructor's GitHub profile code?

Had I actually demonstrated anything other than my ability to follow instructions step by step?

It's true that following tutorials is beneficial. You'll gain experience with new talents. However, simply following tutorials will not teach you any of the other skills needed to be a good junior developer. I'm referring to:

  • determining which tools are ideal for a certain company need while planning and managing a project looking for solutions to your own issues
  • resolving issues that undoubtedly arise throughout the development process

Tutorials are a great way to get started quickly.

Tutorials are a great way to get started quickly.

To put things in perspective, I'm a 29-year-old former plumber who now works for a software firm as a junior developer. I made the decision to shift careers around a year ago.

Like most new coders, I started with the basics and worked my way up to more sophisticated training. My major concentration was on studying PHP (at the time, it was the only language I'd ever heard of). I quickly learned the basics of its syntax and use.

Let's fast forward nine months. I had finished enough lessons, had sufficient comprehension, and demonstrated the drive to persuade a local software firm to hire me. (To learn more about how I persuaded an employer to take a risk on me and pay me to learn to code, go here.)

At the end of the day, my ability to provide real-world examples of projects that I had produced helped me stand out as a candidate and acquire a job in such a short period. And when I say projects, I don't simply mean anything I copied and pasted from a tutorial.

You can only go so far with tutorials. Then you must begin your construction initiatives.

You can only go so far with tutorials. Then you must begin your construction initiatives.

Don't get me wrong: I love tutorials. Especially for newcomers who are still learning the basics. The quality of the lessons and the amount of explanation will, of course, vary substantially. However, simply watching video after tutorial will not make you an expert.

You'll have to create your own projects. You should begin developing things on your own once you have a good knowledge of the syntax and fundamental implementation of your chosen language. There will be no more hand-holding.

"What do I build?" is a typical response when I tell folks this. "I'm at a loss for words."

No one is counting on you to create the next great thing. Even if you had the concept, you probably don't have the abilities to carry it through.

Here's a list of roughly 500 such projects, along with some solutions.

You may also construct something like a blog. Yes, there are thousands of instructions available on how to create a blog. You may have already copied and pasted the code into one. This may not appear to be a particularly spectacular endeavour, however...

Create your VERY OWN blog. Before you begin, sit down and outline the many processes and features it will have. Investigate and select the languages and frameworks you'll employ. Learn how to install the tools you'll need and set up your development environment on your own. When you're stuck on an issue or feature, go to Google and look for the best approach to solve it.

If you do this, you will learn 10 times more than if you followed a lesson. If you do this, this one project will be worth more than the 20 instructive projects in your portfolio.

You may not need anything else in your portfolio to begin looking for employment, depending on the intricacy of your selected project. It's possible that your code isn't the best, but it's YOUR code. You can explain every word of it, as well as how and why you reached to the conclusions you did.

You'll have also demonstrated your ability to manage a project, work autonomously, pick up new abilities as needed, and present a finished result. You now have a number of useful talents to offer a prospective employer.

Don't be discouraged if you've been learning for 12 to 18 months and haven't found a job or don't believe you're ready. Please don't give up. Don't start believing that a "magic" bootcamp will cost you thousands of dollars. Simply begin creating and you'll be shocked at how rapidly you can advance!

Because of the emphasis on project-based learning, a rising number of individuals are landing employment right out of freeCodeCamp.