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Published on: June 27, 2020

5 Tips for Self-Learning Developers

Career

When it comes to learning web development, there are a lot of us out there who are learning on our own. With so much to learn, it can be very intimidating. I've done a lot of self-learning throughout my coding journey, and looking back now I wish I could give my past self these tips. However, since I can't magically create a time machine to talk to past me, I want to share these tips to help you learn better on your own πŸ˜„.

The Tips

Looking back on what I was like when I started learning, I spent a lot of my time unorganized, in tutorial hell, and spinning my tires. For a long time I didn't really make much progress, and I had no idea why. After implementing the tips I'm about to share (and others) I got myself organized and out of tutorial hell. I firmly believe that no one needs formal education to learn web development, but it is also not the easiest to learn on your own. With that said, it's my hope that these tips can help you on your journey πŸ’ͺ🏾.

1. Make A Routine

When you have a routine, it gives you less opportunity to brush things off. Coding is hard, and if you don't set aside time to learn then it can be really tempting to continue to tell yourself "you'll get to it later". Life happens, and sometimes you just don't have the time, but routines are awesome because it gives you dedicated time for an activity. For me, I got up at 5am Monday-Friday before I went to work. For you, it might be you stay up an hour later before bed. No matter how you do it, having a routine time to learn helps to hold you more accountable to yourself, while also making sure you've got the time to learn.

Bonus Tip: Add this time to your calendar so you don't forget!

2. Try to Spread Out The Learning

When you're trying to learn something new, it's better to learn things in small frequent chunks as oppose to large infrequent chunks. If you only practice every Saturday morning for example, there is a lot more room to lose the things you've learned. By practicing everyday, even if for short periods, you're better reinforcing what you're learning. Essentially, cramming won't help you as much as spreading things out. This idea was one I learned from experience, but later found out is a well researched learning method called Spaced Repetition.

3. Make a Path For Yourself

With so many things to learn in web development, having a path to follow can be invaluable in helping you avoid the feeling of getting lost on your journey. Even more so, once your path is made you're going to be more organized in your learning while also having a better understanding of everything that's out there to learn. Here is a link to a FreeCodeCamp article that can help you build your path: The 2019 Web Developer Roadmap. One thing I will say is please don't feel pressured to know everything, because no one can know everything.

Bonus Tip: If you want a place to narrow down and organize yourself, check out Notion πŸ‘πŸΎ.

4. Track Your Wins

This is soooo important. No matter what you do, learning to code is hard. Especially when you're going into it alone. Imposter Syndrome (when you feel like you're getting nowhere even though the progress is there) will set in, and if you do your best to track your wins you'll always have a place to view your accomplishments when you're feeling like you won't make it (but you'll make it πŸ˜„πŸ’ͺ🏾). Being able to go back and look at all of the stuff you've accomplished shows you how much you've grown, and gives you the needed confidence boost in the moment πŸ‹πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ.

5. Find & Share with a Community

There is a saying that I've read a lot that reads "If you don't share it, it doesn't exist". Obviously everything you make exists, but no matter how much of a beginner you are you shouldn't be afraid to share your work. If you really don't feel comfortable, share the things you build with your friends/family and get their feedback. Sometimes we can't see the errors in the things we build, or someone else has a different perspective that's helpful. Once you're ready to branch out, there are communities you can share things with. Twitter has communities like CodeNewies, DevCommunity & FreeCodeCamp where you can use hashtags so other people could see your work. Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, even if just a little πŸ˜„.

Well Here We Are πŸŒ…

Those are my tips! I am by no means an expert in self-education, but I've done a lot of self-learning and I wanted to share the tips that helped me on my journey in hopes they help you on yours. If you did find these tips helpful, or if you wanted to ask a question or say hiπŸ‘‹πŸΎ, you can follow me on Twitter.

Happy Learning Folks πŸ˜„πŸ‘‹πŸΎ.