How to Watch a Coding Tutorial [and actually learn]

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So you are on Twitter or LinkedIn, trying to start your journey as a Developer and these people keep telling you:

"You should not waste your time watching Udemy/Youtube courses, you won't actually learn!"

"I read the documentation, you should do the same"

"You will only learn if you build something and not by watching tutorials"

Well, they are partially right, but also wrong!

You DO have to build things. You DO have to read the documentation, and you SHOULD NOT only rely on video-tutorials.

BUT...What if you learn better visually? What if English is not even your first language, so only reading the documentation would confuse you?

If that is the case, then I would like to share with you a couple of things that worked for me and several other Developers!

How to learn from video-tutorials correctly

1. PAUSE ⏸️

There will be a moment in the tutorial when you will notice that the instructor is about to code the solution to a problem. When you reach that point, PAUSE the video.

You will feel tempted to just see how he does it. You will even think:

"I'll try on my own next time"

"This is easy/hard, so I won't bother, let's see the solution"

Don't give in. This will become a habit if you do.

2. THINK 🧠

Make sure you spend a meaningful amount of time trying your own solution!

Research the problem, troubleshoot, fail, try again.

Here is where those people from above got it right: Documentation is your best friend in these situations.

3. RESUME ▶️

So you really tried your best and couldn't solve the problem on your own? Don't worry! Make sure you don't overdo it.

You are not expected to be able to solve everything on your own if you're just starting! Hell, even Seniors are not expected to solve everything on their own. So don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself.

Play the video again and compare your approach, see what you did differently and how you could improve!

4. MAKE IT YOUR OWN! 🔨

Make sure you are building something that can be shown to potential employers! You cannot show something that is exactly the same as in the coding tutorial! Because you could have very well copied the code...

Instead, add features, change styles, layouts, functionality. It is ok if you keep the general idea, but make it different enough that you can call it YOUR work!


Just as every person is unique, your journey will be too. But hopefully, you can see that there are some patterns that many successful developers follow again and again in order to learn!


Check my previous articles:

👉 How I Helped my Wife Learn Front End Development

👉 The Importance of Array Methods in JS [explained with food]

Sandeep Panda's photo

Awesome content - but you missed “General Programming” tag. Please add it so that it appears on user feeds. :)

Bryan Guillén's photo

Corrected, thanks!

Anthony J. Oyakhilome's photo

Probably fell in this trap of let me just see the solutions a few times. Thanks for bringing it up. I'll do better.