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Akos
Akos

Posted on • Originally published at akoskm.com on

Stop Doing Coding Tutorials

Disclaimer I don't want to gatekeep and tell you what tutorials are worth reading. In fact, I welcome all and every kind of tutorial, keep writing them!

This post is for those who are reading them and feel they're not progressing.

About a year ago I learned about the idea of tutorial purgatory or tutorial hell. I'm confident, I can set you on the right course to escape it.


Completing tutorials feels good. They're a lot shorter than a book, ideal for a daily dose of dopamine.

They're mostly free, further encouraging you to grab them, and it can be hard to stop because there's the reward when you complete them!

Finally, I learned how to use Array.map, enough for the day! - said by no one ever

Why there are so many tutorials?

Tutorials exist for different reasons. Some people write tutorials for a living. They write one every single day. Is it the 20th "Getting started with X", "Learning Y in 10 minutes", or the 100th spin on "Why you should be using Z right now"?

Some people write tutorials only to practice writing.

You don't have to read all the tutorials out there on trivial topics like how to use Array.map, that's ridiculous.

I'm not talking here about tutorials discussing how to integrate different tech or platforms that sometimes indeed need a tutorial because the official docs simply cant explain the integration with every possible tech out there.

What to do instead?

You can create plenty by following the official documentation.

Most of the libraries you want to work with already have a simple "Getting Started" page:

React πŸ‘‰ https://reactjs.org/docs/getting-started.html

Others are packed with examples, comprehensive documentation, screencasts, free courses:

TailwindCSS πŸ‘‰ https://tailwindcss.com/docs

These are free resources. They're up to date, coming from the developers of the library itself. Packed not only with examples but best practices and patterns you should follow.

Conclusion

As a beginner, these pages should be your bread & butter.

The next step is basically just using this tech to build something.

I believe this is just as important as reading up on tech as not even more important.

Remember always build something with the tech you just learned, otherwise, it'll be just another completed tutorial on your pile of completed tutorials.

Let me know in the comments what was the last thing you've learned and what did you build with it?

Top comments (13)

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johongirr profile image
Johongir • Edited on

If you want to be great boxer, you've to box and in the meantime reflect on your techniques to get better. And get great mentor to give you feedback on your performance. U guys get the idea

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akoskm profile image
Akos

You're right, I doubt anyone learns programming languages or core frameworks from tutorials.

This post is more aimed towards people who try to learn ie. the basics of React - which is not a simple library at all - by a tutorial that was written 5 years ago and is outdated.

On the other hand, more and more tools come with a super polished getting started page - thinking of React, CRA, TailwindCSS, Cypress, etc.

You can learn all this without reading a single tutorial.

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eastking profile image
Yousef Ghonim

Please correct me if I’m wrong but I always think of documentation as a reference if I want to understand something more deeply but not to get started and learn the basics to go on my way. For example the MDN documentation for CSS or JS it is a rabbit hole you will never get out of and you will never know when to stop and start building your projects.I will never recommend anyone to start learning js from MDN although on the journy of learning he will always refer back to MDN to know more but not to start with

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akoskm profile image
Akos

I wouldn't do this either.

Just as I wouldn't recommend anyone learning React or TailwindCSS from tutorials.

People in the comments seem to be applying this fo programming languages, despite me trying to give examples of good documentations of libraries and frameworks.

But I undestand your point and agree with it.

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shiau profile image
Shiau

Yeah. I would read the official documentation first, except Apple's.

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udanielnogueira profile image
Daniel Nogueira

Great post, I'll think more about it next time.

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raulbattistini profile image
raulbattistini

I always feel like this is more a matter of personality than something else. Some people just don't have guts to try building stuff without reading tutorials and see so many errors that they don't know how to handle, just get desperate and go to sleep -- they need to feel confident about doing something before actually building projects.
I am more on the opposite side, though: I hate having to learn stuff, I wish I could just be building new projects all the time, just reading docs and GitHub issues, without having to stop to learn something that only videos can teach me...
Maybe both sides fail in not admitting they just don't know how to something and not handling its consequences well

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akoskm profile image
Akos

I'm sure personality plays a role in this.

What I wanted to reflect on here is the following - without reciting my post:

Some libraries have excellent getting started pages that render some basic tutorials useless.
I'd go for these every single time, and if I were starting with a new library, I'd look for their Getting Started page, before looking for a tutorial.

One of the many advantages of this is that they're maintained by the development team itself, so you don't have to be worried about reading outdated stuff.

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raulbattistini profile image
raulbattistini

For sure, I do agree with your post, e.g I started with React-Query, Tanstack-Router, Nodemailer from the docs and it was the best way to pick up main concepts. Only a handful of times the docs will be too complex to understand, and a short video might be better to get your feet wet when using a new lib/ tech

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johnnyysm2 profile image
johnnyysm

tnx for tutorials, that's what I was looking for

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akoskm profile image
Akos

Hey πŸ‘‹ Which ones did you like?

CLI tools you won't be able to live without πŸ”§

CLI tools