What is more frustrating than learning to code?
Teaching others to learn to code. In my experience I have not encountered many things that have frustrated me more than learning to code that includes raising two sons who are now teenagers, learning to land an airplane with grace, training a puppy that my sons brought home from the shelter to stop chewing up my shoes.
So you might be wondering why I am telling you to teach others to learn to code. Well, this is going to surprise you, I am telling you to teach others for selfish reasons. When you teach others you are reinforcing your knowledge of the material. So while it seems that it’s selfless and you are trying to help others in reality you are doing this for yourself. Sure you can put it on your resume, social media, or whatever and let others think you are selfless but now you know the true reason let me explain why.
When we first try to learn to code we are worried about understanding what something is, what it does, and how you can use it. For example, let’s take the concept of a variable. When you first learned about a variable what helped you learn it was it the definition?
Variables are used to store information to be referenced and manipulated in a computer program. They also provide a way of labeling data with a descriptive name, so our programs can be understood more clearly by the reader and ourselves. It is helpful to think of variables as containers that hold information. Their sole purpose is to label and store data in memory. This data can then be used throughout your program.
I highly doubt it was the definition, at least it wasn’t for me. What finally made me understand it was the 100th time ( I might be exaggerating a bit for effect but you know what I mean) that I had to declare one and use it in some code.
So now that I know what a variable is I can turn around and teach someone else what a variable is, right? Well yes and no. How can I explain to others what a variable is, I can tell you that it’s not going to be the definition. It’s going to be through an example. Will the other person learn from one example? No, it’s going to take a few more and this is going to force me to think about variables in different ways to give this person a different perspective of what a variable is. All that thinking about variables has just helped me master it so now when I go to an interview and if they happen to ask me to explain a variable, or use it I will have no hesitation on my part.
Because I took the time to see a variable from different points of view I was able to engrain it in my mind. If I was only learning it I wouldn’t do this, once I understood it I would’ve moved on to the next topic. But because I wanted others to learn it I took more time with it benefiting them and more importantly me.
So now you are either thinking that’s great I am going to teach others or you might be like me and say who is going to want to learn from me, I just learned it myself. Well, let me tell you who is going to want to learn from you. That person that hasn’t even started learning who wants to learn but has no idea where to start. There are countless of people online asking I want to learn to code but I don’t know where to start, or they might say I want to learn to code can someone recommend some resources. That’s when you say well I know the fundamentals why don’t you let me teach you to get you started so you don’t spend money. See, again it seems so selfless but 😉😉 we know differently. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to know more than someone else.
Maybe you are saying I understand the benefit but I am busy learning to get a better job and I don’t want to teach others what can I do? Well in that case teach yourself. 🥴 But how can I teach myself if I just learned it. Well, let me tell you. Did you really learn it or do you just simply understand the big picture of it? Only one way to find out and that is to explain it to yourself in different words and examples than the book, tutorial, course that you just did. Try it can you explain it to yourself? If yes then you can now move on, if not then you need to spend some more time on this. Let me tell you this, you know it today but will you know it a month from now? When we first start to learn we go through so much information that unless you apply it, you are going to forget so why not do this for future you and make a video or a blog post of you explaining it to yourself. You can publish it on YouTube, Medium, Twitter, or whatever social media platform you prefer. Not to gain an audience but so that you have it there for future you. The fact that you know what works best for you, is one sure way to be able to do a quick refresher in a month or two. And who knows someone might come across your content and start following you because the way you describe things works for them too.
Don’t do this to get famous or to make money, do this to help yourself become a better programmer. To help yourself get that sweet developer job that you have been wanting.