When is it time to move on from reading/watching tutorials and work on something?
I got this question on Twitter: how to go projects from tutorials?
I think it’s interesting because I believe that to really learn a technology you need to build something with it.
You can’t just read tutorials, but some tutorials are still essential, of course.
No one is born knowing how to use something unless we are shown how to, or we dig into the documentation, or at an extreme case we understand how the thing is supposed to work, something that working with open source software we can actually do (but it’s easier said than done).
I learn new stuff every week, on a regular basis. It’s part of my job. It’s also something I just like doing.
Learning new things is my bread and butter. I then use this knowledge to create projects and software or to also teach this technology to other people.
But switching from learning something to actually building projects with it is challenging.
There is not a clear, visible line between reading/watching X tutorials and building the next Airbnb.
A tutorial gets you to one more advanced point than the one you started.
But at some point you need to start a project to move to the next level:
There’s an interval of mystery that overlaps between “ending tutorials phase” and “beginning project phase”.
And by “project” I mean also a sample web app to test your ideas, not necessarily a big or definitive project.
You can’t get to that next level without doing a project.
The famous saying “what got you here won’t get you there” is spot on.
You reach the point of diminishing returns and if you don’t stop just reading tutorials you’ll start forgetting stuff that is going to be applicable, and you’ll need to go back to reading tutorials anyway:
You’ll keep going back to tutorials, anyway. But for specific needs you’ll have while working on a project.
You just need to have an idea for a project. If you don’t have one yet, just think about it. Or check my list of sample app ideas.
Is it hard to go from following an IKEA furniture step-by-step instructions to building your own furniture from scratch? Oh yeah.
But if you never start, you’ll never get to that point.
Take your time, then just do it.