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Why 95% of Self-Taught Programmers Fail (Honest Advice)

Strategizing a Self-Taught Programming Education: How to Master a Skill with Clarity and Consistency

  • Self-taught programming requires a game plan
  • There is no shortage of free information but the problem lies in how it is learned
  • Clarity and consistency are key to mastering a skill
  • Create a set schedule and regularly plan/review
  • Mastering a skill requires hands-on training and repetition.

Harnessing Practical Experience to Develop Successful Programming Skills

  • Many people focus too much on book learning and watching others code, as opposed to actually building projects themselves
  • When looking for a job, it’s important to demonstrate what you can do with what you know rather than just what you know
  • Practicing problem solving through practical experience, even if it means making mistakes and being lost and confused, is essential to becoming a successful programmer
  • Fixing your own mistakes is part of the learning process, and should be embraced
  • Learning source control, such as Git, allows people to protect themselves from any harm that comes from making mistakes.

Tips for Learning To Code and Getting a Job in the Field

  • Learning to code correctly involves committing to a timeline for when to start applying for jobs
  • Job openings need people with lesser experience and moderate skills
  • Imposter Syndrome can be conquered by setting a ‘drop dead’ date and following through
  • People should not wait until they feel ‘ready’ as they can still get a job without being perfect.

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wouldn't it be nice if there was just atraining manual on how to be a softwaredeveloper when i worked at starbucks iwas able to make espresso drinks likelattes and cappuccinos within an hour ortwo and yet with software development iliterally had to go through an entireyear of learning on my own hundreds ofhours before i actually landed a jobwith a company because there's noofficial training manual to follow youhave to figure out everything on yourown and since learning to code is notabout memorization it's not somethingyou just cram and learn for a few weeksthere are definite ways that you aregoing to try to approach learning thisthat are going to lead you nowhere soi'm making this video to help you toidentify four early warning signs thatyou're learning to code wrong and i alsowant to give you some of the advice thati've given some of my clients who've runinto some of these problems that you canhelp to get through whatever issuesyou're going through so let's go aheadand dive in so one thing you may havenoticed is that there's really noshortage of free information availableto you about how to learn to code how towrite code to create softwareapplications and yet i still hear somany of you guys complain that there'ssomething you feel like you're missingthere's some magic tutorial out therethat you're missing that if you tookwould just complete the picture for youwell i hate to be the bearer of bad newshere but it's not the lack of goodinformation that's holding you backinstead the problem often resides withhow you actually learn being aself-taught programmer is not just aboutpracticing and studying it also meansthat you are the one who creates yourown curriculum in other words what thatbasically means is you're the one whohas to create that game plan that isdesigned to develop a really strongskill set that will lead to a job now ifound that most people are pretty goodabout studying and practicing diligentlymeaning that they can sit down ifthey're really motivated for an hour toevery night to actually do the work ofthe software developer but where mostpeople to be honest suck is creatingthat game plan we're not taught how todo this in school we're given acurriculum they tell you exactly whatyou need to learn there's never a classor a course of teaching you how to learna really hard skill on your own sowithout this knowledge of how to createyour own curriculum what often happensthen is you just start picking randomthings to do you get really busy but itleads you nowhere so the first earlysign that you're learning to code wrongis that you lack a simple learningprocess now let me explain a little bitabout what that means the clients whoi've worked with who've been successfulin landing a job all have a veryinteresting thing in common is thattheir journey looks really boring theyaren't doing crazy things like stayingup till five in the morning studying andcramming in every single day taking tonsof caffeine to stay up late instead whatthey're doing is any given day maybethey're starting their one two maybethree hours that they need to put in andthen they call it a day and then they dothe exact same thing the next day theyjust chip away little by little bylittle when you do this for multipleweeks multiple months all sudden you getto the point where you have learned aton you have a portfolio of projectsyou've built and suddenly you're readyto apply for a job it's just that simpleit's so straightforward what thesesuccessful clients have done is they'vemade the learning process simple so it'seasy to follow there are two ways tomake your learning process simple firstis you want to develop a set schedulefor studying and practice one of myfavorite sayings is clarity is power andwhen you have absolute clarity aboutwhen you need to sit down and studybecause you set up a schedule foryourself that's where you're reallygoing to develop consistency whereyou're going to run into problems iswhere you leave things open-ended so ifyou say to yourself i'm going to studyat some point today it means you'reprobably not going to study at all thesecond thing to make the learningprocess simpler is regularly planningand reviewing before each day beginsyou'll want to decide where you're goingto spend your time so are you going tospend that time on a tutorial are yougoing to spend that time working on aportfolio project that you're buildingout are you going to spend that timepreparing for some technical interviewthat you may have to do you have todecide this up front if you don't makethat decision before you sit down tostudy then what often happens to peopleis they pick the easiest thing on theirlist and that's where they begin to dothings that aren't really helpful in thelong run all right so we made it to thatfirst early warning sign but you knowit's another thing that's really simpleto do to simplify your learning processgo down below smash the subscribe buttonso you get notifications anytime i putout a new video so the key to learningto code is about mastering a verycritical distinction do you rememberearlier how i mentioned that when iworked at starbucks i was trained how tomake a cappuccino in basically under anhour well the key component of learningthat quickly and effectively is that youbasically get hands-on training whereyou basically repeat that process overand over again in the case of starbucksmy shift supervisor brought me over toan espresso machine she demonstrated howto make a cappuccino and then i had tomake about three or four cappuccinos ina row and then all sudden boom itclicked i knew how to make a cappuccinoin other words i didn't watch athree-hour training video on how to makea cappuccino starbucks has enoughexperience training people that theyrealize they can give them a little bitof instruction and then the best thingto have them do is practice over andover again of course it still took meweeks or months to maybe memorize it andreally master the art of makingcappuccino but they just got enough toget me going now when you're learning tocode the equivalent of my starbuckstraining would be learning thefundamentals or the basics of aprogramming language and then going outand building a few small projects totest out your knowledge however mostpeople don't take the starbucks approachwhen they're learning instead they takethe equivalent of watching many hours ofother people making cappuccinos orthey're reading a lot of books about howother people make cappuccinos in thepast if you don't follow what i'm sayingwhat i mean is that many people consumea lot of content of other peoplecreating software applications or theyspend a lot of time reading books thattalk about the fundamentals talk aboutsyntax talk about data types talk aboutmethods and functions but they neveractually apply that in any meaningfulway so the next early warning sign to beaware of is that you're obsessed withtheory over application watching otherpeople code and consuming information inbooks has its place but it has a limiton its effectiveness the reason you'llget a job offer from a company does notcome down to what you know it comes downto what you can do with what you know iwould never hire somebody becausethey've read 100 books on programming ordone 100 tutorials that does not impressme in the least instead what i look foris somebody who's built a variety ofprojects both big and small i want toknow that this person has gotten theirhands dirty i want to know if you'vegone through that long and difficultprocess of building a complexapplication because somebody who's gonethrough that long and difficult andpainful process is somebody who i cantrust that if i give them something towork on that they can go and run with itthe dirty secret about being job readyas a self-taught programmer is that youdon't actually have to master a widerange of skills but what you do have tomaster is problem solving and thinkinglike a programmer this is not somethingthat you can learn from a book this willcome from practical experience ofputting yourself through the fire ofbuilding applications now i can alreadyhear it now you're going to say but andyi don't know what applications to buildso the point of projects is to practicewhat you're learning so you don't haveto obsess over getting the right projectto build there are literally endlessproject ideas if you know how to usegoogle i'll even throw up my video hereof five javascript projects that you canbuild you can apply to any programminglanguage now if you haven't startedbuilding your own applications i'm goingto give you some advice here writingcode building your own softwareapplications is very hard most peopledon't want to do it you will feel lostyou will feel disoriented you will feellike you keep on running back totutorials because of this nice warmplace where you get all the informationyou need you don't have to think foryourself but this is why so many peopleend up failing to become programmers soembrace the chaos of building projectsyou won't be very good at the verybeginning it will be like the equivalentto drawing stick figures when you'redrawing but just keep going through theprocess over and over again get verycomfortable with building applicationsand applying the theory all right so nowon to my next early sign here so one ofthe things that surprises so many newdevelopers people who land their firstjob is just how much time you spendfixing your own mistakes now this maynot be very scientific of me to say buti believe just about 50 of your time asa new developer will be spent trackingdown some bug some error or some justmistake that you introduced into yourown code and no matter how tedious nomatter how carefully you write code youare going to make mistakes after a whilewhat you begin to realize is mistakesare very normal and they're a necessarypart of the learning process so the nextearly sign to be aware of is that you'reafraid to make mistakes there's a prettysimple way to know if this is you justgo back to any project that you'vecreated either on your own or with atutorial if i told you to go refactorthat or add something to it or change itin some meaningful way does that bringterror or does that bring fascinationif you are scared to touch that projectbecause you might break something thenthat may be a real problem makingmistakes repeatedly as you're learningis the best way to really know whatyou're doing and no this is not the sameadvice as you see on like a motivationalposter where it says like mistakes areproof that you're trying or somethinglike that mistakes actually serve a veryimportant purpose when you make amistake you have to stop you have toslow down and you have to analyze yourcode that often means stopping andreading your code line by line by lineto see if it's doing what you'reexpecting it to do it also means thatyou'll have to use the debugging toolsthat you'll have available which allowsyou to look into the application as it'srunning to see what things are doingwhich is sort of like opening the hoodof the car as it's running when you makemistakes you're going to be continuallyreminded where you lack understandingwhere your blind spots are which shouldtip you off that you should stop andmaybe learn something more in depthanyone who spends hundreds or thousandsof hours reading through their code overand over again in different contexts arebuilding neural pathways up here in yourbrain that are going to make it easierto read code in the future the telltalesign of this is when you begin dreamingin code and when you begin to visualizethe code as it's running so that'ssomething to look forward to so if youfind that you're afraid of makingmistakes then what i'd recommend isnumber one really making a mindset shiftyour perception that a mistake is bad ishalf the problem here when you realizethat every mistake is actually a gift toyou to help learn is when you reallystart to embrace the messy process oflearning to code now the second and morepractical thing that you can do toembrace mistake making is to reallylearn source control like git you shouldnever be afraid of breaking your code ormaking a mistake if you're using gitproperly if you're making regularcommits which are basically regularsnapshots of your code and you're usingbranching strategies then you shouldhave nothing to worry about if a mistakehappens if something occurs that you cango back and change it to the way it wasbefore you made that mistake all rightso we're in the final stretch here let'sget to my fourth early warning signlet's get right to the point i don'tcare who you are you're going to sufferfrom imposter syndrome which is feelinglike you're a fake developer now onewould think that if you spent 6 monthsor 12 months just endlessly studyingthat you would eventually feel likeyou're ready to be a programmer well ihate to break this to you but you willnot feel ready this is very important toget through your head and the reasonbeing is because you're going to usethis as a an excuse as a reason tocontinually delay and not apply for jobsi've seen people who are ready to startapplying for jobs meaning that they haverequisite skills they have a niceportfolio but they refuse to startapplying because they want to feel moreready which is pure self-sabotage it'sself-sabotage because i've seen peoplewith mediocre skills who just scraped aportfolio together who happened to get ajob interview and impress the companyenough to get a job offer and this isn'teven that uncommon because companies arein dire need of software developersright now yes many companies would loveto get a senior developer a veryexperienced developer but since they'rein such demand they're such a lowquantity they end up being open tohiring people with less experience whohave mediocre skills who at least canshow that they can do the work so thefinal early sign that you're learning tocode wrong is that you haven't committedto a specific date when you're going tostart applying for jobs the reason thisis important in relation to learning tocode is because i'm assuming you're nottrying to do this for fun you're tryingto do this to make money to get a jobwhat ends up happening for so manypeople who decide to learn to code thenis because they don't pick a finitetimeline of when to do this they don'treally have a sense of urgency of whenthey need to get things done so i urgeyou to pick a date in the future of whenyou're going to start applying for jobsand i call this a drop dead date meaningthat the only way that you're not goingto start applying for jobs on this dateis if you have a literally drop dead soit doesn't matter if you don't have aportfolio if you feel like you suck atprogramming you're going to do that andby the way having a drop dead dateshould make you a little bit nervous itmight be a little bit scary that is thepoint it's just like jumping in a coldpool you can't think your way throughjumping in a cold pool you just gottapush yourself to do it right the sameway with conquering imposter syndromeyou just gotta get out there and startapplying for jobs now if you're lookingfor more useful tips and advice on howto become a software developer i'vecreated a self taught programmer studymanual it's a free pdf that has givensome of my best advice on how to teachyourself to code so i will definitelyleave a link in the description below ofhow you can download thatother than that thank you as always forwatching and i'll see you next time