By John Sonmez September 6, 2018

I Don’t Know How To Learn Programming!

Let me be clear here: most developers don't know a s**t about how to learn programming and improve their careers. This is absolute truth.

And I'm not saying this in a mean way, but as a way to alert most of you about something you've been doing wrong for most of your lives. Learning something new requires some strictly techniques in order to maximize your potentials, or, you'll be swimming in circles and you'll most likely to die in the middle of the sea.

What should you do if you don't know how to learn programming? What techniques can you implement in order to maximize your learning abilities and get the best time/benefits in your programming career? Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here from simpleprogrammer.com. Today, I'm going to be answering a question from Carl and Carl says that he can't choose which source to learn programming from. He said, “I found many resources to learn about web development like freeCodeCamp,” which is a good resource, by the way, “Mozilla Developer Network, Codeacademy and etc. My concern is that I'm having a hard time choosing which book or site I should focus on because I keep on searching if there is a better resource for me to learn web development that leads to craziness on what I should choose. My question is how would I be able to pick and stay focused on a certain site or book to learn web development?” This is something that is kind of near and dear to my heart because so many people are making this mistake today, Carl, not just you. Everyone is sort of looking for this golden goose line one-stop shop for learning to become a software developer, and that doesn’t exist out there. Not really. I mean there are some good programs.

I've done courses for a company which I highly recommend called Pluralsight and they've got a bunch of courses. I've done courses there and there is a bunch of courses that will teach you a bunch of things and there's learning paths. There's treehouse.com. There's, like you said, free Codeacademy, which is really a good resource or freeCodeCamp which a lot of people have recommended. They have paths and there's coding boot camps and what not. What I find honestly is that what you need is that none of these resources are going to be complete in themselves. It's not like you're going to take one of these resources and just follow some step-by-step process that's going to take you all the way from point A to bam, you're certified, you're a developer and you can start writing code. Now, some of these things will take you close to that if you follow them, but it might take you like two years or three years. Maybe that's not the time frame that you want to do this in, right? Even still, is it really going to guarantee that you're going to learn everything that you need to know?

Especially, how could they think about it this way? There's a lot of different paths you could go in the software development world, so many different technologies and choices. How could they create specific learning plans that are going to take you specifically through each one of those paths? Now, some of them do a decent job of trying, but, ultimately, you have to realize this. It's your responsibility for your education. Even if you're taking going to college, even if you're going to a coding boot camp if you're learning on your own, it doesn’t matter how you're learning and whatever you're learning in life. You have to be ultimately the person responsible for your own education. This is a really, really important concept to understand. You can't just say—I think a lot of people, a lot of millennials catch a lot of this shit today because some of them have the attitude, not all of them but some of them have the attitude of, “Hey, I signed up for college. I followed the program. I did what I was supposed to do. Where's my job?” It doesn’t work that way.

Life doesn’t work that way. Nothing works that way. If it did—there are some things that work that way. Maybe dental school works that way, I don’t know. I haven't been to dental school, but maybe when you come out, you pop out as a dentist and then you can just be a dentist. That's probably true, right? Maybe. The highly rewarding things in life, although dentistry is pretty reward—I guess you can make a lot of money, but aside from that one contradiction, it's actually a lot of work though. The highly rewarding things in life are not easy. You got to figure the shit out of yourself, for example, being an entrepreneur. Really, really hard but really, really rewarding if you get it right. There's no guide books. There's nothing that's going to tell you exactly how to build the business from A to Z and exactly the steps that you need to take. Most things in life are like that. What you got to do is you got to be really good at taking—figuring out first of all, what's your goal? I talk about this a lot. I've done a lot of videos on this, but it's so important is that so many people are trying to learn software development or learn anything is they don’t have a defined goal.

They don’t know what exactly they are trying to learn programming and trying to become. Without that, it becomes really difficult to know what you need. That's why you're looking. You're like, “Just tell me. Just give me some steps I can follow or some course I can take and at the end, I'll pop out and be able to write code.” It doesn’t work that way. Instead, what you got to do is you got to have the goal and then you got to say, “What is it going to take for me to get this goal?” Then you take some pieces from here. You go to freeCodeCamp and you take some pieces from there. You go to Pluralsight like I mentioned before and you watch some of my courses because that—my courses, that's right. No. You watch some courses on there. You grab some books and you grab the pieces of information that you need and you don’t necessarily have to read books to cover to cover. You don’t have to necessarily watch the courses from beginning to end, except for my courses. You know what I'm saying? But you don’t have to do all that stuff and you don’t have to complete everything on freeCodeCamp. Instead, what you got to do is you got to pull the pieces that you need and assemble your own education. That's going to be better than any education that someone else is going to assemble for you.

A college is not going to prepare you with a four-year program for entering the job force. It's just not going to happen today, I'll tell you this. So many people believe that this is true. A code camp is not going to prepare you by itself. It's going to require some external work on your own. You're going to have to go and grab some books and read some stuff, and do some tutorials and do some projects on your own. You really need to figure this out from the perspective of not which is the best resource because it doesn’t matter. You don’t even have to find the best resource. You could use shitty resources and get a great result, as long as you're the one who is the curator of the pieces of information that you need.

I've gotten a lot of good information from crappy resources because I'm like, “Oh. Well, this is a golden gem here. I'm just going to pull this out, use what I need here, and I'm going to use it.” I read hundreds of books, almost a hundred books a year and I pulled pieces from the books. Some of the books are total crap, but there's one gem in it and I pulled that piece out and I used that piece. I'm always focused on trying to create my own plan. What is it that I'm trying to learn. What is it that I'm trying to achieve in life and how can I grab pieces from everywhere that I need and put together my own plan that's superior to any because I don’t expect anyone to do it for me. I don’t expect there to be a golden path that I'm going to walk down the yellow brick road and come to—actually, I do. If I go down the yellow brick road. Where do you get to? You get to the Wizard of Oz. What is the Wizard of Oz? He's a fraud. He's a phony. It's a fake dream.

That doesn’t exist. Instead, you got to piece together the pieces for yourself, but it all starts with, again, this mindset. You got to think about you being responsible for your own education. All right. I hope that helps you. If you have a question for me, you can always email me at john@simpleprogrammer.com. Make sure you click the Subscribe button. Click the bell below so that you don’t miss any videos. I'll talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."