I recently received an email asking how to get off the tutorial treadmill:
My tutorial treadmill blog post was admittedly vague and metaphorical. Here, I’ll construct concrete actions you can take to finally write your very own project.
Build a Foundation
Do not start out by trying to create the next Facebook. Instead:
Learn the foundational pieces of web development: HTML and CSS. Go to the freeCodeCamp curriculum and complete the Responsive Web Design Certification in parallel with the Codecademy Introduction to HTML and Introduction to CSS tutorials. This should take about half a month to a month to complete (assuming you work or go to school in the mornings and devote about an hour a day to learning web development).
Complete your First Project
You’re now ready for your first project! Go to the freeCodeCamp Tribute Page project description and get started. You will create a tribute page structurally similar to: https://codepen.io/freeCodeCamp/full/zNqgVx.
- Google everything your heart desires! It is NOT cheating to use Google to remind yourself of HTML elements and attributes you may have forgotten. Also use Google to remind yourself of CSS selectors and properties.
- Ask questions on Twitter or the freeCodeCamp forums. Socialize with other developers-to-be in the same boat as you. Make some internet friends.
- Don’t be afraid to ask why suggestions are made one way over another. Asking why is how you’ll learn.
- Take the code creation step-by-step. Break your vision down into bite-size chunks. Identify the very next step you can take to move towards project completion. For example, start off by figuring out how to create a title. Once you’re done with that, render an image and center it. Now, what’s next? 🤔
- Copy the code from the sample project. Everything you’ll learn comes from the struggle and frustration (it WILL be frustrating) of creating something on your own (of course with help from Google).
- Get intimidated by the forest. Chop the website down tree by tree. This directly corresponds to point number 4 above.
Find a Peer Review
The learning doesn’t stop just because you finished your project. Find a more senior developer that will review your code. Twitter and the freeCodeCamp Project Feedback forum are pretty much perfect places to find peer reviewers. If you’re having trouble finding a peer review, don’t be afraid to shoot me a tweet. I’d be more than happy to help.
Rinse and Repeat
Congratulations! You’ve finished your first project! Now finish all the Responsive Web Design projects following all the steps above. Once you’re done with them, continue through the rest of the freeCodeCamp curriculum. Just make sure to avoid the dreaded tutorial treadmill!