· 3 min read

Tutorials are wrong - Escaping the Tutorial Hell

Is the title a clickbait? Nope, let me explain.

Learning new stuff is amazing and courses and tutorials are a great help, until, you realize you’re stuck in the Tutorial Hell 🔥

So, are some tutorials wrong? Or all tutorials? And what is this Tutorial Hell?

Do you like watching videos over reading? You can find a video version here:

Tutorial Hell is that situation where you get the habit of using tutorials to do something new, without realizing you’re not understanding what you’re doing, you’re just copying someone else’s work.

Well redacted tutorials, will make it easy to get to the final and polished solution as smooth as possible, and that’s fine, but you must not forget to analyze all the steps in between.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day -> You’ve built your thing

Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime -> You know HOW to build many things by yourself

Do you get the analogy with tutorials?

It’s easy to fall into this situation without even realizing and it does not only apply to beginners, you might be affected in some way regardless of your skill level.

Let’s assume you might be in this so called Tutorial Hell. The very first step to escape is by reading this tutorial on how to escape the tutorial hell… ok, wait, this sounds tricky.

The best way to use tutorials is to forget about what the tutorial aims for. Forget it! But learn everything else in between. You shouldn’t focus on the final result, but on all the path that you have to follow, before getting to the final product.

Let’s say you’re watching a tutorial on how to make a todo list in React. Sounds easy, right?

Ok, at some point the tutorial tells you to send an HTTP request to save your list. It uses the POST verb. What is that? How many other HTTP verbs are there? Why POST and not PUT or PATCH?

And again, does it use a library to make the call, such as axios? Ok cool, what is this library? Why should I use it compared to other libraries? Do you have a native solution? Yes, you can use fetch so what are the differences between fetch and axios?

Ok, I think you got my point.

Every time the tutorial tells you to do something, ask yourself some questions. Try to get deeper on why something has been done specifically that way. Properly understanding this, will let you absorb 10 times more what the tutorial is about.

It will take more time to build your todo app, that’s for sure, but you’re just learning, right? So you want to build the todo list, or to learn how to build a gozillion other apps in the future? That’s your choice.

However, tutorials are not the only way to learn something new. To be honest, I like to learn by putting my hands on real projects, that’s why I try to contribute as often as possible to Open Source, and you should do the same! I explain in this video all the advantages it gives.

I promise you with Open Source you will learn a lot more than just by following tutorials! Go watch it and let me know what you think :)

About the author
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Hello! My name is Leonardo and as you might have noticed, I like to talk about Web Development and Open Source!

I use GitHub every day and my favourite editor is Visual Studio Code... this might influence a little bit my conent! :D

If you like what I do, you should have a look at my YouTube Channel!

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