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learn to code

The 80/20 rule of web development

I once did this YouTube video.

It was called the “Exact PHP Skills You Need to Learn to Get Paid to Code.” The idea was there’s all these things you think you need to learn or you get told by some ranting know-it-all that you need to learn…

But, in reality…

You only use a small fraction of those skills on a regular basis.

So, I made a list of the things you’ll use most often as a PHP developer.

The things that make up 90% of the coding I do.

Variables, arrays, loops…

That sort of thing.

It’s been funny to watch the comments over the years. Predictably, a hoard of know-it-alls have chimed in with their “but, but”. “You need to learn OOP and form security and Laravel…”

It always turns into this massive “wish list”.

And sure… learn those things.

But, that wasn’t the point.

The point is… what’s the absolute bare minimum to get started?

Because, the reality is with any language or technical skill, there’s a 20% of all the skills you could learn that you’ll actually use 80% of the time in your work. So, why learn some random thing you’ll use twice a year… when you’re starting?

And ignore or spend less time on something you’ll use over and over again?

You shouldn’t.

Of course, the trick is figuring out that 20%.

Which was the point of the video.

Thankfully, most people get it.

I’ve had probably 10 times as many positive comments like this:

“I’ve been coding for two years, read almost every book you could read cover to cover. I knew the languages and even how to use them, but I felt as if I had to be perfect and and that I needed to remember every tag, property and function to be considered a professional. I was anxious that my skills were not up to par, but listening to your podcast had helped me realize I have the skills to be professional web developer. Thanks man.”

Which was the entire point.

To free you up from that “perfection trap”.

Thinking you need to learn 1000 things before you can get hired.

You don’t.

In any case, I think that’s why my students tend to have success coming out of my PHP course. Because, I teach them the things that they’ll actually use in their jobs, not 1000 obscure things they’ll use once or twice…

But, that make me look smart.

I don’t care about me.

It’s YOU that matters.

Anyway, if you wanna take my PHP course, you can get access to it for nothing over on Skillshare. And yes… when you’re done with it, you can jump into my PHP OOP course and the other advanced PHP courses I have, as well.

They’re all over there.

And, you can access them all for free.

Link for all the details on how is here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

March 21, 2019

The fastest way to learn development

I’ve mentioned before…

How PHP was my first language and it took me nearly five years to learn it to a point I could perform job-wise with it. Yeah, that was in the early 2000s when training resources were pretty much non-existent.

But still…

I made a lot of mistakes.

And with the way things are now…

You can’t afford to spend that much time learning a language.

Hell, React is just 5 years old now.

And, it’s all but taken over the JavaScript world.

In any case, I learned my lesson with PHP and when it came time to learn jQuery (back in the day), it took me about 30 days to get functional with it. These are the things I changed that made the difference.

Scope.

The first thing you need to do is figure out the “what”. The big picture “these are the skills I need to learn” to do XYZ with this language, framework, whatever. Big thing here is to be realistic.

You don’t need to learn everything right now.

Chunk it out.

And, keep the scope small enough you can actually get through it.

Next, you need a metric.

This is maybe the most critical part. Too often, I see developers get caught in this endless cycle of learning. Never really knowing how far they’ve come or where to stop or pause. It’s just on and on.

Waiting for some magic moment…

When they’ll feel “good enough”.

It doesn’t happen that way.

For each “chunk” or “phase” of learning, you need to have some way to determine IF you’ve learned the skills you set out to learn. So, “If I can build an HTML form that successfully submit data to a MySQL database without help.”

Or, “I can build a website template from scratch.”

Whatever it is.

You need some way of knowing you’ve finished that “phase”.

Next is resources.

HOW are you going to learn these skills? YouTube videos, Udemy courses, signing up for a site like Lynda or Skillshare, books. Again, whatever resources you prefer. But, map this out BEFORE you just dive into a bunch of courses.

Make sure they’ll teach you what you need to learn.

And, don’t get distracted by “bright, shiny objects”.

A big part of learning fast is discipline.

Next, is your final plan. “I’m going to learn these XYZ skills. My metric is ABC thing I will be able to do. I’ll be taking the GHI course to learn how. And, my goal is to learn all this in 30 days.”

I’m telling you…

IF you can get that straight in your head BEFORE you start…

You’re going to learn so much faster than you’re used to.

The final thing, then, is to “learn by doing”.

Development is not a spectator sport.

You can only do so much reading or watching. The #1 trait a developer has to have in order to be successful is a willingness to break things… then, figure out how to fix them. That IS the underlying ethos, so to speak, of our industry.

A bunch of people breaking existing things…

In order to make new things.

So, there you go…

Like I said.

You follow what I just showed you…

And, I’m telling you…

You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn new things.

Speaking of the resources part, this is one of the reasons I really love and put all my courses over on Skillshare. We are in an industry that is constantly evolving and new things are coming out all the time.

And, we have to keep up.

Having a learning platform where you just get access to everything (over 21,000 courses) makes it a lot easier to stay committed to constantly learning and upgrading your skillset… without paying through the nose for it.

Anyway, as a teacher there, I can give you an *exclusive* 2-month free trial of the site. You’ll get full access to all my web development and freelancing courses (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, WordPress)…

Plus all 21,000 other courses on the site.

If you’re interested, you can learn more about it here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

March 12, 2019

How to learn to code fast

It took my five years to learn PHP. It was my first language and I made a bunch of mistakes. Later, when I decided to learn jQuery, I fixed those mistakes and learned it in about 30 days.

In this video, I reveal what I learned:

If you wanna learn how to code as fast as you possibly can, give it a watch.

I’d appreciate if you’d share it with any developers you know, as well.

Later,

John

November 1, 2018

Developer Meat-Gazing

Back when I was just a lil’ coding padawan, I had a serious case of code-envy. Facebook, when it first came out; WordPress, Drupal, Laravel, there was even this one called Dolphin for social networks.

All these amazing applications and frameworks.

These coders with their big, beautiful code.

And, I’d find myself gazing enviously at them.

“How in the hell am I ever going to compete with that?”

Then, one day, I got contacted randomly by a guy who asked me to build him a unique kind of e-commerce site. Something none of the big shopping cart applications of the time could do.

And so, I built it.

And, he was happy.

And, it was all kinda weird.

I didn’t think it was possible, but it was.

And, I realized I didn’t HAVE to compete with those guys.

Not like I had been thinking, anyway. Those guys had spent years getting to the point that they could code those applications. And, along the way, they’d probably built dozens of smaller applications just like the one I did…

For smaller, lesser-known clients or projects.

And, built their way up.

All I really had to do was get started and keep moving.

And, not let my fear of another man’s code keep me impotent.

Fast-forward a few years and here I was building membership sites for famous people like Michael Hyatt, Lewis Howes, Tim Ferriss and Inc. Magazine. And, I’d imagine there were a few coders gazing passionately at my… ahem… code, now.

Point is…

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you first start out.

You see all those developers doing all these amazing things.

Technology changing and evolving so quickly.

And, you can start to wonder, “how the hell will I ever keep up?” But, the truth is, once you get past this initial learning curve, it’s actually not near as hard as you might think. And before you know it…

YOU will be the one other developers are “gazing” at.

Just gotta keep your head down.

And, grind through it.

In any case, that’s where I come in. I help you get through that initial learning curve faster and with a helluva lot less frustration and misstepping. And, my entire curriculum to do that is available over on SkillShare…

Where you can get started for nothing.

Just go here to start your 2-month no-cost trial: https://www.skillshare.com/r/user/johnmorris

Take all my coding and freelancing courses.

Cancel anytime before the 2 months is up and never pay a penny.

Not an easier way to get going in my not-so-humble opinion.

But, do what you want.

Link is here: https://www.skillshare.com/r/user/johnmorris

Later,

John

July 2, 2018

This is the end

Yeah, yeah…

I know some of you will hate this.

And, hit dislike faster than an SJW crying “I’m offended!”

But, today, is going to be another straight-up pitch… but an important one. Because, today, is the last full day of the Udemy 10-buq deal I’ve been telling you about. So, if you’re wanting to get in on it, this is your last chance before it’s gone for good.

Now, before you go running off to your therapist…

To “talk out” the horror of being sold on something…

I just want you to think about something.

Now, you’re, of course, 100% entitled to disagree… but, at the very least, have the guts to be honest with yourself about this. If you’re like I was… as I stood there, at my old job, dropping the 5th basket of greasy chicken each morning… waiting for it to fry up…

I would daydream.

Dream about what things were going to be like…

All the cool things I’d be doing…

How I’d feel…

Once, I got this code thing figure out.

Now, I’m no dummy. I know that the way we see things when we daydream isn’t anything like what the reality ends up being. I get that. But, still… today, things are still about 1000 times better than they were then.

Most of all I don’t feel like a complete failure like I did then.

So, the thing to consider if that’s you…

Or, maybe you’re already working an IT job, but you wanna freelance…

Or, you’d like to move up and get paid more…

You know that there’s a gap between where you wanna be and where you are now. And, that gap is filled with a bunch of skills you’ll need to learn in order to go from here to there… whatever they may be. And, you just gotta get through those skills to get where you wanna be.

So, does it make sense to drag out the getting from here to there?

To make it take longer than it has to?

To delay your enjoyment of that new life?

Obvioiusly not… and so I believe, if you’ve got a few buqs to invest in yourself (and especially if you don’t), that this Udemy deal and the courses you can get access to for so cheap is a great opportunity for you to leap over that gap and get where you want to be in your career…

Much faster than trolling around the web for tutorials…

Taking a hodge-podge of confusing or incomplete lessons…

Or, learning in inefficient ways…

Again, feel free to disagree.

But, if you’re on the same page as me… then, time is running out on this deal.

So, be sure to jump on it now.

The link is: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/may

And, it expires in less than 24 hours.

Aight, that’s my hard-core blatant sales pitch for you today.

Let the dislike roooooll!

Later,

John

P.S. Watch the audio version of this message here:
https://youtu.be/6iSjv1OZoL0

Listen to the audio version here:
https://soundcloud.com/johnmorrisonline/this-is-the-end

May 25, 2017