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March 12, 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

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