Developer’s path is littered with many difficulties, but believe me, tutorial hell is something that really can ruin your progression and even career.
Things are not the same as ten years ago. Now we have tutorials, video tutorials, courses, coding bootcamps literally behind any corner. That, of course, is great, but also it is challenging for beginners.
It is challenging in a way that an inexperienced developer who does not have a lot of confidence jumps from tutorial to tutorial seeking something that he will never get – real-business case experience. He will always think that he is not ready enough and will try the next tutorial/course with the belief that he will be more prepared after that.
Tutorial hell is very dangerous because it gives you that false belief that you are progressing and doing something meaningful. Still, you stay in the same place, in reality, wasting precious time.
My tutorial hell example
Actually, this is not a tutorial hell example, but the case depicts precisely the reality check many beginners, caught in this vicious circle, will face.
A year ago, our dev team had to integrate a custom web application with SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services). We also had several reports to develop and deliver.
The team leader assigned me to both tasks. While the customer’s requirements were not yet specified, I bought a couple of SSRS courses and watched them during the weekend. After I finished them, I said to myself, “OK, that’s not hard at all. ”. At this time, as a .NET developer, I didn’t have any experience with SSRS.
As you expect, the courses showed me only the concept and straight cases.
The real pain came with the first report. My google search history was full of questions like “Why SSRS generates additional blank pages?”, “Is it possible to create a different dynamic footer for each page?”, “Can I override SSRS export render?” etc.
Did I wrong taking the courses? Of course not! Would I benefit if I had taken one more course/tutorial? Maybe very, very little. As you can see, most of the time, tutorials are missing real business cases and scenarios.
Is there a way out?
No matter what you want to learn (technology, new library, programming language), you have to get out of your comfort zone. The comfort zone is the one more course you want to take, the trivial project you wish to build, etc.
Learning starts when you struggle to find solutions to problems that you haven’t seen before.
My advice to you is to start a personal project that exceeds all your current knowledge and capabilities. Something that will make you googling “stupid” questions. It would also be nice if the project is useful for somebody or to make you happy while working on it.
For example, say to yourself, “Now I will create a new CMS (content management system).”, and don’t quit until you finish it.
Of course, you will create something very, very far from your expectations, but this is not important.
In learning, struggle and perseverance are what matters. Only by paying that price, you will be a successful developer.