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Escaping tutorial hell: The art of never forgetting what you learn

"Hello, I'm Frank!"

"I know. I met you last week."

Frank has a bad memory. If you wanted to play a prank on him, add "Go to Vegas" to his calendar. He will end up there without ever knowing why. Yet despite all this, he never forgot how to code. How could this be?

Why is it we never forget how to ride a bicycle, but can't recall a single fact a week after an exam?

This strange phenomenon frustrates beginners as learning seems to go in one ear and out the other. In programming, we call it tutorial hell. Tutorial hell is when you spend hours watching tutorials, building good projects, only to never be able to build a simple thing on your own.

The problem is we treated coding like an information problem, not a skill problem. It is like trying to learn Spanish by memorizing the Spanish dictionary. Sure you compiled a lot of information, but you have little in terms of expression. This is what it feels like to be in tutorial hell, a lot of information but little in terms of expression.

How do we solve this problem?

To drill coding into your memory so you never forget, you need to treat it like a skill.

  1. Start small. The problem with tutorials is that it's too big. Sure you can build a good project in two hours, but you didn't earn the knowledge. Break things down into smaller components. Tinker with the small parts so you understand the big parts.

  2. Break the code. When doing tutorials, most of the time we follow mindlessly, praying nothing breaks. Wrong mindset. Make changes and break the code. Make an effort to understand how each line of code works. You should know intimately how changing one line of code affects the big picture.

  3. Repetition repetition. Doing things over and over again is a winning solution. But it's not just doing the same thing on repeat, you have to do things in different combinations. You want to understand things from different angles. You need to tinker with code.

How to tinker with code

Imagine you just learned these two things:

If statement For loop Most people practice these two statements independently, but you want to work with them in combinations. Look at the following combinations. They are used to solve different solutions.

1. If statement outside for loop

For loop only runs in certain conditions. For loop prints "success!" all the time.

if condition:
    for loop:

2. If statement inside for loop

Only prints "success!" in for loop under certain conditions.

for loop:
    if condition:

3. If statement inside and outside for loop

For loop only runs in certain condition. Only prints "success!" in for loop under certain conditions.

if condition:
    for loop:
        if condition:

Once you understand when to use the combinations above, you will have a deeper understanding of your code. Going through tutorials like this is slower, but will ingrain the knowledge into your brain. This unlocks the secret to turning information into a skill never forgotten.

You can do this on your own or we can do it for you. Popcorn Robot teaches you by training your coding ability using the method above. Our mentors will stand by your side from your first print statement to your final project in React.

Take a free class and see if you are a right fit.

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