The Way to Get Better is to Build

Aug 12, 2020
The secret to becoming a stronger software engineer.
Often, people put sole reliance on courses, books, podcasts & conference talks to get better at a particular skill. Technical or not.
Especially with coding, we can hear the theory behind things all day long about how to be a better programmer, how X works or why you would want to go with solution Y, but unless you “do” or “build” or “action” it typically remains as theory.
The “tutorial rut” is a real thing. We jump from course to course, each time hoping that this is going to be the one that teaches us to program well, maybe it contains the secret sauce that is just going to make everything fall into place. Unfortunately, even the best lessons in the world require you to practice alongside them, and practicing, in this instance, is the cycle of writing code by yourself. Over and over, again and again.
“If you are learning to code, build 1,000 things” - Wes Bos
We hold off from building something that is ambitious, potentially through fear that we may fail - because pushing through the unknown and turning the theory we spend so long studying into physical code is the only way we can improve.
Don’t be scared to give something a try and not achieve it the first time. In fact, I think this is essential. Many people never start because they can’t see a direct route to the finishing line, and carving that road is where the real learning happens.
You don’t learn the guitar just by reading music or listening to people talk about music. It takes repetition, the creation of muscle memory and hours and hours of practice. Coding is absolutely no different.
Anything worth doing in life, takes time, dedication and action. We improve by getting stuck and learning from our mistakes. So if you are learning to code, pull up your text editor and get creating. Over and over and over again. It will be best thing for your self-development you ever did.

© James Bedford 2021