Back in mid-March of 2020 – when the whole world is in full lock-down mode…
Many online learning platforms gave away some of their best courses for free to support the movement of #StayAtHome.
One of those online platforms, DigitalMarketer, is giving away their flagship product, DigitalMarketer Lab (membership access to the (almost) entire catalog of courses available on their website) for absolutely free.
This membership would usually cost you USD 95 per month.
The founder, Ryan Deiss, said there are more than 30k users signed up for this offer, and 1/3 of those users completed at least one course that's available on their website.
But, the question is…
How many users (after benefiting from this free offer) are now actively engaged in digital marketing and start practicing what they have learned?
I don't have the numbers, but I would say it's pretty low.
On the other side…
Learning Coding has been a Rage Recently.
Schools are starting to teach kids coding. Many online courses teach coding available on the internet, both for free and paid.
It has never been easy to learn coding now compare to 5 – 10 years ago.
Yet, companies still have trouble finding & hiring promising talents in the tech industry.
I know a few friends who run web agencies who always say that they have difficulties finding good comrades that they can count on in their quest to build a successful web agency.
There are many more people learning to code now compared to a few years ago – Yet, it still doesn't produce enough tech talents to the industry.
Why is that?
Well, the short answer is because...
Most people who try to learn coding (or know anything new in general) don't have the trait of "learning how to learn".
What do I mean by that?
How Public Education Tainted The Way We See Learning as a Whole
Human being is a curious creature.
We love to learn.
Yet, we have been brainwashed by the public education system for pretty much the first quarter of our life that learning is all about concepts, theories, memorization, and tests.
12 years of public education has tainted our nature love towards learning – which is why most people never pick up a book ever again after finishing school.
What the public education system taught us is to become a parrot.
You can teach a parrot how to pronounce any words – yet the parrot won't understand the meaning behind the word.
Parrot only knows how to imitate sounds.
They don't know how to speak like a human
You can't have a meaningful conversation with a parrot.
In school, we are taught to be a parrot by memorizing the word we don't understand – so that we can take a test to be graded on how good we are at being a parrot.
As soon as the test is done, we'll forget everything we learned.
For instance, in mathematics, we learned algebra, trigonometry, calculus & geometry.
Yet, the only math concepts that are really useful to us are probably just plus, minus, multiply, divide, and percentage. After all, these concepts are the ones we'll be using A LOT in our daily life (pretty much until we die).
So why do we need to learn a bunch of unnecessary concepts that most likely will be absolutely useless to our life?
And there lie the problems of most online courses/workshops/Bootcamps that teach coding.
The ONLY Way of Learning How to Code
Real coding skills can't be taught in any school.
Real coding skills can't be taught in a step-by-step course.
Real coding skills weren't something you can master by watching a 3-hours YouTube video, finished an online course, or attending a 5-days workshop.
Real coding skills can only be acquired by practicing coding regularly, solving real-world problems, making mistakes along the way, and learning from those mistakes.
If you ask any coders who make a living with their coding skills: "how did they learn how to code", they will tell you that it wasn't a single online course or workshop attributed to their success.
It's the accumulative knowledge that they acquired throughout their journey that makes them a better coder.
In short, this is "learning how to learn".
Just as when we're toddlers learning how to walk.
We don't learn how to walk by memorizing concepts & theories of walking.
We don't learn how to walk by studying past paper – so that we can score high in a paper test about walking.
We don't learn how to walk by watching YouTube videos on walking or attending a 5-days workshop to learn the insider secrets of how to walk successfully.
We learned how to walk by falling, get back up, falling again, get back up again – the cycle repeats until we can walk without falling constantly.
That's how we learned how to ride a bicycle.
That's how we learned how to swim.
That's how we learned almost everything before public education ruined our perception of learning.
Learning How to Learn To Code
If you want to become a real pro in the programming world, you must learn "how to learn".
A coder wasn't getting paid handsomely because they know many programming languages or score high in exams.
They get paid handsomely because they can understand problems, break down those problems into smaller parts, solve them with their programming skills.
And the only way to become better at solving problems is to solve more problems (DUH).
Honestly, there is no other way around it.
Some people (or organizations) might promise you that by taking up their online course, attending their workshop or Bootcamp. You'll be able to create your own website/app by the time you finished the course/workshop/Bootcamp in x number of days.
Well, that's a dream – a really far-fetch dream.
Unless you're a super genius, there's no way you can become a pro in software development just by going through just one course or workshop.
Yes – you might learn something from the course.
Yes - it might prompt you to start to code.
But, that's all about it.
If anything, it's just a ticket or the initial push to get you started.
It's up to you to continue the journey and make a ruckus out of it ( THE famous Seth Godin quote ).
If you want to become a real pro in the software development world, you'll have to:
Make A LOT of mistakes, and find out WHY you're making those mistakes – so that you'll be making fewer mistakes in the future
Try and experiment with different methods of getting better at coding.
That's about it – there's really no secret in becoming a good coder.
Just like how you learned how to walk – It's all about falling, getting back up, discover different ways of not falling, and try it again.
This is how you learn how to code and pretty much everything else.