How to Code: Web Development

A podcast for aspiring web developers


4: Why teaching is the best way to learn


Robert: [00:00:00] Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the, how to code podcast. In this episode, we are going to be discussing the importance of teaching in order to learn and why I think that teaching is the best way in order for you to learn. So I wanted to kind of get things started by discussing this idea of that while you are teaching yourself how to.

I think it's super important that you share the things that you're learning while you're teaching yourself, how to code

So this isn't something that I think you should be doing further along in your process, but right from the beginning, as soon as you start teaching yourself and you start learning new concepts, languages, techniques, whatever it is that you're learning, it's incredibly important that you share this knowledge with other people.

And throughout this podcast, I'm gonna be going into details of why I think this is important, and [00:01:00] why, and how it's beneficial to you and to others. If you listen to the previous episode where I talked about my, my journey, I talked about how I had applied to a bootcamp, but it was too expensive to get in.

But one of the things that they stressed to us early on, was the importance of blogging while you are going through this boot. So even though I didn't go through the bootcamp with those people, I kind of put myself through my own.

I still took that advice and put it into practice straight away. And the reason being is that sharing information with other people is an incredibly powerful way for you to understand what it is that you're learning. And so basically while you are learning these new concepts, Forcing yourself to write them down and explain them is incredibly powerful and beneficial because it's going to expose a whole lot of gaps in your knowledge and in your understanding.

And I'll go into more details [00:02:00] about that in a little bit. But one thing that a lot of people push back on when I ever I recommend this is this concept that it's like, well, I don't know enough in order to share this stuff. And I I'm too embarrassed. I'm too. And I'm afraid to put myself out there and publish things online because you know, I'm not an expert yet.

So why should anyone listen to me? And that frankly is totally understandable. I felt the same way too. I mean, we all have, you know, various forms of imposter syndrome, but the thing to remember is that you don't have to be an expert in order to share your knowledge with other people. That's not the point.

All you really need to do is by sharing whatever it is that you're learning. There will always be people who don't understand the things that you're sharing. So there will always be people, no matter of where you're at, if you're brand new, or if you've been coding for 20 years, there will always be new people coming in.

Who will be able to benefit and learn from the material that you're creating, even if you're starting from the very, very basics. I mean, just think about it [00:03:00] in, in your school years. And as a student, there was a point in time where you couldn't spell. There's a point in time where you didn't know your ABCs and you couldn't do basic math.

You didn't know what two plus two is. You didn't even know what the number two is. So there's a, there's always a progression in your learning and your understanding. And so no matter what level you're at, people will always be able to benefit from whatever it is that you're sharing. And so when you're sharing this information, it's also really important to share this stuff on social media, like Twitter or LinkedIn in particular, especially in the tech industry, especially in Twitter.

For a few reasons, one it'll gain some traction and it'll expose the content you're creating and the things you're learning to other people and to the greater world and the wider public. But then you'll also be able to locate and find other people who are also teaching themselves how to code, who are like-minded, who are on similar journeys as you, and then that'll allow you to interact with.

And, you know, potentially become quote unquote friends in the sense of like on the online world [00:04:00] friends. And it's also a way of networking. It's also a way of putting yourself out there and potential employers and other companies and stuff could potentially see the things that you're sharing and be impressed.

They might reach out to you when you get to a point where you're actually employable and you have the skills that you need. You just never know, honestly, like you just never know by putting yourself out there, you just never know what could happen. But if you don't put yourself out there, nothing's gonna happen, that's guaranteed to happen.

So you really have nothing to lose, you know? And not another thing that I hear from a lot of people and it's a very common fear. I have the same thing myself is that, well, if I start blogging and I start putting all this stuff out there, I'm afraid of what people are gonna think of me. I'm afraid people aren't gonna think it's very good and all this, but to be honest no one in the, in the early days of your blog and your writing.

No, one's actually gonna really find it and see it to be perfectly honest with you. You're not gonna get like on the top page of Google within your first week or probably within your first month or probably within your [00:05:00] even first six months or year or even longer potentially. So you're not gonna have as much exposure as you think you are.

The only exposure you're gonna. It's by sharing it with people online. And again, when you're first starting out, not a whole lot of people are seeing this, so you don't have to worry about it. The point is just an exercise for you to get in the habit of constantly sharing this information. And, you know, learning in public is really powerful.

It's the same kind of concept as building in public is for startups and founders. If you spend time on Twitter, especially on tech, Twitter and you follow a lot of these people and what's going on in the tech industry, you'll find a lot of startup founders, programmers and people trying to do like, you know, they call themselves indie hackers, various different names.

They share a lot of insight information, which is really powerful. They'll share, you know, this month I made this much money in my company or, you know, the first 30 days of launching my course generated this much revenue or currently working on this feature for this app. And what they're doing is it's just [00:06:00] marketing and it's brilliant.

And people love hearing about that stuff because all of us are curious like, well, you know, I wanna know how much money this guy's making. I wanna know how successful his business is. I wanted to know the ups and the downs, especially the downs. I wanna know about all the problems he's experiencing or she's experiencing.

And you know, when things don't quite go well, when the launch doesn't quite go well, it's expected. And what did you learn from it? Because then we're all benefiting from one another. And it's a very powerful way of. Also gaining trust with people, which is super important when you have the business because if you have trust with people, they'll become your customers, but it's also super important as someone who's learning and studying coding, because if other developers trust you or people at other companies trust you, then they're more likely to hire you compared to just some other resume that gets sent in randomly.

So another thing you can do when you're sharing these things online is that there's, there's a lot of like hashtags and other groups online. Like there's the hundred days of code. You can follow that and, you know, get involved with that community. [00:07:00] There's the code newbies. And there's lots of other ones that you can search for online.

And the whole point is just to share and to meet other like-minded people and kind of network a little bit. So that way you're also not. So you don't feel so isolat. When you're teaching yourself how to code, cuz like I've said in previous episodes it can get pretty lonely. Another thing that's really important is that your blog is actually a very useful portfolio piece and it also will help you when you're, when you do get ready for.

Applying for jobs, it's a useful thing to have on your resume, especially if you have, you know, several articles already written. So if you start out early, like I'm suggesting you do right from the beginning, you'll probably have, you know, a couple dozen articles by the time you get ready to Start applying for jobs.

And that looks really, really good to potential employers, because one, it shows that you know, how to hopefully clearly write and communicate. And it also shows that you're passionate about the, the things that you are applying for and the technologies that you're [00:08:00] using. And then you care about this job.

And then also it shows initiative that, you know how to teach yourself new things and that you're passionate about teaching these things. And then you're also passionate about sharing them with others. And this is just another one of those things that completely sets you apart from just some random application and a pile that companies get for every single job.

So this next kind of segment, I wanted to stress the, just the importance of writing in general, especially as you are teaching yourself how to code and then as a professional software developer and web developer.

So often when we talk about web development and programming and coding and all these things, we're so caught up in the technical aspects and don't get me wrong. It's incredibly important. You need to know the languages, whatever frameworks you're using, you know, you need to know how these things work like.

So the technical stuff is incredibly important, but people tend to think that the technical part is like 80 plus percent of the job. And it simply [00:09:00] just ISN. There's so many other factors and skills that you need as a software developer that have nothing to really do with the technical aspects. And one of those is writing.

Writing is one of those skills that I, frankly, I don't hear a whole lot of people talking about, and especially in the tech industry and I'm, frankly, I'm very surprised and shocked in that this isn't something that's gets brought up more because writing is critical as a software develop.

And I most likely will have an entire episode dedicated to writing for software developers, but I kind of just wanted to touch on a few, like key points for you to think about. The first thing you have to realize about writing is that writing is thinking out loud. That's literally what writing is.

When you write your thoughts and words down a piece of paper, you are sharing your thoughts with the world. So writing is thinking out loud. Writing also will help you clarify your [00:10:00] thinking and it forces you to slow down. So you may think that you have some concept fully baked and you understand it completely.

But then when you go to write it down, you often will quickly realize that you don't actually grasp this thing as be as well as you thought you did. And so writing is so valuable in helping you in helping point. The gaps in your knowledge and understanding. And also it helps you solidify your understanding because writing really helps you.

And forces you to think through these things clearly, and in a way that you, you simply don't, if you don't write. So that's where the whole concept of writing is thinking out loud and writing is thinking that there, the two things are synonymous. You can't write without thinking first. And so you have to do a tremendous amount of thinking and processing and making sure you fully understand something before you can properly [00:11:00] articulate it and write it.

And, you know, again, like I said, writing is really only a, our writing code. Really. It's only a small portion of what you do day to day as a developer. So for example, you need to be able to clearly explain and articulate your thoughts and ideas. So especially if you're working remotely, this is key.

Your primary form of communication is going to be acing. So you're gonna be writing, you know, slack messages. You're gonna be writing emails. You're gonna be writing tickets and documents and things like that. So writing is so, so important, especially if you're gonna be working remotely, because that's your primary way of communicating with other people.

Sure. You have zoom calls and things like that, but overwhelming majority of what you're doing is via. And so you need to be able to clearly explain and articulate your thoughts and ideas through writing, and especially writing becomes [00:12:00] incredibly important when you're in meetings and conversations with non-technical people in the company.

So if you're trying to explain an idea or a concept. Or you're trying to advocate for something that you think that your team should be doing or a feature that you need or whatever the case may be. You need to be able to explain that concept to someone who doesn't speak the same language as you, meaning they're not technical.

So you need to be, be able to convey a very complex and, and technical topic in a way that is not complex and not technical.

And a lot of people really struggle with that. And, and we all do to some degree to some of us, it comes more natural. But it's something that you really need to work at and you need to practice at, and it's, it's unbelievably valuable skill because when you're in a company there's a lot and you're working with a bunch of other software developers.

If you can be the guy or girl in the meeting who can explain these advanced concepts and language that is easily [00:13:00] understandable by anybody in the room, by the CEO, by the marketing person, by anyone and the company you are gonna get very, very far in your career. Very, very quickly. Like you will be promoted very quickly.

You will get the raises and everything else, because again, it's one of those skills that sets you apart from everyone else. So many software developers are so introverted, they don't communicate well. They're socially awkward. And if you cannot be socially awkward and you can communicate and articulate your ideas very clearly and succinctly, I mean, you're gonna go much, much further in your career than a lot of other people.

And so I kind of just wanted to give you. An example of what not to do of when of people who are not very good at writing and clearly articulating their ideas from my own personal experience. I'm not gonna mention the name or the name of this person or the company that I was working for, but there was someone within [00:14:00] our company who I, I was an engineer at the time, a developer and Was working very closely with another team that wasn't specifically engineering.

They were more like design. And so we collaborated quite a bit between, as you can imagine, between a front end developer and like, you know, the UX teams and this one person was incapable of clearly articulating their ideas both verbally. And written form. And so what this person would do is when they would ask, when we would have a story or a feature that would need to get implemented, I kids you, not, this person would write several pages, pages of what this feature needs to be.

They provide all this background information and all this random research and all this stuff, which. I, I guess, is valuable to some people, but as the person who just needs to implement the feature, like I really don't care. [00:15:00] I really just need brass tax. Tell me exactly what you need me to do. And it was unbelievably frustrating working with this person and it wasn't just me.

It was everyone else who interacted with this person and it became a real problem. Because typically what would happen when they would write these pages and pages and pages explaining this feature for a single story, I would then have to take my time, read the entire thing and try to process it and distill it down.

And then I would reply back to them with like four or five bullet points of saying, okay, is this what you need me to do? And then almost nine times outta 10, they would say yes, exactly. Great. Go do that. They never seem to make the correlation that I don't need five pages worth of text and all this background information.

I just need a handful of bullet points of you telling me what I need to do. So this was a real problem and we were hopeful that, you know, given, give this person some time maybe they'll learn, they'll come around [00:16:00] and they just couldn't do it. And when you are unable to communicate. You can't work well and you can't work with other people.

And it was becoming a real, real problem, not only with the engineering team, but the marketing team and like other departments is cuz this person just couldn't clearly articulate their ideas. And ultimately, you know, they were let go. Which is sad, but it's just the nature of the beast. Like if, if, if you're holding people back and you're causing things and you're causing delays and you're not able to clearly tell people what it is you want them to do, then we, you know, ultimately they, we reached a point where it's like, okay, look, this guy is he's, he's more of a hindrance than he is a help.

He's holding us back. He's causing delays and people are unproductive and he's wasting a whole bunch of time. We would be better off without this person. And so, you know, as a consensus, a whole bunch of us all felt that way. And so we let the guy go. And so the [00:17:00] point of sharing that story is don't be that person.

And I shared that from a real world experience because these things do happen. It's not super common, but it does happen. That's more of an extreme case that you would get, let go like that because you can't communicate well, but it does happen. And so I just wanted to share that distress, the importance of why being able to clearly communicate and articulate your ideas and explain them and write them is so beneficial and powerful and something you have to have.

It's not really optional. And then, you know, getting back to the, the title of this episode is this idea of teaching is the best way to learn hands down by far. If you really wanna learn something, if you really wanna understand something and you wanna learn it and understand it the fastest way possible and the best way possible, teach it to someone else.

Now that doesn't mean that you have to have a student right next to you or a person right next to you. Who are you literally teaching? [00:18:00] You know, Physically face to face. This gets back to the whole concept of writing and blogging about what you're learning. And I'm, I'm really kind of surprised that like a whole lot of people are not discussing this concept because it's unbelievably powerful.

And it's what I use to teach myself everything that I've learned so far. And it's been like the number one skill, like my number one piece of advice that I could tell anyone who's teaching themselves, how to code. Share your knowledge with other people and teach it to other people because it, it just as wonders for your, your knowledge, your retainment of how much you actually retain and remember, and just how much on like a deeper, fundamental level, you understand these various concepts that you're learning.

And so another thing too, is that when you go into the when, when you have the mindset of trying to learn a new concept a new language, a new framework, whatever, this thing that you're learning. If you go into learning that thing with the [00:19:00] mindset of, I am going to then share and teach these concepts to someone else, you will approach that material very, very, very differently.

Then if you were just going in there saying, okay, I just wanna read this documentation and learn it. And there's nothing wrong with doing it that way by the way. But if you really want to learn it the best way possible. If you go in with that mindset of, you know, I need to be able to teach this and share this with other people, your approach will be completely different.

And so for example, one thing you'll do is you'll probably take notes, which you should be doing anyways, but your notes will be very different because not only will you be taking notes to help yourself remember the concepts that you're learning, but you'll also be making notes to yourself of saying things like.

Okay. This is really important for people to know, or this concept actually is not as important as it may seem at first. [00:20:00] So you're kind of like selectively picking and choosing which topics you think are gonna be the most beneficial for other people. And by whittling those things down and distilling it down, all you're doing is solidifying your knowledge and your understanding within your own brain.

And I can't stress or overemphasize just how powerful this is. So whenever it is, you wanna learn a new concept. If you go into it with the approach that you're gonna be sharing it, blogging about it, creating a YouTube about it, tweeting about it. However you decide to share it, whatever medium doesn't really matter.

But as long as it's primarily in like a written form, I think that'll ultimately be the best, even if you're gonna make a course or a video out of it. If you write everything down first, it'll help you solidify what you understand up until that point. And then it'll also help you realize, oh, I don't actually quite understand this thing.

I need to go back and learn it. It'll like expose the gaps in your knowledge and your understanding, which is so, so powerful. And [00:21:00] so I wanted to share a little bit about my own personal experience with these concepts, just so you can understand that I'm not just making this stuff, this stuff up and throwing it out there.

These are things that I use myself and I wanted to share my own experience and some of my successes by, you know, putting these, these ideas into practice. So a lot of my success as an engineer over my career over the past, like seven and a half years or so. I can directly tie back to my blog. So I have a website.

If you're not familiar with it already, it's called how to code just like this podcast. You can find it@howtocode.io. I'll put a link in the description. And currently that website is basically contains a whole bunch of blog articles. Some like eBooks that have written. And some courses that have put on you to me, just like my whole output, all of the content I've created around writing code is in the single spot.

[00:22:00] But it didn't always start out that way. I started it back in 2015 shortly after I got my first junior development job and really the impetus for starting it was I had so many friends and people, people online and people, I didn't even know, reach out to me once I. Got my first job. And people realized that I was a self-taught developer and I was able to successfully get a job at a company and was completely self-taught with known prior programming experience.

So many people were reaching out to me and asking me, you know, how did you do it? What books did you read? What courses did you take? Things like that. And. I kind of got tired of answering that question. So I just thought, okay, look, I'm just gonna create a simple website and share links to all the resources like these are the books that I've read.

These are the courses that I've taken. And I put like a little bit of reviews on like, this course wasn't so great. This course was great. Cuz I learned this concept. So you, you might take this course and you could throw away like 50% of the course, but [00:23:00] just take it for understanding these particular concepts, whatever it was.

I was just sharing my experience and all the resources that I used to get, where I to get my job. And over time it's changed a lot. I it's morphed into various different things from like just to being a simple blog. To actually being like a whole curriculum where I try to like lead people through step by step of here's books to read HTML and CSS.

And here's some books on JavaScript and then take this JavaScript course or, you know, whatever it is. This blog has been so powerful over my career because I can say with 100% certainty that the reason why I got my job currently at Cyprus as a DX. Is because of this website it's because in the DX position, I need to be able to create content that education teaches developers, how to use Cypress.

I had courses on TMY that have, you know, tens of thousands of students on them and I've written two eBooks. And so when I was interviewing through the process, honestly, I [00:24:00] was not grilled that hard. On a whole lot of like technical things, simply because I had already demonstrated all of that. I don't really know what questions they would ask me because if they wanted to know, oh, do you know how to do this in JavaScript?

Or what's this, this, this, I had already documented it and written it. And so that was critical and super, super valuable for me landing this job and other jobs at other companies, because you have to understand that there's a lot of people trying to break into this. I help out. A lot of people who are teaching themselves how to code online and through Twitter.

And I'm constantly doing like resume reviews and giving them advice, all the resumes look the same. It's it's, there's like no work experience whatsoever, which is understandable. Cuz you haven't got your first job yet. But there's no freelance projects. There's no like websites that you've worked on. Even for family members.

There's just, there's almost always just like simple little toy apps. Like you'll put, some people will put on there, like, oh, here's a weather app where I use react. And I [00:25:00] inter I interact with some weather API, like. No one cares about that to be perfectly honest with you. Like, and that proves nothing to an employer because no, one's building a trivial todo app in JavaScript.

Like you're not gonna get hired to work on a to-do app. It's very rare. And even if, even if you are working for a company that makes a to-do app, like you kind of need to show and demonstrate that you can do more than just interact with one simple kind of trivial. API and all of these little projects, these little toy projects, they look terrible.

They're not responsive. And so they're. They don't help you resume at all. If anything, they really hurt you because what you're telling employers, and like people will put in there that like, oh, full stack developer. And I know, you know, HTML, CSS react and express, and like they list out all these technologies, all these databases and all this stuff.

And it becomes very, very [00:26:00] clear as soon as you click on one or two of these projects that these people do, do not know anything about these technologies. And so one of the advices that the, some of the advice that I try to help these people with is that your resume literally looks like every other resume I've ever seen from people all around the world.

It, it's not just an American problem or in the state of Pennsylvania where I live. I see this in people in Germany or countries all over the world, they, all these people have the exact same resume. And so if you are an employer, And you're advertising for a junior developer position and you get like 200 resumes that all look the same.

I mean, you're just, you're just a needle in a haystack, basically. Like there's nothing to make you stand out. However, if you know that all those other people basically do that. If your projects are actually like in depth projects, where they look good, you're using, even if you're not good at design, you use a theme or a [00:27:00] template or something that has been professionally designed by someone or use, you know, bootstrap for, or tailwind or something that actually looks good.

And it's responsive and it does more than just like you put in a zip code and it tells you with the weather that will make you stand out far and above everyone else. But the big thing. If you have a blog where you're writing about these concepts, you're demonstrating to your employer, that you're passionate about what you're learning.

You're demonstrating that you understand and know these concepts because you were able to clearly articulate and write about them, which is huge, which that just demonstrates to people that you actually know the things that, you know, yes, projects will help in portfolio pieces and little toy projects.

They kind of help. But the way that you can really gain trust and like prove to an employer that, you know, the things that you're talking about or, you know, these technologies is that they can go on your blog and read about them [00:28:00] and then they can read about what, you know, you know, so they can see like, oh, okay.

Let's, let's learn about, they've written about this concept and JavaScript. Let me read about it. And then, then they can check and see if you actually do understand this concept. Like if you're writing an article about callback functions, for example, and I click on your article if I read that article and I realize that, wow, this person actually does actually understand what callback functions are.

That's a huge trust. Like you just gained a bunch of my trust. And that's also one thing that I don't have to ask you during the, I. You may not get asked, something like that in a junior development interview, but you're also bypassing a lot of stuff that you would normally be asked of you in an interview, cuz you're already demonstrating to your employer that you already understand and know these concepts and you're able to clearly articulate them and share them, which is huge.

And very, very few people do this, which is kind of surprising and shocking to me. So if you do. You will [00:29:00] automatically, in my opinion, be bumped up to like the top 10%, at least of all the other resumes. I can give you another example, which happened. My second job, my second job I applied to it was a it was an agency that worked with nonprofits.

And when I applied for the job. After I had gotten hired, the owner of the company told me that they had received over 400 applications for this position, 400 for one slot. And somehow I got picked out of 400 other resumes and applications. Why? Well, first off, a lot of them are just spam. So a lot of these developers write scripts and just blast out as many resumes and co cover letters to companies as possible.

And they play like a numbers. Which you can immediately tell when that's happening. And so those are automatically discredited, but again, it came back to what I was doing online, my GitHub profile and my blog about writing all of these [00:30:00] things. That's what made me stand out. And that's why I got hunt. I got hired out of, you know, over 400 people.

So I'm telling you the stuff really, really works. If you do it, you'll set yourself apart from the vast majority of people. It's crazy. I'm surprised. And most people don't really do it. And so again, just to share more like statistics, and I'm not sharing any of this to boas or to brag, cuz I've worked very hard and it's taken me many, many years to get to this point.

It doesn't happen overnight, but like my TMY courses, for example, I have over 40,000 students in my TMY courses, I have two courses on Webpac they're completely free and somehow there's 40,000 people out there who wanna know more about Webpac. Didn't start that way. It took several years to get that many students, but again, when I'm applying to a job and I put on a cover letter, I'm like, oh, I also have courses on TMY with over 40,000 students and an average of like four and a half plus stars at a five.[00:31:00]

That is a differentiator from everyone else that catches people's eyes that grabs their attention. And that shows them like, wow, that's a lot of students and wow, they're all very satisfied and happy. I wanna talk to this person because that's, that's impressive. And very few people are able to put stuff like this on their resume because they simply just don't do it.

And if you do do it again, it sets you apart from the crowd and it causes your resume to stick to the. And you're, you're very quickly gaining trust with people right off the bat. So when you go into that first interview, when you go into that first screening, they already know that, you know, your stuff.

they're already impressed by you because you've demonstrated that through your courses, through your writing and things like that. And that's huge. That is massive. They're not just going into it blind. They kind of already have an idea of what, what you're like and what can they can expect from you.

And that carries so much weight when you're going through the [00:32:00] interview process. And I'm also sharing this because there's nothing special about me or what I do. These are just things that I developed over the past seven years, by the way, this is a long, long haul, long term play. This is not shortsighted.

You're not gonna create a blog article or two or three. And it's just gonna open up massive doors for you. This is just one of those things that you just need to consistently do, you know, as, as often as you, as you can. And I'm not saying you need to do like a blog article a week or anything like that, just simply share something.

Once you've learn something, don't worry about getting on like this people always say, oh, you gotta pump out material. Once a week you gotta have a regularly scheduled cadence and da da, da, da. No, you don't. You don't need any of that stuff. Especially in the beginning. The most, I you're primarily doing this for yourself.

And that's the thing to remember, and it's not being selfish. You're doing this to help yourself. And if anyone benefits from it and learns from it, that's just an added bonus, frankly, especially in [00:33:00] the early, in the early days. And in the beginning, you're doing this to help yourself to solidify your own knowledge and your own understanding.

And so whenever you learn a new concept, just share it. You don't have to write a 5,000 word blog article about your concept. You can write a handful of paragraphs. You can record a two minute video, whatever it is, just documenting. The things that you're learning is gonna be so powerful and beneficial.

Throughout your career. And even when you get into your first job, don't stop, keep doing it and just do it at a better and a higher level. And then, you know, maybe you go from creating a blog to, you know, making more video content and then maybe you start making some courses and then maybe you start writing some eBooks or whatever, just.

Keep keep generating more content and sharing because another thing too, it's also a really useful and good way for you to give back because when you're learning, you're learning all this information for the most part for free, from various blogs [00:34:00] TMY courses that are free or. YouTube videos that you're watching for free.

And so you're also, it's also a way of you giving back from all these people, especially if you're using open source tools, like all these languages, tools and frameworks, you don't pay anything for them. And so by you giving back and sharing this knowledge, you're helping grow the E ecosystem and the developer community as a whole.

And that's really, really valuable and you should be willing and wanting to do. So then finally, I just wanted to talk about, okay, how do you actually do this? Like practical boots on the ground. How do I actually get started doing this stuff? So you can build your own blog super easy these days. You don't even need to necessarily write it or create it yourself.

You could use a framework if you want, but there's lots of tools online where you can just. Like use something off the shelf without building your own like blogging platform. And here's the thing we have to be really, really careful [00:35:00] when you get started blogging and creating these things. This is a tra that everyone falls into, especially myself.

If you're building a blog, it can be a really, really good way for you to practice the technical stuff that you're learning. So if you're learning react, for example, And you wanna build your blog with like next JS or something. Great. Go ahead and do it is next JS in react necessary for building a blog?

No, absolutely not. It's overkill in my opinion. And I say that as someone who has a blog, my, how to co website is built with react and next JS, and it's totally overkill for what I needed to do, but I do it because I wanna play around with these technologies and learn them. And it's a way of me actually.

Real things, production applications with these technologies instead of just little toy apps. So, but the thing you have to be careful of, it's very, very easy to get sucked into the trap of, instead of focusing on writing and creating [00:36:00] content, you spend all your time engineering. The tech. So you spend all your time refactoring things, adding new libraries, adding this new framework, this new, like, you're like, oh, it is written with normal CSS.

Oh, I wanna try this tailwind CSS thing. So you're always like bolting on all these technologies and things instead of actually writing the content. And that's really not the point. So you have to be very careful. Then you don't get sucked down that rabbit hole of spending all your time writing code and working on the blog technology itself and not the content because the content is what matters.

So if you find yourself doing this where you're getting sucked down, the rabbit hole of working on the. The coding stuff more than you are of writing the content. My website, how to code do is completely free and open source. You can clone it, including all the content, although I would ask you not to plagiarize and just post that content on as if you wrote it yourself.

But so you can clone it down, delete all my markdown [00:37:00] files and then just create your own markdown files. And it'll just be good to go outta the box. I also have a blog theme for Astro static side generator on my GitHub. And there's also like thousands of these themes for all these various static side generators use, whichever one you want find a theme that looks somewhat decent and just start writing now, if again, you're one of those people that, and you most likely will be that gets sucked down of just like playing around with tech and the technology and stuff.

Instead of creating the content. You can blog on websites like dev dot two, and there's lots of people on there who are also learning and sharing their stuff and, you know, teaching themselves how to code. That's a really, really good community for you to get involved in regardless. And that requires no maintenance, no coding on your part whatsoever.

Hash note is another great option. Ghost is another great option and all those are free. And if you use any one of these static site generators like next JS or you know, I can't even think of all the topic there's so many of them, these like [00:38:00] Hugo is another great option. You can get hosting for free for all of these things.

So you can put it on GitHub pages. You can put it on for sale, you can put it on Netlify. And so the tools are free. The hostings free. So literally everything is completely free. And so you really don't have an excuse not to do it cuz you don't even have to pay to host the thing. The only thing you have to pay for is a domain name, which is like $10 a year.

And again, just to stress this, the, the key is to focus on writing and sharing and not building the technology, not building the blogging platform and you'll fall into that trap cuz I, I definitely do too. However if you do build it yourself, it could be valuable to put that on as like a portfolio piece and to share that.

In your GitHub repository and it'll be another one of those examples of where, you know, how to use whatever technologies you build it and how to actually build like a, a production grade blog and things like that. So anyways that's the end [00:39:00] for this episode? I hope you guys got a lot of value out of this.

I can't stress enough how important writing is in creating content and teaching to give back to others and sharing what you're learning in public. I really try to pack this episode with a lot of advice. And a lot of it may have gone, gone over your head a little bit or it may have gone a little bit too quickly, so you may wanna listen to it once again, but again get started right away, start sharing this stuff, and I would really, really love it that after listening to this episode, if I encourage you or inspired you to get going and get started with your blog, please reach out to me.

All my contact information is on how to code do IO. My Twitter's there. My email's. Please share with me your, your blog and what you're writing. And I would love to see it, man. I would love to see it. I'll do my best to, I will share it out. I'll retweet it and try and help you out and get you some attention and things like that and do whatever I can to help.

I would love to see that. So that wraps it up for this episode. Guys, I'll see you in a couple [00:40:00] weeks in the next one. Cheers.


Host Robert Guss is a self-taught front-end developer currently working as a Developer Experience Engineer at Cypress.io. We discuss learning how to code, strategies for getting your first job, web technology news, interviews, testing, and more on this show.

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Robert Guss