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Answering Listener Questions: Matt asks about the feasibility of finding remote work, online education, and the order of learning

Published 5/8/2015

Matt is a beginner developer who is making a shift to support his new life situation, in which he is unable to work a normal 9-to-5 job in an office. Matt sent me an email asking a few questions about this shift, and how he should begin to learn.

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This episode is sponsored by OneMonth.com. Head over to OneMonth.com/developertea to get started learning Ruby on Rails in just one month, and receive a limited-time 25% discount!

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I'm answering a question from Matt Jonson Matt is a listener of Developer TeaHe's been listening for quite a while and he actually asked me a series of questions All of which I think are going to be very interesting to you But I wanted to share a little personal story with you. I actually just got back from a Long endeavor into the country of Ireland my wife and I took a vacation to Ireland It was an incredible trip. We loved it. I'll probably end up posting a series of photos over the next couple of weeks on my Twitter account You can follow that and see my completely unrelated to development pictures of our romping through Ireland at At Developer Teaor at J Cutrell Depending on the day some days I will tweet more on one or the other just kind of depends on my mood for that day I do tweet regularly from Developer TeaEpisodes that I have done in the past as well as the newest episode for the day So follow Developer Teaon Twitter To stay up to date and that is also a place where you can ask me questions Now Matt actually asked me a question by emailing me at Developer Teaa Gmail And that is how he asked Such a long and detailed question Matt is in an interesting situation So I'm going to go ahead and read Matt's question Hi Jonathan I came cross Developer Teawhile looking for web development podcasts and have greatly enjoyed many of the episodes Your constant encouragement to contact you finally got the best of me The reason I am writing you is to hopefully get a bit of advice from someone knowledgeable in the development field I'm at a point in my life where I am looking to learn web development for future career And wanted to get your advice on if you think my plans and goals are realistic or not Let me give you a little background My current situation is that I have a long-term health issue that makes me unable to work a traditional nine to five job and an office I had to quit my previous job which I was trained for and got my degree in because of this now I'm in the position of trying to find a new career that can be done remotely from home I've always been interested in web design and development but have never pursued it further than passing interest because of lack of time Now that my situation has changed I've been looking at it seriously as a possible future career and have become excited about the idea of learning web development Well, Matt, you're in the right place a lot of people listening to this podcast are in the process of learning How to be a web developer with that history in mind my questions for you are as follow Matt had four questions for me today First of all, is it realistic to be able to learn the skills needed to be a web developer through an online school or online boot camp the short answer is no and That kind of comes as a surprise to to a lot of people probably because I have online schools and online boot camps that sponsor this show and I'm a big believer in them But the truth of the matter is that the skills that you need to be a web developer come by you practicing web development Certainly an online school or online boot camp is a great place for you to begin learning those skills But is it enough for you to get all of the skills you need? No, is it something that I recommend? Absolutely, there are many different ways to to go about instruction Whether it's self instruction or pseudo guided instruction like if you were to go to an online boot camp That is automated in some way or has some kind of accessible information that you can watch Maybe it's just recorded Screencasts and you're watching somebody else teach you the screencast or if you actually have a personal connection With your teacher of course the personal connection with the teacher allows you to ask specific questions As we'll talk a little bit about the sponsor for today one month calm They actually allow you to ask questions of the teachers They have kind of a mixed version of an online online school. So Is it realistic to be able to learn the skills needed to be a web developer through an online school or online boot camp? No, but it is realistic to expect to begin learning and to expect to have enough skills and enough knowledge to begin practicing the trade of Being a web developer So the next question that Matt asked is is it realistic to be able to work entirely remotely as a web developer? Probably focused more on front end the simple answer is yes It is realistic in fact there are many companies who hire Developer That work only remotely Even very large companies like GitHub they have large Numbers of employees that are only remote and in fact there are some companies where all of their employees are remote and especially this is true for web developers So you are looking at the right field if you want to get into remote work working from home There are a lot of people who talk more about this. I actually do not work remote So I am not the expert on remote work however there are some really good resources and Some companies that actually are Proponents of this idea they share experiences GitHub is a big proponent of the idea you can go and Google plenty of things related to Get hubs remote workers and what they do to make remote work work for them Now you should take my advice on this and really my advice on anything with a grain of salt and not every company provides The opportunity for people to work remotely but especially in your case especially because You have the disadvantage of not being able to be on site necessarily A lot of companies would consider a Remote position especially in this field so keep that in mind that not every company has remote positions available Don't expect it, but there are a lot of companies who who work sometimes even solely with remote workers Sometimes they have found that the remote workers actually Support their working style better or support their culture the company culture better than on site workers And before I read the next two questions from Matt and answer them I'm going to do a quick word from our sponsor one month calm and then we'll be right back to answer Matt's questions What if you could learn to build anything in one month? Well with one month calm you can just ask any one of the 20,000 students who have learned to code on one month calm by building real websites and Applications complete with payment systems security solutions and full stack deployment You can start without any prior experience in just 15 minutes a day for 30 days all online That's because one month hyper focuses on applied techniques that you use immediately in the apps you are building as part of the courses One month's courses are the easiest way to learn new tech skills including Ruby on Rails Python content marketing growth hacking and more and the best part is if you get stuck There's always someone there to help you out while you learn. Yes. That's a real person not an automated computer So enroll now at one month calm front slash Developer Tea and get 25% off your first month Now normally access to all courses cost $99 and access to one course usually costs $49 But with the special URL you get full access for just $74 or one course for $37 That's less than $3 a day or if you do a single course, it's just over $1 a day Enroll now for 25% off your first month at one month calm front slash Developer TeaThanks so much to one month calm for sponsoring today's episode and Matt I think one month would be a great place for you to start But let's continue with the questions that you sent in the email number three How would you recommend going about learning the skills I need to be ready to work as a web developer and in what order? Is there any online school or bootcamp you recommend or is there a better way you would recommend? This is probably the most popular question that I get Through Developer Teaa Gmail and on Twitter this question is very simple It's how do I learn how to be a web developer and this is something I'm really interested in in fact I'm interested enough in it that I'm doing some research through some reading and and also doing some primary research and asking people Trying to find out how we learn how to be web developers I found some things that I think are going to be helpful. I'm reading a book right now that is all about the science of learning Now I haven't finished the book But it's called make it stick. It's a great book so far comes highly recommended and all of the book is backed by Significant amounts of research which they cite in the book so it seems to be a very good resource on understanding how we learn and One thing that they mention in there that is counterintuitive to To what you might expect to be the case is that you should learn things Interleaved with each other in other words and don't learn JavaScript and then CSS and then HTML learn JavaScript HTML and CSS all at the same time and this is counterintuitive because Even on this show I've mentioned the importance of focus focusing on one thing at a time in order to get things done But in fact when we are learning Sometimes it is better to take the harder route in other words It's better to learn HTML CSS and JavaScript and how they interact with each other because it forces us to Recall different things in different ways in other words you can't learn by repetition and expect Your recall agency in your brain To be able to work as well in the future So if you learn HTML all at once and then you start learning CSS Your recall ability for HTML is going to drastically decrease as soon as you stop the repetition process and that and the reason for that is a Lot of science that I don't totally understand but I know that this is true that you should learn the things that you want to learn Interleaved with multiple subjects Preferably things that are related to each other in some way And the basic reason for that is because all of our learning processes are a Attempt to store information in our brain for later recall and use in other words We're trying to remember things in order to use them in the future in order to know them in the future For example just learning a language or learning Even a programming language we want to remember the syntax of that language so that when we need it in the future We can we can recall that information from our brains and repetition is not the best way to do this according to the research By the by the authors of make it stick Instead it's better to test yourself and to do interleaved learning in other words learn multiple things at once So so that answers the ordering question learn things that are similar to each other and learn them in parallel to each other learn them at the same time read about HTML and then read about CSS and then perform Test on your ability to recall the information that you've just learned Perform tests on your ability to recall HTML information as well as CSS information Together because in reality that's actually how you're going to be working anyway You're gonna be writing HTML and CSS In parallel to each other so it makes sense for your brain to learn them at the same time as well Of course the sponsor of the show is one month I would recommend them as an online learning resource. There are quite a few others That are very good that are just a Google search away There are a lot of free resources online as well if you are not able to invest in In what one month offers now. I will say this one month style of learning is also Practical and they have you go through the process of actually creating something which tests your your recall abilities To be able to build something as you're going along if you decide to do self-guided study if you decide to do a Free free free resources make sure you follow the same concepts to continue working and practicing as you go along Don't simply inundate your brain with information and expect it to stick and you should be constantly testing your brain By executing the things that you are learning and putting yourself in a position Where you are actually practicing what you are learning and this leads me to your fourth question, which is Which is the following any other suggestions or advice you could give someone wanting to learn and just starting out Am I way off base and totally being unrealistic? No, you are not being unrealistic. This is something that humans do This is a feat that you can accomplish if you give yourself The proper space to fail and if you give yourself the proper space to learn The truth is learning happens when we fail failure is such a strong Motivation for us to learn but also we have a improper perception of the way our brains work We think that if we fail once we are biased to think that we're going to fail again We think that things stay the same Given the same inputs because we think our brains are Kind of inherently whatever they are whenever whenever we are born But the truth is every experience we have changes our brain new neural pathways are created or they're strengthened or they're destroyed There's all these different things that are happening that I definitely don't understand everything about but the truth of the matter Is that your brain changes and as you fail you are learning so that is the advice that I would give you is when you fail Don't be discouraged in that failure Realize that that failure is information that you use later and it's only pushing you further to learn Am I saying that you should always fail and if you continuously fail that you're on the right track? Not necessarily I do think that eventually as you see failure occurring over and over that perhaps it's time to seek out a mentor Or maybe you need to move in a different direction for a while But as you continue down the road if you are experiencing failure and confusion Remember it's a positive thing rather than a negative thing We think that failure is negative because we aren't accomplishing what we are trying to accomplish But the reality is that we are learning along the way which is actually your goal You're asking how do you learn and the truth of the matter is that learning is full of failure So what comes first? Well as I said in a previous episode start with something small and fun start with something that is very limited in scope and That is interesting to you that is fun for you to think about and firm for you to create something around a subject that you are interested in and Just do that thing just build that thing as as completely as possible start by trying to build and when you run into problems try to solve those problems first and Then seek out external information to help you solve them rather than starting with instruction Start by trying to build something and then you can move forward in a way that you are discovering Solutions rather than starting with solutions. That is the best way to learn Matt, thank you so much for sending in your questions There are people who are listening to this show right now who are encouraged by your decision to make a shift in your life especially when you are at a disadvantage With a health issue there are other people who are probably listening to the show who have health issues Who have been given a hope by you taking a step out and actually trying to do something about your situation You've taken one of the most important steps and that is to get the nerve to ask questions to get the nerve to ask other people questions Is such an important part of the learning process because it opens you up to to learning to actually Realizing what you don't know and then learning that thing so that you can move forward now I'm not saying that I have all the answers, but I am saying that you learn when you ask questions Thank you so much for your questions other people who are listening please send in your questions if you have them to Develop or T at Gmail.com and follow me on Twitter at Developer TeaAnd my personal Twitter is at J. Cutrell. I love you to follow me there as well Remember show notes for this episode and all other past episodes can be found at developertea.com There's also a comment thread at developertea.com Comments and questions are definitely welcome on developertea.com If this show has helped you in some way Consider giving back to the show by going to the iTunes page for the show Which is in the show notes and leaving a quick review that is a huge help in helping other Developers just like you find Developer Tea. Thanks so much for listening to Developer Tea and until next time enjoy your tea