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Answering Listener Questions: Devin, a Non-Developer, Asks About Grasping Things That Go Over His Head, and Finding Starting Points

Published 4/30/2015

In this episode, long-time listener Devin asks about how to grasp things that go over his head. You're not alone, Devin! In this episode, I give you (and others just like you) encouragement in the midst of your confusion, as well as some more practical advice for learning something new.

Today's sponsor is OneMonth.com - go to OneMonth.com/developertea and enroll today to get 25% off your first month!

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I am taking a question from a listener named Devin Devin has been listening to Developer Teasince episode three that is quite a long time I'm hoping Devin also picked up on episode one and two But he has been listening since episode three that is incredible. Thank you so much for being such a long time listener Devin I really appreciate it. So here is Devin's question He says I've been listening to your podcast since episode three and a lot of what you talk about goes over my head Because I am not actually a developer yet. I am working in a different field And I've always wanted to be a developer but never had the opportunity to go to college or seek out any other programs However, would you know of a good starting point to get me going? Maybe a language or guide I could read or study or maybe a coding bootcamp? I've actually started learning Ruby on Rails. I'm just kind of lost and there's a lot out there in the realm of development Any feedback is very much appreciated. Thanks again for your podcast First you are so welcome Devin. I'm so glad that you are a listener and that other people just like you are listening to this podcast Even if some of the stuff that you are hearing goes over your head Devin you should not feel alone first of all There are plenty of people who are listening to this podcast who are not yet developers or they are very early in their development career And they get a little bit confused by something that we might talk about every once in a while or maybe something goes over their head That's okay That is okay if you are listening to this podcast right now and you've heard a few episodes and you feel like You need to understand everything that is going on in those episodes. You don't You don't it's okay if you don't understand everything that goes on on Developer Teajust like it's okay If you don't understand everything about development in general It is so important that you allow yourself the opportunity to learn by not understanding Let me say that again you learn by not understanding but continuing to expose yourself to things that you do not yet understand This is how we learned as a very young children Especially learning language which is quite similar to learning programming language We were exposed to words and consistently shown what those words mean We were given consequences of what those words mean for example We we began to understand that food or hungry was connected to us Eating something and so we would hear that and we would be able to understand the connection between what we were hearing and What actually happened in real life and that is how our brains Work that is how we learn about our surroundings We take in new information that we do not understand and we process it over and over so Devin Don't stop listening and that's not just because I want you to listen to this podcast It's because we learn by immersing ourselves in things that we don't yet understand It's the way that our brain adapts to things and so it's very difficult for you to sit down and try to read a full Glossary for example of programming terms because you aren't being immersed in real-life situation Instead you're trying to cram a bunch of formalized information in your brain And this is why most often people learn better by doing projects then by going through some sort of formalized content right So we're going to do a quick sponsor break for one month.com Devin is actually a student at one month, which is really awesome But we're going to do that sponsor break and then I'm going to come back and tell you what kinds of projects and what kind of Situation you want to put yourself in to be conducive to learning these things That you've never experienced before to learning things that you don't yet understand 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 enrol now at one month calm front slash Developer Tea and get 25% off your first month Now normally access to all courses cost 99 dollars and access to one course usually costs 49 dollars 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 enrol now for 25% off your first month at one month calm front slash Developer TeaSo we've talked about learning things that we don't understand by immersing ourselves in situations Where we are exposed to those things It is important to understand also that teachers and curriculum are entirely valid that they are worth while and here's why A teacher and a curriculum is an intentional exposure to things that you do not yet understand as well as exposure to people who do already understand them So to go back to our analogy of learning as a very young child The way that we learn language was from someone who already knew it So if we had a question about what eating meant our parents were there to show us the food When we are learning a brand new concept in code It makes sense for us to have someone or something available That tells us what that particular concept is And so if you're trying to build something it makes sense to have someone who knows what they are doing to guide you through that process of building Whether that is through a curriculum that you access online Maybe you don't have a personal relationship with that teacher But even better is if you do have a personal relationship with someone So you can ask questions and get answers on demand Now that kind of situation quite often you aren't going to be able to find that For free but it is very much worth paying for if you are serious about becoming a developer paying for someone to be your mentor is one of the biggest and most important steps you can take as a young developer Now you can teach yourself development it is very much possible If you are strapped for money or maybe you're just trying to see if this is going to work as a hobby And then maybe one day you could turn it into a job Maybe you don't have the money to invest in it There are certainly ways that you can learn by simply looking at content online Exposing yourself to that content and then being able to articulate your problem well enough That you can find answers to your problem because other people have probably had that same problem before Okay, so what kinds of projects are best for learning? This is a huge and important question And I think it's one that everyone listening to this show at some point or another has asked I'm going to give you a very simple guideline that consists of two words fun and small Those are the most important things to keep in mind when you are building something for the sake of learning keep it small And keep it fun and here's why that's so important I think that a lot of us have a tendency to believe that we will be able to stick to learning about development Simply because we want to we want to learn how to code and that may be true for some people But if you are constantly running into problems when you're trying to build something that is really just not very fun If you're trying to learn by building something that is boring Well, you're in your emotional incentive and your state of mind is going to deteriorate much quicker than if you were having fun If you were building something that Immediately was fun for you to build if you're enjoying it You're going to spend time on it and you're going to invest emotional energy and mental energy into it that you otherwise might not invest Keeping things small is also important because it limits the number of things that can go wrong and You see a faster return on your investment. So you if you keep things small Then you're going to finish them faster and if it's fun, you're going to have a reward Right, so getting a reward faster. This is a very simple A mental kind of psychological thing that all of us should understand that the faster we can reward ourselves for learning The more likely it is we will continue to learn. So keeping things fun and small Basically gives you a reward for your work sooner Reward yourself for your work by doing small fun projects. That is an ultimate way of learning development Thank you so much for listening to the show Devin, I hope this helps you out But the truth of the matter is development is not easy Development is a difficult process and that is why people can spend their entire lives Learning about it and still never completely learn everything about it It's a hard process and you're not alone in not understanding it all But if you do things you enjoy and you incentivize the learning process I promise you will begin to learn Immerse yourself in things that you don't understand and your brain will adapt to those things Thank you so much for listening to Developer TeaIf you are like Devin and you have a question for me You can find me on Twitter at at Developer Teawhere you can email me at developertea@gmail.com There's also a contact form on developertea.com and the show notes for all of the episodes of Developer Teacan be found on developertea.com Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea