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Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com

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The hodgepodge school of coding

Instead of the luxury of time to go through one online course after another, how can I just pick up what I need and go from there?


I’d been researching about how I want to build my next project, and have roughly broken it down to sub-projects and tasks that I can begin to understand. But since I have to learn new frontend frameworks like Vue or Nuxt, and also pick up advanced Rails like creating an API, I’m also trying to make it less overwhelming and learn my way in baby steps. I explored some online courses in Vue and Nuxt fundamentals, and was planning to take other courses for Rails too, when it hit me.

The academic approach to learning coding

I’m putting myself through the painful torture of an academic approach to programming, learning things without context of a project that interests me, without alignment to my larger objectives. Sure, if I’m planning to be a professional developer, I can and should do that, work my way through the courses, get credentials, build a portfolio of small projects. But I’m not. Being a professional developer is not the career path I seek. I just want to make things, as an indie maker, and I don’t care about doing things the proper, ‘academic’ way.

Setting constraints brings new thinking

A question popped up in my head, “What if I only had one month to code out a basic MVP using Vue and Rails?” With such a time constraint, what should I do? There wouldn’t be any luxury of time to go through one online course after another. I will just need to learn the bare requirements to get the job done, and pick up the rest after that… if ever. I recognise that I might be starting off on shaky grounds, and my foundation will not be solid, but I can always pick things up later when needed. Who knows everything about any framework or language anyway?

Instead of the academic school, what would a hodgepodge school of coding look like?

The hodgepodge approach to learning coding

Instead of going for courses, I’ll just get started building what I want to build. Learn Vue, yes, but whatever I learn or search for is directed to answering the question of how I build out a feature. If that includes (part of) a fundamentals course, sure. Otherwise, onward to something else that helps me. If I get stuck, ask Google, Stack Overflow, or friends. No bullshit teachers and unnecessary steps to get there.

Would it be harder? Scarier? Probably. But I’m not afraid of difficulty. What I’m afraid of is wasting my time learning stuff I don’t need (like most of the first 20 years of my life). And already it’s been almost a year since I started my #decodingcoding journey, and there’s really no time to waste.

Hodgepodge style be damned.


Follow my daily writings on Lifelog, where I write about learning to code, goals, productivity, indie hacking and tech for good.

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