Hey, today I will share thoughts on how youtube coding gurus as free courses or timelapse courses cum career ruining speed learning courses: How Youtube Ruining Career of Coding Beginners.
This is the real-life experience of Sarra(Product Manager, Microsoft) and Sahil(Software Engineer, Google). Youtube at POWER COUPLE
What I Suffered From
they are sharing their experiences of that time when they worked hard and got only rejection emails from hundreds of companies as they fall into the deep well of hallucination made by youtube’s so-called coding gurus.
As a beginner, I started following youtube coding gurus and this is what I got is 100s of rejected emails from various companies.
What the Youtube Coding Gurus are in Reality
That’s because anyone who has learned programming for 4 months or done one coding BootCamp thinks that they are qualified enough to give coding advice on youtube.
Many of these popular YouTubers have not even held a real software engineer job for more than a year. That’s why you see hundreds of videos on top programming languages and how to learn to code that give you generic advice that is not actionable and leads you nowhere.
The Rabbit Hole of Youtube Coding Videos
And as a naive beginner, I went down this rabbit hole of coding videos on youtube. I would binge-watch youtube to figure out the best programming language to learn or the next cool framework that is in demand. Every time I did this I would come out more confused than before.
At one point I was learning web development mobile development machine learning and whatnot at the same time.
After doing all this when I applied for jobs I could not even get past the phone screen rounds. It was all so overwhelming for me that at one point, I decided to quit programming. Fortunately for me, I had friends who worked as software engineers in some of the best tech companies.
I left Youtube and Moved On
They gave me the right practical advice on how to become a software engineer and now, I work alongside them in one of the biggest tech companies. Now that I have been working in the tech industry for a few years, I want to be that friend to you and tell you about all the bad youtube content that almost killed my career. If you stay with me till the end I will also share my secret weapon for how to actually learn new technologies.
The Youtube Toxic Videos
This might help you save all the months that I lost to the toxic youtube advice. The first kind of content that I found highly toxic are the videos where they teach you technology in under 15 minutes.
Want to learn Python? Here’s a video where the creator teaches you Python in 15 minutes. This one even comes with a 100% guarantee (Crash Course). It is time for a back guarantee? I don’t know.
And these videos are no ordinary videos, they have been watched by millions of people. When a 5-minute video like this is watched by a million people a total of 5 million minutes are wasted which is roughly equivalent to 10 years. Had these years been used efficiently I can’t even imagine the impact they could have on the actual advance in technology.
We are justified to Youtube quick videos
Look, I understand that we live in a world full of distractions. Watching a quick TikTok while waiting in a queue to buy some tickets is justified. But as a result of this constant switching between things, our attention spans have become very limited and that’s why these 10 minutes videos look very appealing.
But, when it comes to learning a hard skill like programming, I am afraid there are no shortcuts. If you don’t already know, I hate to break it to you but coding is really hard.
Why do they really make these videos?
And if someone is claiming to teach you a new tech skill in a few minutes, the person either knows nothing about programming or just wants your clicks that will make only money for him/her.
Many times, these videos are made to get your attention to upsell you some other courses. When that happens, these videos are no different from the ads we see for get-rich-quick schemes where they show you shiny cars to sell you expensive courses.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with selling courses and there are many creators on youtube who have helped their community by making great courses. But when the person selling the course have themselves done programming for only a few months, it becomes very dangerous.
If you think this is messed up, wait until I reveal the most harmful youtube content that has destroyed so many careers. In my case, I would watch a few videos like this and start feeling very confident. But, when I would go ahead and try to make my own projects, I would be stuck in no time and had no clue about how to proceed.
A Friend’s Practical Advice helped me
And in those moments, I would start questioning my abilities and feel like I am not good enough. When I told my friends about my situation, they advised me to start learning by doing coding exercises online instead of watching these videos.
The moment I began doing that, I saw a clear improvement in my coding abilities and I never looked back again. Another piece of advice that proved detrimental to my career was this constant chatter about learning web development frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.
There is no harm in learning front-end development but for a complete beginner like me, front-end development was the not right choice. That’s because there are just too many different things to learn before you can actually become an employable front-end developer.
You will be looped if you are not on a right path
If you thought that’s all, there are things like Redux, NextJS and god knows what else. For a beginner with no coding background, it’s next to impossible to master everything. That’s why most self-taught programmers fail to get an actual job after learning all these technologies.
And that is very demotivating and most give up on their dream to become a software engineer. Personally, I learned many front-end technologies like React, Tailwind, and Redux. I am also guilty of participating in a futile discussion on how react is better than angular. But after learning all these frameworks, when I looked for job opportunities, I found myself very restricted in the kind of companies I could get in. I am not getting interview calls from the big tech companies which was my main goal. That’s because I could not master these many technologies, all at once.
On the hind side, I should have instead focused on mastering one language. On top of that, I should have tailored the entire learning process in a way that gets me a job in the end. Learning 5 different technologies as a beginner is not as easy as they make it sound on Youtube.
It took me a long time to realize this and it cost me many many months. And this brings me to one of the most demotivating contents on Youtube. And if there is one type of video that a beginner should avoid at all costs, it’s this one.
This is the content where YouTubers tell you how they learned a new technology in 3 days or 7 days. some of them have even built their startups in a few hours. First of all, learning a new technology means different things for different people.
For some, it might mean just following along with an online tutorial to build some basic app. And for others, it might mean making multiple projects on their own to cover advanced concepts of technology.
Secondly, these YouTubers might have exceptional programming skills and they could be better than you and me. So, they might be able to learn new tech skills in a few days.
But, a beginner can not expect to do the same. Forget about learning new technology in 3 days, I have spent more time debugging errors than when I first started out.
Youtube Videos give you a false hope
These videos give you false hope that you can learn programming in just a few days. Many people quit their well-paying jobs to become software engineers after watching these videos because they underestimate the effort it takes to become a programmer. And when they hit their first wall, they panic and don’t know what to do. If you’re in the same boat, I just want to tell you that it’s normal to struggle while learning to program.
I have been coding for 5 years and I have worked at multiple big tech companies now but I still can’t learn new technology in 7 days. Definitely not enough to post a video about it on youtube. So, skip these kinds of videos and instead focus on learning actual coding. This brings me to the youtube content that wasted the most amount of my time.
And these 10-15 hours tutorials on youtube teach you just one technology. The intention behind making these videos is to teach one thing end to end. But, this doesn’t work because of 2 reasons:
- If you think you will watch a 10-hour video and you remember everything, in the end, that’s highly unlikely.
- Even if you manage to learn and remember everything, you’ll never use most of these things.
Let me tell you about my experience working in the tech industry, As I have mentioned, I have worked at multiple tech companies. Every time I switch companies, I have to learn new languages or technologies. So,
How to pick up a new language fast?
I learn by doing and I don’t try to learn everything in the beginning I focus on the basics. Do the basic tutorials to get acquainted with the basic concepts. I make sure that I complete the exercise portion of the tutorials. Then I started working on the tasks assigned to me and learning new concepts as needed to do the job.
I call this way of learning utility-based learning which means you learn new concepts as you need them. This makes sure that you run into issues that have to be debugged and you learn a lot in the process. If you keep doing it for some months, you’ll automatically become good at the technology that you’re learning.
And the best part is that you also complete some tasks or build some projects in the process.
Avoiding bad youtube advice is not enough to become a software engineer.
You need a clear path for how to learn to code and actually get a job.