Matthew Schad

Matthew Schad

Learn By Shipping

Oh, how splendid Software Development is nowadays for a newcomer – you have a motley of technologies, frameworks, types of problems to solve. Where does one start?

When you make your first google search queries to pick a direction, you'd likely notice that there's an abundant set of learning content for anything you'd want to do.

Tutorials are good for understanding fundamentals and deciding if the tool is one you may enjoy using, but overall I think the Tutorial landscape can limit growth for a lot of people if they get stuck in the "Tutorial Hell" that often comes with this information overload.

Impact is a higher priority than learning - if you're focusing on creating an impact, learning will certainly be a part of that process, especially if you take notes. To me, tutorial learning is rote learning. Learning for a deployable action implements Active Learning and gives experiences for Associative Learning.

A few low-friction ideas to learn by shipping:

  • Learn about Stripe by helping a small local business begin monetizing online
  • Learn about a CMS by helping a non-coding friend publish their ideas
  • Learn about accepting donations online by helping fund a non-profit with a mission you support
  • Learn about an industry you are interested in by lending development time to a relevant business
  • Learn about Web Accessibility to help a local physicians office serve more people

Pathways like this seem more fruitful than learning how to use something just for the sake of learning it. That newly attained knowledge will fade away in some time if you don't put it to use, so why not start with the desired outcome first?