How to Go From Being a Tutorial Watcher to a Developer

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Watching video tutorials and reading books give us some understanding of what we watched.

However, if we just watch and read tutorials, we’ll never become a real developer.

In this article, we’ll look at what it takes to go from watching and reading tutorials to becoming a real developer.

Stop Looking at Tutorials

We got to stop looking at tutorials and reading the books. Just close all of them.

Then we have to resist the urge to go back to them again. We definitely don’t want to be copying code from those if we want to become a real developer.


After we close all the tutorials, then it’s time to start practicing writing code on our own.

We got to start with whatever we know and start practicing them from that. The easiest way to practice is to find some practice app ideas and then go ahead and start writing code to make those app ideas into reality.

It’s fine for them to be crappy. At first, we just want to get them to work. Then we can clean them up later.

This is where version control systems come in. We would want to set up Git repositories to hold our projects.

Then we have to learn how to commit code and revert if necessary. We can also see the full history of what we committed, so that makes tracking and reverting things easier since we can find them.

Next, we have to pick some app ideas. There’re many of them online. Some of the app ideas include chat apps, forums, payment trackers, and many, many more along those lines.

Just pick one and then start coding. Pick the languages, libraries, and frameworks that we know and then start building the project.

Whatever we do, don’t take too long thinking about what to build. It probably takes 15 minutes is enough.

Be sure to commit code along the way so we can revert if something goes wrong.

If we’re stuck along the way, then find help online. We can search in the search engine of our choice to find what we want.

There’re also chatrooms and forums like Reddit to ask for help. However, we shouldn’t go back and copy stuff from tutorials and books that we’ve watched and read before.

If we got everything working, then we should clean up our code by following some clean code principles like dividing things into small pieces and renaming things to meaningful names.

Also, we can enhance the user experience of our app by streamlining user workflows and making our app look better with some styling.

Why Do We Need to Practice By Building Apps?

We need to practice by building apps because this is what developers do a lot. They think of solutions based on problems and they solve those problems with code.

We should write code to solve problems ourselves to learn along the way. If we can write our own app from scratch by just looking up stuff online, then we’re a proficient developer.

At this stage, at least we got something to work. Next, we have to clean up our code that’s working so that we can write a clean code that everyone can understand.

Once we practice writing and cleaning up stuff, then we understand a lot more than if we’re just watching video tutorials and reading books.

They already give us examples, so reading them and copying from them isn’t going to us any good since copying from them don’t go through our brains too much.

We also get a feel for various parts of app building, including front end and back end development, and UI/UX design.

If we build a whole app from scratch, we’re forced to understand a bit of all those things. This will then become muscle memory if we worked on them enough.


To go from watching tutorials to becoming a real developer, we’ve to practice building apps.

We just pick an idea and build something from it. If we get stuck, we don’t give up. Instead, we search for help online until we solve our problems.

Most ideas are simple CRUD apps, so finding help for them shouldn’t be too hard.

By John Au-Yeung

Web developer specializing in React, Vue, and front end development.

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