The journey of the self-taught developer

So many developers I stumble across these days are ‘self-taught’ – but it’s never really clear what that actually means.


How did you learn?

The frustration I have with the self-taught crowd is that all too often they don’t seem to actually be working as developers.

More often, they are Content Creators – they know their stuff in some areas and spend their time creating content about that niche and some cool things you can do within it.

I’m not knocking it – there is a time and place for it, and there is clearly an audience for it too.

The thing I don’t get is where these people did their learning – how did you learn to do this thing that you’re now showing me?

That knowledge seems like the much more beneficial stuff to share.

So that’s what I want to do here.


Why do I want to learn this?

I want to learn. Properly.

I know from experience that the day to day development tasks aren’t often anything like the sort of things that people cover in their social outputs.

Sometimes it could be working on accessibility fixes, creating a responsive layout or maybe even building a new component.

A lot of the time this is also happening within an existing codebase – reinventing the wheel isn’t part of the process.

So how do you learn properly? What do you need to learn? Where can you go to learn it? How can you put it into practice?

How do you become self-taught?


How am I going to learn?

I’m never going to be completely self-taught.

I’ve already had a head start, developer experience and I’m working my way through various courses to try and get a good grasp of all the things I want to know and be capable of doing.

This is the journey that I’m writing about here, and this is the one that I think will be most useful to others that want to do the same kind of thing.

For now, I will continue with Codecademy’s Back End Engineer Career Path – that’s filling in some blanks for me right now and it looks like it’s going to offer up the content areas that I’m keen to delve into further.

I don’t think it’s going to cover everything though.

When it feels like that’s the case, I’ll find another source – and I’ll share that one too.


Body of work

I’ve set myself the goal of 365 Git commits this year and my count is slowly creeping up.

With these commits, I want to be able to look back this time next year and see just what I’ve been up to – see what I built!

Codecademy hasn’t yet made it easy for me to tackle projects outside of their platform.

That’s both good and bad.

It’s good because it’s really easy to just learn the topic in isolation – it’s bad because there are other considerations that get introduced when you move out of the browser and into your IDE.

I’ve been considering an online Bootcamp just to get a bit of practical project work to complete as well as having a higher level of accountability – another factor that I need in order to learn properly!