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  • Writer's pictureTim Buchalka

How Should You Go Through an Online Programming Course?

How should you go through an online video course? Skip ahead? Miss sections? Play videos at two times speed? Let’s talk about the pros and cons of doing that today.

Again, we’re talking about how you should go about going through an online video course. There’s lots of different ways of doing it. Some people prefer to go through the video from start to finish. So they’ll watch each and every video in its entirety, they’ll go through all the challenges, coding exercises, get to the end and they’re finished. Now, that’s got an obvious advantage, of not missing anything. Very importantly you’ve gone through everything, you’ve done all the examples, your coding exercises and challenges and hopefully you’ve got a lot out of the course.

But, for some other people, particularly for those people who may have some existing experience in that particular technology, that’s being taught in the course. Perhaps, it’s a good idea to start skipping some sections. So, you might look at, for example, the introductory side of things, the first two or three sections perhaps of a course that goes through the really, more basic things and skip those and we go to a particular area.

What I’m going to suggest in general, is that’s not a good idea. The reason is, over the years, I’ve found that programmers, even if you have picked up skills in a particular language or framework, or whatever it is, if you picked up those skills elsewhere, you can find that when you go to another course, that’s taught in a slightly different way, or, now perhaps there was something omitted in that other training that you find in the new course. So if you skip ahead and just assume that you know all that already. You’re opening yourself up for the possibility of failure.

Now, sometimes I go through a video course, still, and I like watching them in their entirety and believe it or not, even after 35 years as a programmer, I will still sometimes find things and go, “Wow! I didn’t know that!” or like, “Wow I didn’t realize that.” I’m still learning every day. I would suggest you don’t skip ahead. Now, the same applies also at playing videos faster. Now, some people like to put videos at 1.5 times the normal speed or two times and just sort of fast forward through it and they’re in a rush to finish it. The other thing I really wanna point out here is that, you shouldn’t be treating this as a race. It’s not a race to get to the end of the course quickly. The idea of taking the course, the idea of spending your money, is to learn something, to hopefully be able to take those skills and to give yourself a job in the future.

So, if you instead hell bent on finishing the course as quickly as possible, chances are pretty high you’re going to miss something. So I would suggest you take your time, allocate a block of time to finish the course. Knowing it’s not gonna happen over night. It’s not a race, take your time, go through it all, from start to finish. Again, as I pointed out earlier in the video, do all the coding exercises and challenges et cetera and complete the course in its entirety and you’ll end up a better programmer in the long term, because you fully understood, hopefully, the material that’s been taught in that course.

I hope that helped. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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