tanaypratap's letters

The 3 Stages of Tutorial Hell

Published 5 months ago • 4 min read

As much as I appreciate YouTube as a platform to truly interact with one’s audience, I strongly feel that it has led to significant harm to students who wish to learn a skill.

Why? Simply because of the hellish number of choices, most of which aren’t helpful at all.

I have talked to enough freshers and if there’s one thing that I am sure of - it is that all of them are stuck in tutorial hell.

what is tutorial hell?

Tutorial hell can be described in three stages:

  1. The Watch-a-thon
    In the watch-a-thon, you simply watch lots and lots of tutorial videos on every platform possible.
    It is a great ego-booster because you observe that you are probably the only one watching tutorials in your immediate circle. Hence, you start believing that you are better than others. After all, you watch videos while they don’t.
    With this false sense of achievement, you think that you will easily get a job. That’s because your immediate competition, your friends, don’t watch tutorials. But the world is huge, my friend. Companies and recruiters have a never-ending pool of candidates and you might not stand even a minor chance in that pool.
  2. The Clone Zone
    The students in this circle usually follow one or the other Bhaiya/Didi (yours truly included) on the Internet. They know that they need to build projects to stand out. Hence, while watching the tutorial, they copy-paste and manage to create a project.
    If Tanay Bhaiya says to host the project and add it to GitHub, they will do it. If the tutorial tells them to design a marketing campaign with certain artifacts, they will do it. If the course says to create a financial model in Excel, they will do it.
    Where they falter is they don’t realize that thousands and lakhs of others follow the same Bhaiya/Didi, courses and tutorials.
    Every Data Science kid has that same Twitter Sentiment Analysis or COVID-19 forecasting project on their resume.
    I have nothing against such projects because you do need to start somewhere. But you also need to understand that such projects do not make you stand out in front of the recruiter. They see dozens of such projects every day.
    Copying projects to the T will not help your case. Period.
    Take it up a few notches.
  3. Advanced Echo Chamber
    Advanced Echo Chamber is the Clone Zone with advanced concepts.
    You watch videos on advanced topics, say, Debounce, Throttle, Normalization, etc. for web development. You put all of these keywords on your resume. You copy and create some projects. And now you believe that you know too much. So you don’t apply to fresher jobs anymore but experienced jobs and demand a lot more salary.
    The HR goes through the same pain again. They get all the resumes with the same projects, but this time, with fancier keywords.
    Trust me, recruiters know which tutorials you all watch and learn from. They are in the business of finding the right candidates for their companies. They know.

I have talked to enough freshers in both tech and non-tech spaces now. The entitlement is through the roof. You all watch a few tutorials and think that you should get the best perks and the highest salaries. Take a look at the market now. At least try and get your career started. It’s 40 years long.
If you keep at it, you will earn good money in no time.
Why do you want it to be the first thing straight out of college?

how should one learn a skill?

I blame the instant gratification through social media. That’s what has put this current generation into a rush.

It’s like that game of Pokemon Go that was popular some years ago. Web dev, backend, android, web3 - all are different Pokemons. You watch a 15-30 minutes video and somehow, that skill comes up on your resume.

To truly learn a skill, you need to invest time. Choose a tutorial that spends at least 6-8 hours in creating one project. And then repeat it thrice.

Say, you built the Zomato page following a tutorial. Amazing! Now you try and build IMDB’s page the same way. It also has listings and product pages. Watch the video and try to map the actions.

The third time’s the charm. So now build a TripAdvisor page but without the video. You can refer to the code you wrote for Zomato and IMDB but try to do it by yourself as much as possible.

Let’s take another example. You want to learn how to build a financial model. Start with a subscription-based revenue model. Find a detailed tutorial on how you would create a financial model on Excel for Netflix. Repeat the exercise for another subscription-based company, eg., Zomato (specifically Zomato Gold). Now do it again without any video for a third company that sells subscriptions.

This is how you develop a skill - when you spend enough time on the depth, on the details. I must tell you it will be hard. But it will bring you learning and growth.

When the interviewer asks you any question on this project, you will not fail while answering.

Need a new feature? This is how I will add it.

Want to add a new subscription? This is how I will modify the financial model.

When you spend time, you develop depth, and depth brings confidence.

And don’t forget that you cannot fool recruiters. They are in this business. Companies do not pay tonnes to employees just because they have watched tutorials. They pay it to the ones who have developed and grown their skills with repetition.

till next time

Hope you are enjoying this season of Tanay’s letters. I know it took a lot of time to renew the show - pre-production issues and all that. So, please subscribe and share it with anyone who you think may benefit from it.

P.S. I will be cleaning my subscribers list pretty soon. If you wish to continue receiving the letters directly in your inbox, make sure to open it from the mail itself. Or you can reply too!

tanaypratap's letters

I write about mentorship, education, tech, career, and startups.

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