Learning to Code Through Teaching

There is only one requirement to teach something to someone else: you have to be one step ahead of them.

I’ll admit, putting yourself out there is scary. However, it is the single most effective way to learn something and to learn it deeply.

This is one of the reasons why I’m writing this blog.

I first heard about learning through teaching concept from John Sonmez, but I didn’t put it into action right away. I thought it takes way too much time to write a blog post for every new thing that I learn.

Over time, I noticed that if I just read an article or watch a tutorial, I tend to forget about it quickly. Especially if I do not apply what I learned immediately. Usually, this can repeat a few times before I “get it”. And even then there are probably gaps in my knowledge.

So I thought to start a blog and give it a try.

Honestly, it does take time to put together blog posts, especially then English is not my first language. However, I found out that the benefits are worth the effort.

Sometimes you may think that you understand a subject, but if you had to explain it to someone, whether by speaking or writing, suddenly you may realize that you don’t know about the topic as well as you thought. Teaching forces you to find gaps in your own knowledge and fill them in.

Also, the process of organizing material in a way that you could teach it to someone else requires you to deeply examine the content and look at it from a different perspective. As a result, what you learn will stick with you for a long time and even if you need to refresh your memory, you’ll also have a perfect resource to go back to because it’s yours.

Finally, writing by itself has other benefits. The main one – it teaches you to structure your thoughts. Structuring your thoughts before you share them in writing will get you into the habit of doing it before you share them anywhere else as well. It’ll help you clarify your message and put it into a form that’s easier to understand.

Being able to communicate in a simple and easily understood manner is an important skill for a developer. Because writing code isn’t the only part of our job. The other part, often overlooked, is presenting our ideas and explaining why we do what we do, sometimes to people with no technical background.

Teaching can take many forms, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be writing.

You could teach by creating a YouTube video about your subject.

You could teach by creating a presentation and then delivering it to your co-workers or other students.

You could teach by simply having a conversation with your friend or spouse, telling them what you have learned. Hell, you can even talk with your dog.

The idea is to convey the information you just learned to someone else in a clear manner.

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