how to use egghead.io to level up as a web developer

The single biggest factor in continued success as a software developer, or any deeply rewarding career, is the practice of continued learning over time.

Web development changes fast. Technology shifts. Innovations happen.

For me, this realization came in November 2011 when Adobe made the announcement that their product Adobe Flex could no longer be considered the right tool for building large-scale enterprise applications.

This is a real slap in the face when you spent the last half-decade or so becoming an expert in building large-scale enterprise applications with Adobe Flex.

There I was with a pile of hard-won skills that were made instantly worthless by a blog post from a company. There was nothing that I could do about it.

Cry and move on. 😭

But it was an important lesson. I learned that staying current is vital, but even more important is the idea of staying ahead. In October of 2011, I was an expert. My skills were razor sharp and current.

In December 2011 I was sad and confused, faced with the full scope of available web technologies. My career depended on choosing something. My ability to feed my family, pay the mortgage, and simply continue living my life depended on the choice that I had to make. At the time it was AngularJS, backbone, and Ember that were the primary popular tools for building the type of back office “enterprise” apps that I was experienced with. So I set out for the next 8-months poking and prodding at each of these tools, reading everything I could read, building todo lists and other samples, and stressing out big time over the monumental long-term decision I had to make.

😱

It wasn’t fun. It was depressing. It filled me with anxiety and stress.

I was completely unprepared, and at the time there were no sites like egghead to give me a concise, consolidated resource to evaluate the current state of the art and make the decisions that I needed to make about where to focus my time and energy learning a new technology so my career didn’t end up 💩.

In the end, I figured it out (this is another story entirely) and chose AngularJS, which was a great decision at the time and in retrospect. That decision led to John and I co-founding egghead and changed the course of my career forever.

It taught me a few important lessons that ended up forming the core ideas behind egghead.

  • never let a single vendor monopolize your career and knowledge
  • explore beyond the boundaries of what you currently know
  • think about next year as much as or more than right now
  • don’t stagnate!

The primary purpose of egghead is to give you the opportunity for exposure to the sea of technology choices you need to make to stay relevant in your career as a web developer.

✅ egghead instructors are working professionals.

✅ egghead instructors are forward thinking.

✅ egghead instructors solve real problems with real tools.

✅ egghead instructors provide you with information-rich, concise summaries of the tools and techniques that are most valuable to them on the job.

But, here’s the thing…

egghead courses aren’t really meant to be code-along workshops. 🤯

egghead courses are meant to be practical, concise, in-depth, and most of all they are respectful of your limited learning time.

egghead courses are created to inform you so that you can make your own decisions about where to spend your precious time learning new tools and techniques.

egghead is your constant stream of “what’s next?” to help you level-up your career and make smart choices.

egghead gives you access to real-life in the trenches experience presented in a concise, information-rich, level of depth that you can leverage to make the best decisions.

egghead is a very real competitive advantage to you as a web developer. 🏁

When you are watching an egghead lesson, try to not code along in the first pass. Don’t pause the video constantly so that you can type what you see on the screen.

Watch the lesson. Take notes.

Then try to apply the example yourself in an environment like codesandbox.

If you’re watching a course, consider this approach for the entire course.

🔥👉 Watch all of the lessons without trying to type the code as it is presented! 👈🔥

Take written notes of key information or things you’d like to look up and get more details on.

When the course is complete, try out what you’ve learned. This is when you can use the individual lessons as a reference and return to the ones that you need to understand in more depth now that you’ve got the bigger picture.

Because of the concise nature of an egghead course, you can effectively treat it as an overview before you take a deep dive. You will gain more understanding of the topic, and decide if it is appropriate for you to pursue more in-depth practice and study.

Another pro tip is watching at 1.5-2x speed with subtitles. The increased speed forces you to concentrate and you get the audio cues along with the visual cues of the code and subtitle text. This allows you to watch a half hour course in 15 minutes and you can’t even consider typing along with the code.

At the end of 15 minutes, you’ve got a really solid idea of if you want to pursue what you’ve just learned, and what you will do next.

In other words, you’ve leveled up and gained experience points that you can apply to future learning focus.

This approach allows you to survey the new hotness and understand how it affects you and your career in a space of time that fits your busy work schedule.

It’s a powerful technique, and I recommend it to anybody that wants to stay ahead of the curve.

[Please note that if coding along works best for you, by all means, use egghead in the manner that you choose. egghead isn't here to be bossy about your personal approach, but it’s also important to us that you maximize your success as a web developer! 😀]

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